Judy Collins is multitasking.
She excuses herself from our phone interview and leaves me on the line for a minute to take care of a quick work session. It just popped up and she didn’t want to bother with rescheduling.
Besides, she’s used to handling multiple things at once.
“I’m always balancing five or six things,” says Collins, in advance of her show Saturday night at the Tower Theatre.
At 75 years old, the singer/songwriter/author/actress is a workaholic.
The list of things on her current to-do list includes putting the final touches on a new book (she’s just turned it over to her agent), recording a PBS show for late summer (a follow up to her show at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in 2009 and last year’s concert at Dromoland Castle in Ireland), starting promotions for the re-release of “Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman” (the documentary she produced in 1974. It earned an Oscar nomination) and finishing a series of recording projects.
That’s ignoring the 100-plus live shows she does each year.
“I’m busy, busy, busy,” she says.
“I make a plan. Then, I have to make it happen.”
Collins hasn’t really slowed down since she started her career in music and that was more than 40 years ago. She was piano prodigy at the age of 13. Her teacher was pianist/composer Antonia Brico (the subject of the documentary film Collins produced). During the folk revival of the 1960s, Collins broke through to the mainstream as a musician and singer and was an instrumental part of the Greenwich Village scene at the time. She helped introduce artists like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell to larger audiences. She was also the inspiration for the Crosby, Stills and Nash hit “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Musically, Collins falls under the umbrella of folk, but is known for recording all manner of tunes, including a version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” which is in the the Grammy Hall of Fame, and a take on Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway ballad “Send in the Clowns,” which earned her a Grammy Award in 1975.
“I haven’t slowed down at all,” Collins says.
And she’s not looking to change that fact.
“I’ll always be doing something,” she says. “That’s what you pray for.”