“Right now, I’m doing just about everything I’ve always wanted to do,” says multi-talented performer Clint Holmes, who will be appearing at the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City on July 28.
Holmes, who has been named Atlantic City and Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year three times, began facing audiences in kindergarten, where his rendition of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” garnered the applause from an appreciate, if somewhat young, audience. He says that experience so whet his appetite for performing that he’s just kept going ever since.
Musically influenced by such greats as Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis, Holmes acknowledges that his parents were great influences on his chosen career as well.
Born in Europe to an African-American jazz musician and a British opera singer, he moved to the States when he was just a baby. He says, “since I always showed an interest in music, my mom began teaching me how to sing correctly, and my dad taught me how to enjoy it. Mom taught me classic vocal techniques, while my dad showed me how to scat in the jazz clubs. For me, it was the best of two musical worlds.”
After graduating from high school, Holmes was a voice major at New York’s Fredonia State College. Eventually, however, Uncle Sam called and he left to join the Army, serving as a trombone player in the Army band program at the combination Army/Navy music school in Norfolk, Va. He lobbied for a chance to sing and got his wish, performing at a promotion ceremony for his commanding officer. Later, he was transferred to Washington, D.C. where, as a member of the Army Chorus, he sang at the White House and many state functions.
Slowly building his career, Holmes eventually began appearing often in casinos in Atlantic City, but eventually came to national attention when he moved his family to Los Angeles to work for Joan Rivers on her “Late Show.”
He recalls, “I had toured with Joan before and we became friends, and thanks to her encouragement, I became her announcer. And although her show was short-lived, I learned to be myself. And even though it didn’t work out, I loved the experience.”
Later, Holmes became the host of his own Emmy-award-winning talk/variety show, another stint he says he thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, Holmes says he has loved every aspect of his career -- which looked as though it might be temporarily interrupted in 2004 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
“Luckily, it was found early, and I had surgery almost immediately,” Holmes explained, “and I learned a lot from that experience. Having cancer forced me to face my own mortality and the fact that you have to stop procrastinating about the important things in your life. Also, life becomes more valuable, and you begin to recognize the immediacy and importance of every day and every decision that you make.”
Today, continuing to perform — and perhaps enjoying it more than ever — Holmes says he is in talks with a producer and director about the probability of doing an original show in the near future.
And for others who might follow in his footsteps, Holmes likes to give others the same advise that one of his mentors, Bill Cosby, gave to him.
“And that was to find your own voice and tell your own story,” Holmes concludes. “He told me never to piggyback on someone else, but to do my own songs based on my own particular point of view.
For times and ticket information, call (800) 736-1420.