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John Mellencamp thinks cigarettes made him look like Louis Armstrong

Turns out heartthrob rocker John Mellencamp has a not-so-secret trick to making his voice sound great: smoking cigarettes.

In an interview with Forbes, Mellencamp praised the effect of smoking on his voice, choosing the song “Gone So Soon” from his upcoming album Strictly a one-eyed Jack for example.

“We were laughing. When we were making this record, it was like, ‘John, your voice has changed so much since you started,’” he explained. “And I said, ‘Well, the cigarettes are starting to pay off. And I was happy when I heard myself singing ‘Gone So Soon’, that I sounded like Louis Armstrong.

It was not an intentional act on the part of the singer. “It wasn’t something I tried to do,” Mellencamp insisted. “It’s just that cigarettes take their toll on your vocal chords… Just by talking to me, you can tell my voice is hoarse, and that’s from smoking.” Nothing that I wanted to do. It never occurred to me that would happen, but I’m happy to sound like it.

Mellencamp also reflected on his career as a whole during the interview. “How do you become good at something? You keep doing it, ”he considered. “And most people quit too soon, that’s what I’ve found… Courage is knowing you’re beaten before you even start, but you start anyway, and you go all the way. end, no matter the outcome.

And that’s what we did on this record. That’s how it worked. I learned 10, 15 years ago, you can’t control art. Real art is when you let the art go where it wants to go.

Strictly a one-eyed Jack, Mellencamp’s 25th studio album, is set to be released on Friday, January 21. It can be pre-ordered here.

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Check out John Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good”:

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