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10 Quick Questions for Gloria Gaynor

The ‘I Will Survive’ singer performed at PBS’s Fourth of July celebration

Singer Gloria Gaynor posing for a portrait in New York.

Matt Licari/Invision/AP Photo

Gloria Gaynor’s hit single “I Will Survive,” from her 1978 album, Love Tracks, has been an anthem for more than four decades.

This Independence Day, Gaynor brought her unstoppable talent to Washington D.C., for PBS’s annual all-star concert and fireworks extravaganza, A Capitol Fourth.

Now, Gaynor goes back on the road for her 2022 tour, which will have hit Poland, Austria, the U.K and Chile before the year is out. In addition, a feature-length documentary about her life, Gloria: I Will Survive, is also in the works.


What does your typical Fourth of July look like?

We usually just barbecue, like everybody else in America. I love barbecued baby back ribs. Sometimes I make them; sometimes I just go to Outback Steakhouse. I once had a Fourth of July party catered from Outback. I was very, very happy.


Gloria Gaynor sits with her promotional materials in 1975.

A. Schorr/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Gloria Gaynor’s single “I Will Survive” started gaining popularity in the 1970s after DJs played it at New York City clubs. The disco singer will celebrate her 79th birthday in September.


Did you know that 'I Will Survive' would be everlasting?

Oh yeah, before I even heard the music, when I was reading the lyrics. The record company released it as a B side. I’m saying to them, “What are you, stupid? It’s a timeless lyric. Everybody’s going to relate to this.” I took copies of it to DJ Richie Kaczor at Studio 54 and asked him to play it. You know, if a jaded New York audience immediately loves something, it’s got to be a hit. We gave him the whole box of records and told him to give it to his DJ friends. They began to play them, and the people began to request it, and then they began to request it on the radio because they wanted to hear it on the way to work, coming home from work, in rush hour traffic. And the rest is history.


You’re from Newark, New Jersey. Once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl?

Always. Now I’m staying at my vacation home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while I’m building a new home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. It’s nice up there.


What makes a Jersey girl?

We like the four seasons; we’re kind of tough; we don’t really take any guff from anybody; we tend to be opinionated. Although we don't mind other people having opinions, ours is just the ones that are right. 


You’re still touring around the world. What’s the most important thing in your suitcase?

My Bible. And my eyelashes.


Disco singer Gloria Gaynor performs a song on December 13, 1975, in Hollywood, California.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Gloria Gaynor performs in 1975 in Hollywood, California. Her 2022 tour will hit Poland, Austria, the U.K and Chile.


What city has the best fans?

There’s no better place to perform than New York. Frank Sinatra really did know what he was talking about when he said, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” It’s a tough audience. If you get them, then the rest is a piece of cake.


You turn 79 in September. Will you have a big celebration?

Yes! We’re celebrating on a boat, a three-decker cruiser. It's beautiful. We’ll have cocktails on the first level, dinner and music on the second level, more music on the third level. We'll just be sailing around New York City, stopping in front of the Statue of Liberty for photos. We’re just going to have a ball — that’s the plan, with the usual suspects. 


How do you keep your energy up? 

You have to have a balanced diet, a balanced exercise program and balanced sleep. You have to make sure you get plenty of rest. It took me a long time to get to it, but I think I finally got to where I stabilized my weight. I’m at the age where you really need to keep all that stuff in check or you go downhill very quickly.


Still, any guilty pleasures?

I love, love, love ice cream! I’m a cookie monster, and I never met anything made with chocolate I didn't like.


What’s your best life lesson?

Do you. Don’t try to be like anybody else; don’t covet anybody else’s gifts, talents, abilities. You have your own, and they’re suited for you, and they are where you are going to be the happiest.


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