Stamford’s Dennis Collins lends voice to Love’s ‘Letterman’ spot


Above, Stamford musician Dennis Collins performs at a past Jazz Up July performance in 2011 in Stamford, Conn. He performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” with Darlene Love on June 12. File photo

It has been a busy couple of months for singer Dennis Collins, whose run of performances continued last night when he backed Darlene Love during her appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” For those who caught the show, they would have spotted the Stamford resident second in from the right, lending his voice to the Bill Withers’ song “Lean on Me.”

Fortunately, for those that didn’t, you can see that performance in the video below.

“She is just so amazing,” Collins said of Love, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who began her career as a sought-after session and back-up singer,

Love’s appearance came two days before the release of the documentary, “20 Feet From Stardom.” This new film by director Morgan Neville celebrates the backup singers, including Love, who performed with some of the great musicians.

Of course, that is the life that Collins knows well, having backed a host of singers, including Roberta Flack, Patti LaBelle, Sheryl Crow, Beyonce, Cee-lo Green and others.

In the past month or so, he has performed at the Tony Awards ceremony and at the Library of Congress for the Gershwin Prize honors for Carole King.

“That was another wonderful event,” he said during a recent interview. “How often do you get to sit three feet away from Carole King when she sings ‘You’ve Got a Friend.’ ”

Recently, he has been touring as a back-up vocalist, along with his wife Sharon, with the musical show “Once Upon a Dream” that features the songs of The (Young) Rascals. The show, which is directed by Steven Van Zandt and Marc Brickman, recently ran on Broadway for a limited engagement.

Currently on tour, the next time it will swing around to the area will be in July, beginning with a performance on July 5 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey, Jones Beach on July 6 and Audg. 30 at Mohegan Sun.

“It’s just great and people are loving it,” Collins said. “They are dancing in the aisles.”

Christina Hennessy