In his salad days, Luther Vandross did commercial jingles for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Juicy Fruit. Later, he sang backup for such superstars as David Bowie, Bette Midler, and Barbra Streisand. Since striking out on his own in 1981 with the album Never Too Much, Vandross, now 42, has racked up eight platinum or double-platinum albums, three Grammys, and a reputation as America’s premier crooner of love songs. Not bad for a self-acknowledged four-time loser of the Apollo Theatre’s famed amateur nights. Shortly before the release of his latest album, Never Let Me Go, he of the silky smooth voice and Versace-stuffed closet agreed to a round of irrelevant questions.
Which is your favorite among the seven deadly sins?
Oh, sloth. I love to lay around and do nothing.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in the name of love?
Where do I begin? I guess to trust the same person too much. I heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s the same with trusting the same person again and again.
What piece of furniture do you covet above all others?
I’m a desk freak. I have one made of glass and lacquered goatskin.
What’s the most decadent thing you’ve ever done?
Once I made a hamburger and had no bread, so I put the burger between two glazed doughnuts. It was really good.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Peanut-butter-flavored Cap’n Crunch. It’s almost a religious experience.
What do you lie about?
My weight. Actually, I don’t lie about my weight because I never reveal it.
If you had to choose, which would you rather be: Cindy Crawford’s mole or Hillary Clinton’s headband?
Cindy Crawford’s mole — I’d be on the cover of every magazine.
What puts a lump in your throat?
Sad movies. Steel Magnolias, The Five Heartbeats, Love Story, Sophie’s Choice, Beaches.
Can you give me five words that describe you?
Trusting. Drug-free. Loyal. Strong. Tall.
What would it take to get you into a dress?
A very talented and intense hypnotist. Or Bob Mackie. Whoever asked first.