Barbra Streisand: ‘I’ve always had the right to sing what I want.

It’s shortly after midday, and Barbra Streisand is relaxing. “I just had my coffee and blueberries, and now I’m still in bed, but I’m talking to you,” she says over the phone from her Malibu home. Her “precious little sweetheart” Violet, a fluffy white Coton de Tulear, joins her in the boudoir, as an assistant bustles around in the background, getting lyric sheets and acting as a fact-checker. “Did Jim Henson bring Kermit with him to the recording studio?” Streisand inquired at one point. The answer, unfortunately, is “no”. Streisand, a showbusiness legend and award-winning director, is definitely aware of the impact her mise-en-scene will have. But if she wants to emphasize her diva status, she’s earned it.

At the age of 79, she has two Academy Awards, ten Grammys, nine Golden Globes, five Emmys, a special Tony, and 42 platinum recordings. More importantly, she revolutionized what it meant to be a superstar. Take her singing voice. Streisand’s ability to bend a sentence such that it appears as if she is uttering the lyrics for the first time has inspired generations of performers. More importantly, she redefined what it means to be a female entertainer. When Streisand first began out in the 1960s, she was repeatedly told that she was too ugly to be a celebrity. Against all advice, she refused to have a nose job and went on to become a leading lady.

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