Dionne Warwick’s career seems to be getting a second life these days thanks to her hilarious Twitter presence, but can we say the same thing about her bank account? The soul singer, who broke through on the pop charts in the 1960s, saw her brand tarnished in the ’90s when her nonprofit foundation was accused of financial improprieties. By 2013, she was reportedly broke. But all the while, she never stopped working or recording new music. It leaves many fans wondering if Dionne Warwick’s net worth ever bounced back from an all-time low of approximately negative seven figures. Find out what she’s worth today, as well as what current projects are providing her with paychecks.
Dionne Warwick Is An American Music Legend
Warwick was destined to be a music star. The 81-year-old was born into a family whose members sang in a popular gospel group (the Drinkard Sisters). She also got her formal start as a backup vocalist for famed acts including Ben E. King and Dinah Washington. After legendary composer Burt Bacharach hired Warwick to sing demos meant for other artists, a record label exec deemed her voice more valuable than the songs themselves. Her undeniable talent quickly led to her own record deal.
Warwick released her first single, “Don’t Make Me Over,” in 1962, a month before her 22nd birthday. She was an immediate success and followed up with hits including “Walk On By”, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”, and “I Say a Little Prayer”.
In 1971, joined Warner Bros. Records for a $5 million contract, making her deal the most expensive for a female artist at the time. She recorded five albums for the label before she moved to Artista in 1979. She continued to be a mainstream success in the 1980s, thanks to the number one hit “That’s What Friends Are For”—a collaboration with Gladys Knight, Elton John, and the wonderful singer Stevie Wonder.
All in all, Warwick boasts 60 charted singles, record sales totaling more than 100 million copies, five Grammys, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. This past February, she was also a 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee.
She Filed For Bankruptcy In 2013
Unfortunately, Warwick’s luster began to dull in the ’90s. She became known to a younger generation as the face of a psychic hotline infomercial, or simply the cousin of a bigger star, Whitney Houston.
She also became the subject of unwanted headlines. In 2013, Warwick filed for bankruptcy, claiming she had only $1,000 in cash and $1,500 in furniture and clothing to her name. She listed more than $10 million in liabilities: $7 million was owed to the IRS, $3 million to the state of California, and $500,000 to a lawyer and business manager. Warwick claimed her disastrous financial situation was created by an unfit manager.
“Although the actual amount of back taxes owed have been paid, the resulting penalties and interest has continually accrued,” claimed her publicist Kevin Sasaki.
It took six long years before the IRS dropped their lawsuit against Warwick. In return, the singer dropped a countersuit alleging that they had unfairly seized her assets.
What Is Dionne Warwick’s Net Worth Now?
Warwick’s current net worth is an estimated $500,000. Other sources believe she’s still in the hole for $10 million.
Despite Warwick’s financial woes, she continues to keep working. She’s released five albums in the last decade and in 2012, she embarked on a 50th-anniversary world tour.
She also had a 2011 stint on Celebrity Apprentice, but the singer fired herself before Donald Trump could.
“It got to the point where I felt this was not what I was supposed to be doing with my 50-year career,” she told the Guardian in 2020.
But that didn’t turn her off to reality competitions altogether. In 2020, she appeared as the Mouse on Season 3 of The Masked Singer.
Don’t expect the 81-year-old singer to retire anytime soon. Warwick told the Guardian she will continue to perform “as long as I’m giving people the pleasure that they seem to have when they come to my concerts, and I’m doing it to the best of my ability.”
She added, “But when I feel that I have altered in any way, vocally, appearance-wise, or any of the other things that go along with it, that’s when I should gracefully bow out.”