How the Singer Patty Smyth Spends Her Sundays

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Patty Smyth, the husky-voiced lead singer of Scandal, known for its 1984 love anthem, “The Warrior,” would not have put out her first solo album of original songs in 28 years had she known the pandemic would last this long. “People ask me,” she said, “and I’m like, you think this is what I chose?”

Promoting the record, “It’s About Time,” hasn’t been easy with so much of the music industry shut down, but Ms. Smyth, a Brooklyn native, is doing her best. This month just after the presidential election, for example, she joined Jimmy Fallon for a rendition of another ’80s Scandal hit, “Goodbye to You.”

Ms. Smyth, 63, splits her time between Malibu, Calif., and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she lives with her husband, another warrior of sorts from the ’80s: the former tennis champion (and current ESPN commentator) John McEnroe.

ROCK STAR TIME I went into this business for a reason: so I don’t have to get up early in the morning. I open my eyes, and I’m looking at John, like, “Do we get out of bed?” We have a terrace so I can step outside, and I like the solitude of that. Leaves are falling off the trees, and I can hear people and their dogs.

WHAT DAY IS IT? I used to have a ritual where I would meet my girlfriends who live on the Upper East Side at the reservoir in Central Park, and we’d take a long walk, five or six miles. But now I don’t have a routine, man. That’s the truth. I think what’s happened is that nobody knows what day of the week it is; whether it’s Tuesday or Sunday, it all feels the same. I sort of stay home. Right now, my 21-year-old daughter is home with us from school. If she doesn’t have a friend with her, she might take me out to lunch. I’m OK with eating outside on the sidewalk, but there are buses roaring by, and that’s sort of nerve-racking. I’d like to be cool with it, but I’m not.

SECRET SAUCE We were at our house in California for a long time. My husband didn’t leave for about six or seven months. That was the longest time he hadn’t been on a plane since he was 16 or 17. Now he’s here with me. I think if you want to stay married, you better do things together. That’s the secret sauce. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but too much and the heart wanders,” or something like that. Also, it feels weird not to be together. I was in Nashville for a week, and now we’re here to deal with some stuff and figure out when we’ll move back to California.

THE VIRTUAL TOUR I’ve done a lot of Zoom interviews and a few little Zoom shows at my house. It’s weirdly challenging, just to stay focused. In L.A., I got used to doing it in the same spot and it wasn’t a big deal. Doing it here is harder because there’s more of my personal space to show. I’ve also done a lot of podcasts. I keep calling them iPods, which is ridiculous.

TURN IT UP John has gotten way better on guitar in quarantine. He’s spent a lot of time practicing. Practice makes everyone better. We’ve been playing more at home together, and if he’s in the area when I’m doing a show he’ll come out and do a couple of songs. He’s a musical encyclopedia. It’s a good thing for me that he loves music so much. My kids turn me on to music, too. They go anywhere from Kacey Musgraves to Cardi B and Lizzo. When they’re home, I try to remember to throw on some music and dance around the room.

ORDER OF THE DAY I’ve been watching “60 Minutes” for as long as I can remember. Sunday nights are “60 Minutes” and Chinese food. I like RedFarm. They have different kinds of dumplings and a crazy pastrami egg roll and bacon and egg fried rice. John won’t eat any of that but I will. He’s way healthier than I am.

PROCESSING Sundays are kind of a hard day in a way. It’s not that they’re bad, they just stir things up for me. I think a lot. I reminisce and get reflective. It makes me want to write, and that’s a good thing.

Sunday Routine readers can follow Patty Smyth on Twitter or Instagram @pattysmyth.

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