With a heart of gold and a 20-year-old soul, Frankie Valli celebrates 89 years around the sun and still continues to get the most out of life.
In light of his birthday Wednesday, the legendary singer spoke to PEOPLE about feeling young, his friendship with Frank Sinatra, and much more.
“It feels pretty good,” the Four Seasons lead singer tells PEOPLE to turn 89.
“Just one more year to me. So far, my health has been good enough so I can drive – I have all the marbles and I’m always interested in learning,” he continues. “I love scripting and I always review new music and listen to other people’s music for inspiration.”
When asked what keeps her young, Valli, who says she enjoys listening to rap music these days, claims she “eats baby food”.
“Just kidding! It’s your mind that keeps you young – you have to keep using it. I know people who can’t wait to retire, and by the time they come to retirement they get old very quickly.” says. “It’s like they had a lot on their mind and if they were a little more busy even if it was part time, they could have extended the extra years we’ve all been looking for.”
Valli adds, “[Age is] really a mood. It really is. There are great things you learn at every age as you progress. You can always learn something, even from children, if you pay attention to what’s going on.”
The “Sherry” singer, reflecting on the thought of retiring, says she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“I’m probably going to tour until I can’t do it anymore, but it’s something I love and love people, even if it’s a limited tour. If it wasn’t for people, I wouldn’t have a career. The music business,” he says. “It’s really the people who buy the product as you make it, who love you, and come to see you. When you go to a different city and work in a different venue, it’s like visiting friends. That’s the best way I can put it.”
“It’s a great comfort zone. It really is, and it gives you what you need when you need it, when you have something on your mind, and so on,” she continues. “When you go out and perform, you have a great audience and you forget all your troubles and problems. They’re all gone.”
Meanwhile, Nick Jonas will be playing Valli in the coming days. Jersey Boys movie musical – and the singer shared her thoughts on the actress.
“Well, [from] From what I’ve seen so far, I think he’s great. “The Jonas Brothers are great to start with and they come from New Jersey.”
Valli, who had a say in casting the star, also tells PEOPLE she’s “very happy” with Jonas filling the role.
Last week, a street in Newark, New Jersey, where Valli grew up on a housing project, was named after him.
“It was pretty exciting. It really was,” he says. “My entire youth was spent there and I was successful while living there. [it’s] very special place. It was a trial run project by the government – the government was putting together projects for people who weren’t making a lot of money, and you were paying rent based on what you made a week there.”
“All my dreams came from there. I was a kid growing up there and when my mother took me to see my first performance of Sinatra at a very young age. I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I have no idea how I’m going to get to that place.”
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the singer remains immensely grateful for his life and career that led to experiences such as being friends with Sinatra: I befriended Frank Sinatra, but it happened and it was incredible.”
He also shared something he learned from the “Strangers in the Night” singer who died in May 1998: “You learn how to be humble and you realize that you are literally a star. You have an audience and the audience is really the most important thing. Without an audience, I care what your name is. No, it doesn’t matter.”
“Living on projects was good for me for so many reasons. It gave me the urge to want more, and even though I didn’t get a full education – no one was sending me to college anyway, so it didn’t matter – I had to do something to get something done in my life. [I had] to rise above everything I grew up with.”
Any advice from Valli? “Everyone should live the life they want to live without hurting anyone. That’s the secret.”