Thursday, May 7, 2015

Diana Krall: Departure Bay

Today's post is in response to a request from a very patient reader, Jeffrey Scott. (Click on his name and check out his blog!) I kept putting it off for a variety of reasons, one being that I needed to concentrate on the A to Z Challenge first. Another reason is that I have been torn about whether to write about this particular artist or her husband first. I hope I am able to do this one justice.

Diana Krall is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide. On December 11, 2009, Billboard magazine named her the second Jazz artist of the 2000–09 decade, establishing her as one of the best-selling artists of her time.

Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums. To date, she has won five Grammy Awards and eight Juno Awards. She has also earned nine gold, three platinum, and seven multi-platinum albums. Her twelfth studio album has just been released on February 3, 2015.

Her mother was an elementary school teacher, and her father was an accountant. Her father played piano at home and her mother sang in a community choir. By the time Diana was 4 years old, she was playing the piano. When she turned 15, she started playing jazz at a local restaurant. She later went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. She returned to Canada in 1993 to release her first album in 1993.

She lost her mother to multiple myeloma in 2002, within months of also losing her mentors Ray Brown and Rosemary Clooney. Diana's only sibling, Michelle, is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Krall and British musician Elvis Costello were married on December 6, 2003, at Elton John's estate outside London. Their twin sons, Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James, were born December 6, 2006, in New York City.

After marrying Elvis Costello, she worked with him as a lyricist and started to compose her own songs, resulting in the album The Girl in the Other Room. The album, released in April 2004, quickly rose to the top five in the United Kingdom and made the Australian top 40 album charts.

On the Verve Records website, Diana Krall explains the songwriting for the album in more detail.
 "Musically composed by Krall alone, these songs mark a lyrical collaboration with her new husband, Elvis Costello. Explaining how they worked, Krall said: "I wrote the music and then Elvis and I talked about what we wanted to say. I told him stories and wrote pages and pages of reminiscences, descriptions and images, and he put them into tighter lyrical form. For "Departure Bay," I wrote down a list of things that I love about home, things I realized were different, even exotic, now that I've been away".

"Departure Bay" is written about her hometown Nanaimo, British Columbia on Vancouver Island and the first Christmas without her mother and finishes the album. The penultimate song on the album "I'm Coming Through" is also about the death of her mother.

On the other albums, Krall performs songs that have been written and performed by others previously. But her smooth jazz voice makes you forget that small fact easily.

As Mother's Day is approaching soon, I've chosen to share with you her song, "Departure Bay".  Be sure to search for her on YouTube and listen to some of her other wonderful songs. We'll talk about Elvis Costello soon.

What does tomorrow bring?

Tune in to find out! 

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