Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DK @ The Guardian - "Portrait of the artist"

Portrait of the artist: Diana Krall, jazz musician
Interview by Laura Barnett for The Guardian (UK)

November 16, 2009

What got you started?
"My family. My dad's mum and dad were coal-miners; they had a piano, and loved music like Fats Waller. Then on my mother's side, there were 10 kids, all Lutherans – so I had the whole Lutheran hymn influence on top of that."

What was your big breakthrough?
"Getting a record deal when I was 26 – although I was still playing seven hours a night in piano bars to support myself until my 30s, when I started touring."

Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
"Time away from the people I love. I've been home a total of three weeks this year. But I take my children with me often as I can. I'm often in a hotel, ordering them room service, washing their clothes in the sink, then doing my shows at night and getting up at 7am."

What advice would you give a young musician?
"You don't really need to give anyone advice: if they want to do it, they'll figure it out. I think it's the other way round – I get inspired by young artists."

Is jazz different for women?
"The other night my [male] guitarist was in a restaurant, met a bunch of people and was invited to a party, and was out till five o'clock in the morning. I thought: "I want to go to a restaurant by myself and see if I can get invited to a party!" But it's just different."

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said about you?
"A newspaper journalist once called me a "cow" in print. I was pregnant when I did the interview, but I couldn't tell any-one. I'd just thrown up, and when I sat down I got stage fright. But I think the guy was actually just in love with me."

Complete this sentence: At heart I'm just a frustrated ...
"Ice-skater. Downhill skier. Hockey player. Inner-tube racer. Astronaut."

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"Shut up and sing." It's what I tell myself every night on stage when I'm talking too much.

Which other living artists do you most admire?
"My husband [Elvis Costello]. Sam Taylor-Wood. Sonny Rollins. Nick Lowe. And the great Haida [native Canadian] artists Robert Davidson and Don Yeomans."

What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?
"I don't know. I'm not done yet. Can you ask me when I'm closer to the light?"

In short

Born: Nanaimo, Canada; 1964.

Career: Has won two Grammy awards and released 14 albums; Quiet Nights, is out now on Verve.

Low point: "The most devastating thing was when my mum died. Then I met Elvis [Costello] and we wrote [the 2004 album] The Girl in the Other Room about it. But I don't see my career in terms of highs and lows."

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