Student, Musician, Dreamer: How Diana Krall Made Her Mark in Jazz
Posted on 08/07/2018
Dianne Reeves. Dee Dee Bridgewater. Ella Fitzgerald. These fantastic women are all jazz powerhouses who won more than one Grammy Award® for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Like these great female jazz artists, Diana Krall had many hurdles to jump over, in order to make her mark in the jazz scene. Earning her spot on a list next to Fitzgerald, Bridgewater, and Reeves, Grammy Award®-winner Krall deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest female jazz vocalist of her time. Come see the magnificent Diana Krall live at the State Theatre New Jersey on October 12!
Diana Krall always wanted to be a jazz musician. Inspired by legendary jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Harry Connick Jr., Krall started playing jazz in local restaurants in Canada with bass players at an early age of 15. For 20 years, she worked as a bar pianist. From 1981-1983, Krall continued her passion by studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a scholarship and took private lessons in Los Angeles from jazz pianists, Alan Broadbent and Jimmy Rowles. Krall supported herself and her jazz piano lessons by playing in hotels and bars.
At the age of 26, Krall received a small record deal with GRP Records (which was later bought out by Universal Music group). She created and produced her first record with her own money. All of her hard work was worth it because she was given the opportunity to record with her idols, John Clayton, an American double bassist and Jeff Hamilton, Jazz Drummer. Her debut album, Stepping Out, caught the attention of Tommy LiPuma, American record producer who has worked with Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, and Patti Austin. Since their meeting, Krall and LiPuma developed an unbreakable bond and partnership. LiPuma produced Krall’s next 10 records following her debut album, starting with Only Trust Your Heart in 1995. Before LiPuma passed away in 2017, Krall and LiPuma made one last record together titled, Turn Up the Quiet; it was released in May 2017, and is Krall’s most recent album.
Through lots of hard work and collaboration with LiPuma, Krall was nominated for her first Grammy Award® in 1996 and her second in 1997 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Though she did not win, those losses didn’t stop her. Krall continued to work on her craft and strived to produce a better album than the last. By 2000, Krall was nominated for three Grammy Awards®, including Album of the Year. At the age of 35, her album When I Look in Your Eyes, won her first Grammy Award®, the first of many. This Grammy Award®win justified Krall to be honored as one of the greatest jazz musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, as she won her Grammy® in the same category in 1977.
Diana Krall advised aspiring dreamers to “be yourself and you have to be honest in what you’re doing and not try too hard to prove that… if you love what you’re doing then other people will hopefully feel the same way that you do if you show that in live performance.” Be sure to see the incredible Diana Krall live at State Theatre New Jersey on October 12 at 8pm!
By Bernadine Quach