Thanks to our mates at Universal Music (ANZ & UK) STG is able to have a virtual Q & A session with the iconic Motown legend and Queen of cross-genre music, the incredible and timeless Diana Ross about her just released album ‘Thank You’.
Shane: Hi Diana Ross, thank you so much for chatting with us! The new album is titled ‘Thank You’ – what inspired this recording or title?
Diana Ross: This collection of songs is my gift to you with appreciation and love. I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to record this glorious music at this time. ‘As I walk my path you are in front of me, we are one.’ These songs are from my heart, and it brings me such joy to share them from me to you.
Shane: What made recording this album so special to you?
Diana Ross: I recorded this album in my home studio, which made this experience very personal. I woke up every day and started singing. Music is always in my heart and I love the feeling that comes from creating new music. I always want to sing about love and believe in strong lyrics and messages. These songs are gifts of love and I hope you feel my heart when you listen to them.
Shane: So much of your music has the message of love in it. Is that message continued in this album?
Diana Ross: Love is a verb. “Thank You” is a very powerful, inclusive musical message of love and togetherness. With gratitude, I dedicate this songbook of love to all of my listeners. It is my deepest honor to present my “Thank You ” album to you. It is my wish that you enjoy listening to it as much as I did creating it. I wish you love and a lifetime of many more great memories.
Shane: It’s really a stunning album. How did you put together the collaborators and those who contributed to the project?
Diana Ross: I could not have done this without my team. I wanted not only to surround myself with excellence, but also with individuals who shared in this vision of gratitude and love. I wanted all of us to focus on the now. Not only in creating the music, but also with our thoughts. With our shared dedication, it all came together with fun and joy.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in the making of these songs and those that inspired me to create “beautiful love” memories. All the words and thoughts are close to my heart. Thank you to the songwriters, producers, musicians, arrangers, and engineers that came into my life. I have made many new friends. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Shane: Let’s talk about your music and your longevity.
Diana Ross: The music industry feels different today. Yet, the creative part of music has not changed. It starts with an idea. Creation. For me it’s about harmony and love. Hopefully, I’ve said and done good things. I have always wanted to stand for good.
Shane: Are you going to be touring the UK in 2022? What do you enjoy most about performing live?
Diana Ross: So many people asked me to return to the UK. I’m answering the call, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next summer. The audiences are really the exciting part for me in the show. There is always a connection that I feel when I am on stage. I love being able to look out and see the faces. When you’re watching me, I’m also watching you. Everything is really about give and take. It’s you and me. It’s us together. It’s never me by myself. My musicians with me are my family away from home. It’s such a blessing this work.
I am so excited to be on stage again – the energy you feel, being able to communicate with an audience. The magic lifts me. I actually feel as if I am levitating, floating out into the room, close to the people. I love performing all the songs I select. I love watching the audience.
Shane: What makes a great Diana Ross song?
Diana Ross: A melody that stays in your head and lyrics that are from the heart. Music is a vibration that has memory. It’s like a beautiful fragrance.
Shane: How do you select your material?
Diana Ross: I select my music with my heart and a feeling. Sometimes the songs find me.
Shane: It’s clear by listening to the music and the lyrics of this album that it comes from your heart. Talk to me about that.
Diana Ross: It does. I feel so tremendously blessed. I’m grateful every morning when I wake up, and when I go to bed. I say my appreciation and thanks for being here. I’m constantly learning. All I can say is, I’m really blessed, and I know it. I think about it all the time. I have wonderful kids, and I get to spend my time with you, the audience. I’m truly grateful.
This is not just another album. This is not about me. It’s really about everything and everyone else. It’s about the past, the present and now – the new. It’s about appreciation to everyone that has touched my heart.
Shane: With whatever is going on in the world today, what is your wish?
Diana Ross: Just as our world is changing constantly, I am also. I wish for.. Togetherness. Joy. Appreciation. Laughter. Play. And Love. Knowing that love can get you through anything. Every day is a gift. Keep a song in your heart.
Shane: How are you maintaining balance in uncertain times?
Diana Ross: Life is about change. These songs walked me through an uncertain time. I wanted to take charge of my body and mind through my thoughts. I asked, “What am I thinking now?” “What do I want to think about right now?” I noticed. Through that, these songs came to me.
Shane: How did you like working with Jack Antonoff?
Diana Ross: He’s a very thoughtful young man. We became good friends. We talk a lot about life and what’s important: values, family and career. We worked together on the song “I Still Believe”. It’s a special song.
Shane: How did you spend these last 15 months?
Diana Ross: Every day I thought about the things that matter to me most. I was reading a children’s book called the “Tao of Pooh” and Christopher Robin asked Pooh “What is it you like doing most – what do you like doing most in the whole wide world?”. So, I took this time as an opportunity to change my perspective. I wanted to find the silver lining, and I wanted to give a gift of gratitude to everyone. I paused and decided to record a new album. The album is special and dear to my heart. Every word, every thought and every note is important. It is really about love and giving thanks. Let love lead the way. All is well. Be still and go with life’s flow. “All is well – it’s alright.”
Shane: What is it about this album that makes it so special to you?
Diana Ross: That it comes from all my lifetime of work. All the Audiences, all the travel, all the love – it’s everything. That is what the album represents. I hold my vision of how I view this work: “As I walk my path you are in front of me, and we are one.” Do your love and everything else will follow.
These songs are from my heart and it brings me such joy to share them from me to you. Music is a mystery, I think about this often, how it touches and travels.
Shane: During this time of COVID-19 many of us found ourselves in contemplation and being clear about what’s important and where and what we value most. Did this happen to you?
Diana Ross: Yes, and what is important to me is family, and being with my children and my grandchildren. When I couldn’t be with them, I was able to see their faces on Zoom or FaceTime. Or they would send me photographs of my grandchildren, and that to me was the support and love I needed to get through those fearful months. This has been an experience of counting my blessings. Being grateful. Daily “Thank Yous” and “Appreciations” leads to a better ability to handle life’s changes.
Shane: Can you tell me a little bit about the song writing process?
Diana Ross: I thought that I would sit and write in my journal how I wanted it to be, how I want for us to be at peace and for us to understand that we are capable and adaptable and that we can do whatever it takes for us to find that happiness.
I received inspiration from anything, everything. The sky. Energy flows all round and inside of us. The song titles really express where I am right now on this beautiful journey. “Come Together”. “Beautiful Love”. “Let’s Do It.” “I Still Believe.” “If the World Just Danced” … And “All is Well.”
Shane: Thank you so much Diana Ross and Universal Music for arranging the Q and A session.
Diana Ross’ new album ‘Thank You’ is out now.