Urban Jazz Pop Musician & Actress :
Dyan Kane "NYC In A Dress"
by Charis Felice of https://cfogoods.nl/ (January 15, 2022)
Welcome Dyan, thank you so much for joining the interview at CFO Goods!
Can you tell in short about yourself as an artist, like your name, age and what kind of music you make?
Hello! Thank you for having me! My name is DYAN KANE. My standard answer for 'How old are you" is: "Between 25 & death. You?!!!" (Never ask a woman in show business how 'old' she is!!! LOL!!) My genre of music is UPJ (UrbanPopJazz) when recording and performing originals, but I also sing old school pop/funk/soul/rock classics when hired for lounge and private event gigs. It's important to stay flexible and 'give 'em what they like', but I prefer performing originals, and I try to stick a few into the mix. I'm also an actress, with credits in TV, FILM, Stage and Commercials.
(Listen to Dyan Kane's music: www.dyankanemusic.com)
Is there anything in your career as an artist you would do differently now?
Stay away from men! Focus on my craft more, both music and acting. PLAY PIANO well enough to accompany myself onstage. That eliminates having to rely on musicians to 'hear' where I'm coming from, then interpret it, onstage and in the studio. There's only ONE pianist I know who is able to "hear' and transcribe what's in my head, and when he's not available, I'm stuck.
What are you the most proud of in your career as an artist?
I know what I 'hear' and am able to get that down in the studio and on stage.
What does your day look like?
Coffee first. Walk my 2 dogs 2nd. While I'm walking I do light vocal exercises. At home I practice vocal exercises 1-2 hours a day. If I have gigs coming up, I learn the material. It's important to me that I'm not cutting my glance to my IPad for lyric reference, but sometimes it's unavoidable, especially if we get a request and I'm not sure of the words. But that always feels like cheating. I was trained in the theatre: we memorize the script and the music, rehearse it and perform it. Nowadays, it's rare to find musicians who want to rehearse - unless they get paid. You don't see musical theatre actors carrying their script onstage, why should I be able to 'get away with that'? I have an app on my phone - the IRealPro app. I hook it into my mixer and practice songs.
"After all the blood, sweat & tears, I don't want to just waft in the wind and become mediocre - ya know, just another chic singer who knows a thousand songs and can play any room for the right cash. THE THOUGHT OF THAT SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME! It's important to stay true to self, to not compete with anyone BUT self."
What puts you on the road a lot as an artist (if you are never on the road just let us know why it is not needed).
My label, Interplay Records, had a 6-month Japan tour all set up for me, after my 2nd CD (Soul of the Water) was finished. Then Covid hit. In LA, the competition is fierce. So I decided to become bi-coastal and move back east (Providence/Boston Area) to be near my Mom and family. So far, so good in terms of gigs. For some reason, the bar/club scene here is happening, despite Covid. People just want to get out and LIVE!
Which people are you surrounded with the most?
Honestly, I'm not as social as I used to be. When I perform, I enjoy mingling and 'working the room', but if I'm not singing or acting, I'm home with my husband and my 2 dogs. I've managed to eliminate toxic relationships and only put myself in the company of positive people. It's essential to have sunny, happy, supportive, smart, funny, successful people around me. Debbie-downers, gossips, manipulators, nay-sayers - they sap my energy and make me feel sad.
Do you feel your art or music is influenced by other people / music / art? Can you tell us more about it?
I was blessed to have music in our home. Music saved my life, I can honestly say that. On Sunday mornings, my beautiful Nana LOVED playing music while preparing big Sunday family meals. She had one of those vintage Motorola cabinet stereo consoles, the kind with a built in turntable & radio, and a latticed grille fabric covering the speakers. Ooolala! After church, we'd hear Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, The Mills Brothers, Sinatra, Streisand (big influence!). But the ONE artist I LOVED to study was RAY CHARLES - the only soul music in her collection. Also, early on Sunday mornings, I'd sneak downstairs to catch the gospel mass on TV! I grew up Catholic, so our church choirs were far from that kind of RAUCUS, UPLIFTING FERVOR! WOWZER! My Mom won 3 months of Hammond B3 organ lessons for me, but the teacher bored me to tears. If only he had turned me onto Ray, Sarah, Gospel & Blues, I'm sure I would have been a B3 wizard!!!! Today, I'm an amalgam of everyone my ears grew up on - Janis, Barbara, Aretha, Diana, Carly, George (Clinton), Donna, Tina, EW&F, AWB, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Aerosmith, BS&T, (SO many). As far as the JAZZ realm goes, I worked at the NYC Blue Note Jazz Club for years. I heard and met all the greats: Betty, Nancy, Carmen, Al, Sarah and Ella, It was an incredible experience & lesson. But my strongest influence is definitely DIANNE REEVES. I can only say that I humbly stand on the shoulders of those giants while funneling my own unique sound out to the world. Covers have their place, but I prefer to create originals. Creativity has to be the most pure form of living life. I don't know where the ideas come from .... a God maybe? In any case, I'm just the vessel.
How do you see yourself and how would you describe yourself?
I'm glad you asked that. Driven is the description others use around me. My husband, artist Robert Alexander, refers to me as "New York City in a Dress"! Ha! Since becoming bi-coastal, East Coast gigs ARE aplenty in this weird age of Covid, and I'm so grateful for the exposure to new opportunities. But after years of carefully crystallizing my on-stage persona and sound in NYC and later in LA, I must be mindful and take stock. For any artist, the daily grind can dissipate the dream if we're not careful. And we age. So our bodies and our minds need constant maintenance! Nowadays, I find I must meditate & visualize a lot, to stay true to me, close to my sound, to the way I my process the music in my head. After all the blood, sweat & tears, I don't want to just waft in the wind and become mediocre - ya know, just another chic singer who knows a thousand songs and can play any room for the right cash. THE THOUGHT OF THAT SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME! It's important to stay true to self, to not compete with anyone BUT self. It's another reason why I stay home a lot between gigs. I can respect and admire my peers from afar. 'C.O.D.' - Cordial, Objective and Distant is my motto. Otherwise, I tend to get caught up in another's 'inertia' and lose myself along the way. There's just no time or room for that!
What we expect from you in the near future, being your audience?
Well, as long as our ailing Mother Earth continues to host us humans, I'm always ready and willing to uplift people through new projects in music and acting. When I was a kid, movies, music, and the artists behind them strongly influenced me. Aspiring to greatness gave my life a blueprint, a secure trajectory of sorts in a world of uncertainty. I hope my artistry will have a positive influence on people, too, whether it's ME inspiring others to pursue their dreams, or a song I sing that resonates with someone. I also like to mention Animal Rights and Environmental issues at all my concerts. As an artist with an audience, it's essential, NOW MORE THAN EVER, that we artists speak up on the vital issues of our day. I pray it be while touring the world, and fronting a brilliant band with a killer horn section!
Dyan, thank you so much for being you and inspiring others - I really enjoyed the interview!
Get to know more about Dyan Kane:
JANUARY, 2021 Scott Yanow/LAJazzScene
DYAN KANE SOUL of the WATER Interplay/DollBaby Music
An actress who is also a talented and adventurous singer, Dyan Kane has an extensive background in jazz. She grew up in New York City and worked as a waitress at the Blue Note for a long period where she got to hear jazz greats on a nightly basis, participating in some late night jam sessions. Since moving to the Los Angeles area, she has worked with a variety of top players (including Rickey Woodard and the late Sam Most) and recorded her debut album Dyatribe.
On Soul Of The Water, the singer is joined by some of L.A.’s best including pianist Robert Turner, guitarist Joe Gaeta, and tenor-saxophonist Keith Fiddmont. One of Dyan Kane’s trademarks is her surprising (and often-witty) treatments of standards. That can be heard on a rapid version of “Summertime” (which has some fine scat singing), her joyfully eccentric “Caravan,” a relatively straightforward and warm “Moonglow,” an exuberant “Brazil,” and a really uptempo rendition of “Lover Man.” She is also a fine writer, contributing the memorable medium-tempo jazz waltz “Papi’s Back In Town” and her love story “Dial Rio For Me.” The last part of the set finds Dyan Kane reaching beyond acoustic jazz with the rhythmic “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and an electronic transformation of Kurt Elling’s “Esperanto” with keyboardist Dominique Xavier Taplin.
The music overall is quite stimulating and features the inventive Dyan Kane in top form. Soul Of The Water is easily recommended and available from www.dyankanemusic.com.
"[DYATRIBE] is a continually intriguing CD. Dyan Kane, who has a very appealing voice and an adventurous spirit, teams up with a top-notch rhythm section to interpret and reinvent seven songs. She gives 'Eleanor Rigby' a rhythmically complex treatment, taking the Beatles' tune through several different time changes. "How Insensitive" is divorced from its bossa-nova roots and sounds brand new. The most extensive performance, Radiohead's "Pyramid Song," is turned into an atmospheric modern jazz ballad that one could imagine Sheila Jordan tackling. "Willow Weep For Me" is transformed successfully into a jazz waltz while "All Blues" features some of Dyan Kane's inventive scatting. The program closes with relatively straightforward versions of "I Thought About You" and "Come Together." Dyan Kane is joined by the talented pianist Robert Turner (who sometimes recalls McCoy Tyner but also has his own fresh ideas), bassist Ryan Cross and drummer Lyndon Rochelle. While she is naturally in the forefront much of the time, the singer functions as one of the musicians, is generous with the solo space, and she and her trio communicate with each other quite well. The result is a memorable set of music that contains more than its share of surprises. Dyatribe is recommended and available from www.dyankane music.com. --SCOTT YANOW, L.A. Jazz Scene
“The musicianship is right in the pocket and Dyan's phrasing is impeccable. The choice of these songs for her and the band appear to have the unifying effect necessary to pull off a grand performance like this. Dyan is in possession of haunting refrains that make me smile.” James M. Janisse -"The Gentleman of Jazz" (re: DYAN KANE "dyatribe" CD)
“Dyan Kane and the Robert Turner Trio reinvent several familiar songs in unusual and imaginative ways. No matter how complex the music, or how assertive the ensemble, the singer sounds confident and relaxed, floating above it all with fresh improvising and a smile in her voice.”
Scott Yanow, staff writer for ‘The LA Jazz Scene, author of 11 books including "Jazz Singers." (re: Dyan Kane's debut CD, DYAN KANE, 'dyatribe')
"You have leapt way ahead of the music, itself, and have developed a very personal style of singing."
(Dave Ross, L.A. based Jazz Musician and Band Leader)
"A soft and pillowy deep-house beat is the foundation for Kane's sex-kitten musings. She writhes and preens admirably..." (Billboard Magazine)
"Dynamic, sensual, multi-talented artist..." (Billboard Magazine)
"Slim, handsome, very serious New Yorker.." (New York Daily News)