By Noe Gutierrez
This Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11 a.m. the Palm Springs Walk of Stars will honor two-time Grammy Award Winner, jazz legend, singer, pianist and Coachella Valley resident, Diane Schuur with its 406th star. The dedication is open to the public and will be conducted at 112 North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.
Schuur, who was born blind, has collaborated with Barry Manilow, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano to name a few. Locally, Schuur is involved with the Braille Institute Rancho Mirage and other charitable organizations. Coachella Valley Weekly sat down with Schuur in her desert home to discuss her career and upcoming star dedication.
CVW: What does the honor of having a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars mean to you?
SCHUUR: “It’s a great surprise for me to be honored like this. It’s the best gift anyone ever gave me. I really found a home here when I moved a few years ago. It’s a wonderful tribute for the decades I have been in the music business.”
CVW: What do you love about living in the desert?
SCHUUR: “I love the heat! I love how warm it is. It doesn’t really bother me at all in the summer. The quality of life I have here is awesome. I love the people; I’ve met so many wonderful endearing people here so far.”
CVW: What other non-jazz artists do you listen to and admire?
SCHUUR: “I’m a classic rock and roll girl. I love Santana, The Who, AC/DC, Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Steely Dan, and so on.”
CVW: What sense do you rely on most?
SCHUUR: “I rely on my hearing most, which is funny. I just found out I have slight hearing loss in my left ear and I also have tinnitus. I rely on my intuition also. I use my intuition a lot!”
CVW: What is the meaning behind the nickname “Deedles”?
SCHUUR: “My mother use to call me ‘Deedle Babe’ as a child. It just stuck with me. We all have nicknames in my family.”
CVW: What is your favorite musical moment of your career thus far and why?
SCHUUR: “Oh, there are so many of them, I couldn’t count just one; The White House, singing at Carnegie Hall, performing at The Kennedy Center honoring Stevie Wonder, my first Grammy Award, my second Grammy Award & performing in China for 58,000 people was a trip.”
CVW: What contemporary artist would you like to collaborate with and why?
SCHUUR: “I’d love to record with Andrea Bocelli. His voice is so rich to me. I would love to do a duet with Fantasia. She’s awesome. She has incredible vocal power and range.”
CVW: Your most recent recording, “I Remember You (With Love To Stan and Frank),” is your salute to Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra. What do each of them and their music mean to you?
SCHUUR: “They were both personal friends of mine. Stan is responsible for launching my career. He was a great mentor as well. He took me to the White House for a great program called Four Generations of Jazz. You can see it on You Tube. He taught me a lot about music and singing styles. Frank was a dear friend I had the honor of performing with. He also painted me a beautiful abstract picture which is in my home. His style and range and the way he interprets a song taught me a lot about music.”
CVW: Where do you see jazz music going as a whole? Do you believe it’s a dying art form? If so, how can we preserve and nurture it?
SCHUUR: “Jazz is the orphan child of the music business. It also is the root of all music you hear today. Rock and roll came out of jazz, Jazz has influenced generations of people. It is a true American art form. It was invented here in America. We should be more proud of its origins and roots and give it more exposure in the music world. We need younger ‘jazzers’ and a wider audience. We need to keep it alive by turning on the youth in our country. Jazz music will always be around. It tells a story people want to hear.”
CVW: What Coachella Valley restaurants do you enjoy?
SCHUUR: “AJ’s on the Green in Date Palm Country Club is my favorite place to eat. I also love Denny’s and Panda Express for a quick lunch. The Daily Grill in Palm Desert is a favorite as well. My favorite place is to eat at home though. I have a private chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and used to own a restaurant in Orange County, who creates a sensational menu for me each week. It’s nutritional and flavorful and I can heat and serve myself.”
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