Q&A with Atlanta-based singer, songwriter Diane Durrett, sings from her soul and writes with heart & humor

"Music reflects all of our stories. It’s a record of our history. Music brings people together and crosses barriers that otherwise wouldn’t happen. It creates opportunities, for listeners and creators, to collaborate and explore new ideas and perspectives."

Diane Durrett: The Truth of Music

Singer, songwriter, producer Diane Durrett is a board member of the Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter, best known for the GRAMMYs. In 2017 she was a Global Peace Song Award winner for ‘The River Sings’ co-written with Melissa Junebug. Winner of the 2015 ‘Peoples Choice Award’ by the Atlanta Blues Society, as well as awarded the ‘Best Self-Produced Album’. “Soul Suga’ & Diane Durrett” received national & international attention charting in the Top 10 of the Roots Music Report Contemporary Blues chart. During the last years, Diane has joined music leaders across the country to advocate for creator rights in Georgia and with Grammys on the Hill in Washington, D.C. resulting in the passing of the Music Modernization Act.         (Diane Durrett / Photo by Emerald Dove)

With a blend of raw soulful vocals, sultry tones, and strong original songs Durrett has sung with Sting, Gregg Allman, The Indigo Girls, and Chuck Leavell. Durrett has opened shows for Tina Turner, KoKo Taylor, Tinsley Ellis, Delbert McClinton, and Derek Trucks. As well as lending her vocals to recording sessions for GRAMMY award winning producer Brendan O’Brien and Kristian Bush (Sugarland). Durrett has long reflected the musical passions that inspired her while growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. New album "Put A Lid On It" (2021). In 2011 Diane began her artist development company Blooming Tunes Music, coaching vocalists,  songwriters, and producing records. In true writer's spirit, Diane also authored a book titled "Driving Music City", which was published by Amazon in 2009. She sings from her soul and writes with heart & humor.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How do you describe your music philosophy and songbook?

A mentor of mine once told me a great song should have a "Tickle, tug or a tear” and if you have all three then all the better. Coming from an authentic place and expressing a universal truth is at the core of my songwriting.

Where does your creative drive come from?

This is an interesting question to think about. I think my creative drive is like a pulse I have felt my whole life. It feels innate. Sometimes I just wake up with a lyric in mind or I’ll sit down at the piano or play my guitar and I will get inspired. But there’s nothing like a ‘deadline’ to get you feeling creative!

Which meetings have been the most important experiences?

I was at a very hard part in my life as a struggling singer songwriter in Nashville and I, by chance, happened on an opportunity to sing with Sting. After the show, he put his hands on my shoulders and said to my friend, ‘She’s good. She’s damn good’. There have been times like this throughout my career where I met so many closed doors and wanted to give up and then something magical like this would happen and give me the inspiration to keep going.                                   (Diane Durrett / Photo by Bill Thames)

"This is an interesting question to think about. I think my creative drive is like a pulse I have felt my whole life. It feels innate. Sometimes I just wake up with a lyric in mind or I’ll sit down at the piano or play my guitar and I will get inspired. But there’s nothing like a ‘deadline’ to get you feeling creative!"

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

A seventy-year-old woman received her first Academy Award after a lifetime as an actor when asked how did you keep going all these years, her response was ‘Never face the facts’.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There are so many good memories. One special memory was in 2019 I was in a writing session with my friend Yonrico Scott (Royal Southern Brotherhood). We were writing a song for his upcoming album. It was about his life called ‘Child of the Blues’. It would be the last time we would see each other as he passed away just a few weeks later. To be left with his last song written, I felt compelled to make sure it was recorded. Many of his friends came together to play on the tracks over his original drum track with Mike Mattison (Tedeschi Trucks) singing lead. We released ‘Child of the Blues’ in September 2021 on Yonrico’s birthday as a tribute to his life.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The sound of Analog recordings. I miss the warmth of 2-inch tape. I hope that creators will be paid appropriately for their recordings. The amount of time, talent and skills that go into making a recording needs to be respectfully compensated.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Again, artists being respected and valued. If this doesn’t change you will not see full time musicians in the future.

"I was at a very hard part in my life as a struggling singer songwriter in Nashville and I, by chance, happened on an opportunity to sing with Sting. After the show, he put his hands on my shoulders and said to my friend, ‘She’s good. She’s damn good’. There have been times like this throughout my career where I met so many closed doors and wanted to give up and then something magical like this would happen and give me the inspiration to keep going." (Diane Durrett / Photo by Sherri White)

What does it mean to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says?

I’ve always enjoyed working with men so that was good most of the time. But it can be discouraging when there are such limited opportunities for women on record labels, agents and tours. I certainly think that it has changed for the better in the last few years, but it still has a long way to go to consider women having equal opportunities.

What is the status of women in music?

Underdogs and Queens, and sometimes both. If you make it longer than 5 years in music ...you ARE a Queen.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

To let go and let it flow

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications?

Music reflects all of our stories. It’s a record of our history. Music brings people together and crosses barriers that otherwise wouldn’t happen. It creates opportunities, for listeners and creators, to collaborate and explore new ideas and perspectives.

How do you want to affect people?

I want them to dance, sing along and feel good! Also, to relate to the stories and songs that I am singing. There are songs that have helped me express myself and I hope mine can do the same for others.

"I’ve always enjoyed working with men so that was good most of the time. But it can be discouraging when there are such limited opportunities for women on record labels, agents and tours. I certainly think that it has changed for the better in the last few years, but it still has a long way to go to consider women having equal opportunities." (Diane Durrett / Photo by Rudy Mullis)

What would you say characterizes the Atlanta music scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

Atlanta has a dedicated and active music scene of musicians, patrons and venues. In September I hosted a ‘Women in Blues’ event that was sponsored by The Atlanta Blues Society. We were excited to see that over 700 people turned out for this outdoor concert. So, while it has been a tough time during the pandemic, I feel like our Atlanta music scene is coming back stronger than ever.

Diane Durrett - Home

Views: 179

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2022   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service