If it seemed like Diana Krall was taking some time off from her busy life the last couple of years, think again. She might not have been on tour, but producing a Barbra Streisand album, creating a new disc of her own, and raising twin boys is anything but a relaxing vacation.
“I haven’t had more than a couple weeks off in many months,” says an exhausted Krall, who has spent the last week talking to media. “I took two weeks in January, then started full on again. I wanted to do this album, and when I’m with my children I’m with my children. I haven’t slept in a week.”
Krall’s world is only going to get busier, as she’s about to embark on a five-month tour in support of her latest record, Quiet Nights. The disc sees the Vancouver-based artist, and wife to Elvis Costello, tackle an entire record of Bossa Nova tunes.
It’s a genre she’s always dabbled in — her biggest hit, the Look of Love, featured a Bossa Nova groove — but it’s the first time she’s dedicated an entire record to the Brazilian sound.
“I’ve always liked the genre,” she says. “I’ve been a fan of Sergio Mendez, João Gilberto and Stan Getz for years.”
But it was her partnership with arranger Claus Ogerman, who worked with Krall on Look of Love, that energized her interest in Bossa Nova. “It’s because of Clause,” she says, explaining why she made this record. “I started listening to Gilberto at Carnegie Hall and then I went to Brazil and got into the grooviness of the people and music there. And, since Clause worked with (Bossa Nova legend) Antonio Carlos Jobim, it just felt like this was the right direction.”
Like her previous discs, Krall takes other people’s tunes and makes them her own. Standouts include Burt Bacharach’s Walk On By, Jobim’s Este Seu Olhar, and The Boy From Ipanema, originally sung as The Girl from Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto.
Picking what tunes to perform was the hardest part of making this disc, says Krall. But she had some help. “You want to put everything on an album,” she explains, “but you pay people to wisely give their very valued opinion.”
One person she didn’t ask for advice was her husband, but he wasn’t left out of the album creating process entirely. “His input comes in after I’ve made the record,” she says. “He’s very much the artist so he helps by being supportive when I say I really want something to be a certain way.”
While Krall’s new disc will be a hit among the romantic, dinner-by-candlelight types, she admits that this one isn’t for the kids. “I don’t think I’ll play them torchy late night love songs,” she says, adding that she’d rather write a kids album — with Costello — for her boys one day.
“That would be hilarious,” she says. “It would be great because we could go nutty.”
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