Conference Call: Diana DeGarmo & Ace Young: "DnA - The Music That Makes Us" at Birdland
I interviewed Diana DeGarmo this past summer when she was performing in Quilt, A Musical Celebration as part of Stonewall 50/World Pride 2019.
I am thrilled that she answered my call again and conferenced in her husband, Ace Young, for both of them to speak with me about their upcoming Birdland concert, DnA - The Music That Makes Us.
American Idol, helped catapult Diana & Ace to fame. Diana on Season 3 and Ace on Season 5. Following Idol, Diana & Ace have released several acclaimed solo albums, starred on Broadway and around the country on National Tours.
They are gearing up to dazzle audiences at Birdland with their newest concert DnA - The Music That Makes Us, an intimate evening of music highlighting the songs of the past, present, and future that have and still are molding them into the entertainers they were born to be.
Included will be hits from pop, and Broadway, performed by a Southern belle and a Mountain man. Ace and Diana will take you on the musical journey of their lives from childhood, “American Idol,” married life, and whatever the future may hold!
DnA - The Music That Makes Us, one-night-only, at Birdland (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) on Monday, October 21 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
1. On October 21 you are performing, DnA - The Music That Makes Us at Birdland. What are you looking forward to most about this concert?
Diana DeGarmo: This will be the first time Ace and I have ever done a concert together in New York City. I am eager to surprise and entertain people as US and not characters in someone else's show. Plus, playing Birdland is a definite bucket list moment.
Ace Young: The Birdland Jazz Club is a classy joint! I'm excited to get dressed up and party the night away!
2. What was the first song you each knew had to be in this concert?
Diana DeGarmo: We both knew we had to do a song from each of our favorite singers, Patsy Cline for me and Jackie Wilson for Ace. Without giving too much away, those songs jumped onto the set list immediately!
3. What is the best part about working/performing together?
Diana DeGarmo: We both know how to highlight the best in each other and that gets to pour out onto the stage as well. Performing is just an extension of our daily lives. So working together comes pretty naturally for us and we know how rare that can be, especially in our industry.
Ace Young: With Diana onstage, I am fully present and have no where else in the world to be.
4. What are some of its challenges?
Diana DeGarmo: Sometimes I bring the work to bed and once Ace is done for the day he is DONE. Ha! I have had to work on my time management. We typically work from home so it is easy for the lines of work and personal to be blurred. I created us a family calendar and daily agenda that I now stick to for my sanity, and my husband's!
Ace Young: I don't feel challenged by it at all. I actually feel stronger. For example, when I have a idea, I already have the first person with me to help make that idea a reality. It's amazing!
5. What are some of your artistic differences that, when you perform together, actually make you stronger together?
Diana DeGarmo: I'm not sure if it is marriage or natural osmosis from being together for so long, but we are more similar performers than different. We both are extremely dedicated, energetic, don't take ourselves too seriously, and like to have an emotional connection with our audience. Thankfully that all works in our favor.
Ace Young: I don't analyze Diana as a artist. I am a fan of her work. When we are onstage together I have the best seat in the house.
6. In 2010, you both joined the Broadway revival of Hair. Ace, you took over the role of "Berger" from Will Swenson and Diana, you took over the role of "Sheila," from Caissie Levy. When things are dark, like the times we live in, how do you "Let The Sunshine In"?
Diana DeGarmo: We are both big hippies at heart. We love to get back to nature and to what really matters: love, family, and life. Spending time outdoors and taking moments to breathe are crucial to our mental and physical health. That is a big reason we live in Nashville. As much as I adore NYC and being a social butterfly with the world, I need my time to recoup. Nashville has given us that oasis and quality of life.
Ace Young: I always try to find the joy in every occasion. Happiness is a personal choice. Plus, making it through hard times leads to great successes and celebrations.
7. You both also starred in National Tour of another favorite Broadway show of mine, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. One song from that show is "Any Dream Will Do." What are some of your dreams you have yet to achieve?
Diana DeGarmo: I dream of entertaining people around the world for the rest of my life. So far, so good.
Ace Young: It's time for me to dream up some new dreams. I'm checking off my last box when I release my new album early next year.
8. In the fall of 2020, you both are launching the National Tour of the Broadway musical First Date. What was your first date with each other?
Diana DeGarmo: Our dating story is a little weird since we never "technically" had a first date. But, I do remember the first time Ace bought me a meal. We were at the Cheesecake Factory is Sherman Oaks, CA. I was visiting for a job and had no idea, at the time, that was the beginning of our lives together. We have basically been together ever since.
9. Let's end this interview by bringing it back to DnA - The Music That Makes Us. Since the concert is an intimate evening of music, what is the most intimate thing you are willing to reveal about yourselves that you have not told before?
Diana DeGarmo: 2018 was a very hard health year for me and thankfully we caught things before they became irreversible. That being said, take care of yourself. I know the health care system in this country is completely out of whack, but don't let that keep you from keeping up with yourself and your needs. Get your tests, go to the doctor if you feel off, and be open to whatever you need to heal and stay healthy.
Ace Young: I'm an open book.
Bonus Question - Ace Young:
10. I asked Diana these questions about American Idol in my previous interview with her, I'd now like to ask them to you.
Would you do it again? I have no need or desire to audition for Season 20, but I would definitely be in line for Season 5 if I went back in time.
What did you learn from being on the show? I learned that I should always follow my instincts.
Favorite Memory? My favorite memory was getting a big hug from my parents when I made it to Hollywood week.
Toughest Moment? My toughest moment was not being able to share my story. It's a production that picks and chooses what they want the public to know.
Bonus Question - Diana DeGarmo:
11. We last spoke this past June when you were part of World Pride's 50th Celebration as part of the musical concert Quilt, A Musical Celebration.
How did those four performances go? The performances of Quilt had a far greater impact on me than I expected. People were moved and reminded of the epidemic of the AIDS crisis and how much work still needs to be done.
What did you get from performing them? I needed that education and experience for me to be a greater ally to my family and friends who have HIV/AIDS. I met wonderful people, challenged myself personally and professionally, and had a lot of fun. Not a bad day at work.
More on Diana:
Singer, songwriter, from stage to screen, Diana DeGarmo has conquered it all and then some. Her sweet tea infused powerhouse vocals shot her to fame on American Idol and opened doors to numerous Broadway shows, National and International Tours, a recurring role on The Young & The Restless, and much more. Her new album, GEMINI, is out now! She is finally debuting the music of her soul with her own authentic big band country style, but don’t let her sweetness fool you, she is power packed with lots of spice.
More on Ace:
Ace Young is a man of many talents and has the credits to back them up. Even before his multiple #1 hits as a songwriter, Ace was wowing millions on TV shows like American Idol and Half & Half. His Grammy-Nominated song “It’s Not Over” gave way to his own BMI Pop Award and many other songwriting acclaims. Ace has starred on Broadway in Hair and Grease, toured the country in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and most recently set the stage ablaze as “Radames” in AIDA at Axelrod Performing Arts Center and “Stacee Jaxx” in Rock of Ages at the Pittsburgh CLO. His next chapter of artistry has him sitting in the producer, writer, and artist’s chairs, for his upcoming solo album. Stay close to see what he creates next!