Throughout your musical journey you have captured the hearts of many and enjoyed a lengthy career; what is it that keeps you performing and on tour?
I love what I do and love making people happy. I enjoy performing, being on stage. Music keeps me youthful.
Having performed with many of the world’s greats (such as Ray Charles), received countless awards, and performed internationally across many continents, have you any dreams that you are yet to pursue?
I am realizing a ‘dream’ at this time, doing the music that comes from the city of Memphis, Tennessee, where I was born. Having a soul band replete with background singers has been a dream of mine.
What is it that Jazz gives you?
Jazz gives me complete freedom of expression as an artist, it informs my daily life through the improvisational nature of the music.
If Jazz hadn’t chosen you, what other career path would you have walked?
Perhaps a criminal justice attorney or a writer, or both. For sure I’d do more as an actress, in theater, film, television.
What has been the pivotal moment in your career to date?
There have been many pivotal moments in my career of 46 years: working with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, being cast as ‘Glinda, the Good Witch of the South’ in the original production of THE WIZ (which changed how Black Theater is perceived) on Broadway and winning a Tony Award, moving to Paris, France in 1986 for 23 years and creating a new Life outside of the United States, and all I achieved during those years: the hit duet with Ray Charles (1989-90), being the first jazz artist able to do major TV variety shows, being the first Black actress to portray ‘Sally Bowles’ in a huge production of the musical, CABARET (1995), portraying Billie Holiday in LADY DAY in Paris and London, and receiving a Lawrence Olivier Award nomination for ‘Best Actress Ina Musical (1987), receiving many honors from the French Minister of Culture, the highest award being ‘Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters’, and my most recent award as a 2017 NEA Jazz Master.
What’s next for Dee Dee? Tours, albums, travels?
I have a new album coming out in September 2017 of the music performed at your amazing Royal Opera House Muscat. The album is called “Memphis”. I will be touring this repertoire for the next year, bringing the sounds of Memphis to people around the world.
How can we keep up to date with you?
My daunager (daughter/manager) has created fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to keep folks updated.