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Une dédicace pour deux bébés
The Pitch On Dian B. / Le pitch sur dian b.
Name: Dian B.
Residence: Citizens of the World
Attributes: Repertoire in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italien and English
Music: Words never quite qualify the style. Nonetheless, as Dian B artfully says:"It's sort of romantic lounge slash pianistic pop".
Quotes: "Music's magic in that it has the magical power of whisking you off in a dimension of being where Love - curiosity, warmth, tenderness, Eros- is the norm. Like John Lennon's song, Imagine, for example: the bare piano; and Lennon's voice asking u to join in. Or Clara Nunes or..."
Critics: "The sexiest voice in Belgian pop!" (Anonymous during the 2005 San Remo singing Festival).
Nom : dian b.
RÈsidence : citoyenne du monde
Attributs : rÈpertoire en anglais, espagnol, franÁais, italien, portugais.
Musique : les mots qualifient rarement le style, mais comme le dit dian b. - avec style - " Brussels-Paris, c'est genre de la lounge intimiste tiret pop pianistique qui fait voyager. " Citation : " La musique est magique au sens o˘ elle a le pouvoir magique de t'aspirer dans une dimension de l'Ítre o˘ l'amour - la curiositÈ, la chaleur, la tendresse, Eros - est la norme. Comme dans la chanson de Lennon, Imagine, par exemple : rien qu'un piano et la voix de Lennon qui t'entraÓne... Ou Clara Nunes, ou... "
Critiques : " La Voix La Plus Sexy De La Pop Belge ! " (Anonyme, Festival De San Remo 2005)
Dian B. "BRUSSELS-PARIS"
Somewhere on a beach in South Japan or Copacabana, behind a curtain looking down on a rainy day in, let's say, Paris, a Brussels wine bar or the backseat of a Moscow-registered limo takes you Dian B.... not just your local record store. Each track a separate scenario, but all of them together sort of enacting a single love story. One thinks of a novel by Duras, soundtracked by Rachmaninov...
As a group, Dian B. is a Belgian outfit. Brussels-Paris is their debut album: a 13-track of great emotional impact, with vocals lolita-esque, subtly magnetic, and undergirded by heart and soul.
Quelque part sur une plage au Sud du Japon... ‡ Copacabana ou dans un hÙtel, disons, de Paris; dans un bar ‡ vin de Bruxelles ou une salle de bal d'une banlieue de Moscou... vous entraÓne Dian B.; pas seulement dans les rayons. Chaque morceau un mini-scÈnar, qui tous ensemble dÈroule une seule histoire d'amour. On songe ‡ un roman de Duras, mis en scËne par Rachmaninov...
En tant que groupe, Dian B. est une crÈation bruxelloise. Brussels-Paris est leur premier opus: un treize-titres au fort impact Èmotionnel, dont les morceaux cernent le songe d'une espËce d'histoire d'amour fantÙme - avec leur voix de Lolita, fraÓche et envo˚tante, planant sur des mÈlodies aux subtils pouvoirs hypnotiques.
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New York Baby of Brazilian / Italian / Spanish descent, dian b. is an enfant terrible of the seminal New York showbiz scene.
Barely out of her cradle, she takes her first piano, singing and dancing lessons, soon learning the art of seduction shooting pamper and cornflakes commercialsÖ Still a child, she steps on stage appearing in roles ‡ la Shirley Temple during presidential galas at the White House. A few years later, after a tap tribute to James Cagney he felt greatly apriled by, she becomes lead singer / dancer of the New York Fire Crackers, a young talentgang's band that goes touring Japan for a yearÖ After her BFA from NYU, she then decides to brave simultaneously the worlds of Theater and Cinema, stringing together an impressive number of credits, both On and Off Broadway ; for TV and HollywoodÖ
But dian b. is also a cosmopolitan singer, with a classy, eclectic, romantic, international repertoireÖ capable of singing not only in English, but French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese Öon Bossa, Jazz or Cabaret tunes ; not to mention, Japanese (single 30 Days Ago, Kitty Records) ; with just enough trace of a foreign accent to give you chills and a heartthrob.
Thus the 'sparkling dian b.' (so speaks the Agence France-Presse), in check with her eclectic recording history, chooses to release a single in Paris: a new version of the 70's French hit "Michel" by composer Michel Cywie, who, under the spell of her 'Ethno-Glamour' songs, decided to join force with her 'subtly magnetic voice' and compose a brand new version of his smash hit for her.
Rearranged as an R&B-cum-Glam jaunt, beautifully sung by dian b., "Michel" is selected by French film directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau for use on the soundtrack of their acclaimed movie, "Adventures of Felix".
Yet beyond her recording milestones, to be absolutely fair to her musical (and personal) growth one should also be hipped about dian b.'s extensive traveling - from Brazil to Siberia - she always took as opportunities to foray different musical (and dance) realms ; her many collaborations, too, with Brazilian and Japanese bands.
These days, on the heels of releasing her new single "Something" - incorporated in BMG lounge compilation "Mosquito Bar 3", featuring Daftpunk and Moby - she signs her first studio opus: a thirteen-track of uncompromised music, entitled "Brussels-Paris".
A concept album, "Brussels-Paris" is built as a series of mini-soundtracks, unspooling an itinerant love story ; with vocals fresh and spell-bounding, to soundscapes of pianistic pop arrangements ; in a style dian b. - qualifies as: 'introspective lounge that makes you travel'
..............................IbÈro-italo-brÈsilienne de Manhattan, dian b. est un enfant terrible de la scËne new-yorkaise. A peine sortie du berceau elle apprend le piano, le chant, la danse et... l'art de sÈduire en tournant des spots publicitaires pour des couches-culottes et des boÓtes de cornflakes. A l'‚ge o˘ d'autres font encore des p‚tÈs de sable dans les cours de rÈcrÈ, elle dÈbute dans la comÈdie... jouant des rÙles ‡ la Shirley Temple lors de galas prÈsidentiels ‡ la Maison Blanche.
Quelques annÈes plus tard - aprËs avoir fait rire James Cagney en lui rendant hommage dans un numÈro de claquettes Ètincelant... plein de spirales impossibles o˘ claquent les fers multiples de ses chaussons ÈcartelÈs ...elle devient l'ÈgÈrie chantante - et dansante - du groupe New York Fire Crackers, qui cartonne au Japon.
Une licence d'Art Dramatique de l'universitÈ de New York en poche, elle s'attaque ensuite au monde du thÈ‚tre, du cinÈma, de la tÈlÈ, de la comÈdie musicale... Sur scËne, ‡ Broadway, jouant entre autres une remarquable Trixie dans La Chatte sur un toÓt br˚lant. A la tÈlÈ, se dÈchaÓnant avec cocasserie dans de nombreuses sÈries, sitcoms et fictions. Au cinÈma, ‡ LA, dÈcrochant des rÙles joliment variÈs dans des thrillers d'horreur, des chroniques romanesques, des polars branchÈs ou de juteuses parodies...
Mais dian b. est Ègalement une chanteuse cosmopolite, au registre international - chic, variÈ, romantique ...capable de chanter aussi bien en anglais, qu'en franÁais, espagnol, italien, portugais ...sur des airs de bossa, jazz ou cabaret ; et mÍme en japonais (single 30 Days Ago / Kitty Records) - et tout Áa avec un accent ‡ craquer.
C'est ainsi que 'la pÈtillante' dian b., comme l'Ècrit l'AFP, vient ‡ sortir son premier single en franÁais : une reprise du tube Michel, du compositeur Michel Cywie, qui, tombÈ complËtement sous le charme de ses espiËgles chansons latino, a tenu ‡ ce qu'elle lui en dope une nouvelle version R&B / Glam, de sa voix de Lolita.
Mais pour Ítre tout ‡ fait juste envers le parcours musical (et personnel) de dian b., il faut encore Èvoquer sa passion pour les voyages. Dian b. est un vÈritable badaud du globe. Quand on lui demande ce qui la fait courir, elle rÈpond que 'la vie est une expÈrience dans le labo du Monsieur l‡-haut ; et la libertÈ ne sait rester passive'... Son souci de toujours transformer ses leÁons de planËte en leÁon de musique (et de danse); ses nombreuses collaborations aussi ‡ des groupes brÈsiliens ou japonais...
RÈcemment - et en cela, plus que jamais fidËle ‡ l'aspect 'artisanal' de son dÈveloppement musical ; privilÈgiant l'‚me ‡ la partition, et toujours l'aspect 'humain' de ses rencontres - 'ces accords de hasard, ces salamandres du destin, ces pagodes de la bonne fortune,' nous dit-elle - elle sort pour la premiËre fois sous le nom de dian b. un treize-titres intitulÈ Brussels - Paris - du fait que, pour la petite histoire, le projet soit nÈ de sa rencontre avec Benoit Deschoolmester, compositeur bruxellois... dans l'ombre bleue d'un wagon Paris - Bruxelles.
Un concept album construit comme une sÈrie de mini-bandes son, dÈroulant une histoire d'amour ; voix fraÓche et envo˚tante, sur fond de pop pianistique ; dans un style que dian b. qualifie de : 'lounge intimiste qui fait voyager' ............................
Dian B. on Dian B. INTERVIEW
How does a New York actress brimming with Brazilian adrenalins become the chanteuse of a Belgian pop duo?
Dian B. - That development came about as the result of a chance meet between BenoÓt and I on the Thalys. So the incipient beginning part of Brussels-Paris is really a chance meet on the Thalys.
Do that again?
Dian B. - The Thalys: the train that serves between Paris and Amsterdam, goes through Belgium.
You mean to say Brussels-Paris began life
Dian B. - On a train, yes ; a Brussels to Paris train, like its title says. I was on my way back to Paris (where I lived), from Amsterdam, where I'd gone to spend the weekend ; and BenoÓt was on his way to Paris, too, except he got on the train in Brussels, where he lives ; and I was on the phone, and bits of my conversation must have floated to where he was sitting, near by, for suddenly it just dawned on him : I'm the voice he's been looking for, I'm the voice of his life. PAUM! Just like that. And you know what? He didn't know me, but I was unknown to him: it wasn't the first time a fragment of my conversation burst in on him, unawares. As a matter of fact, he'd seen me on TV, 6 months prior, in a horror film I'd done. For some reason he saw it. My voice struck him - and he pondered it, wondering if I could sing, woaw, I'd have the most awesome voice he could imagine. He remembered that thought. Probably not my face!
Funny how these things happen...
Dian B. - Weird, right? But that's exactly as it happened. And that's as I remember it : strange guy looking at me with flabbergast, his sound turned off, rainy window behind him. I forgot his first word. Yet I remember this vision. Stopped, as if in a polaroÔd. That's how a lot of those things happen. I don't know how it is with anybody else, though, but with us, to this day, we feel luck, or whatever you want to call it, was already there for Dian B. Like there was something in it, not just us, that did it for itself.
You mean in that train?
Dian B. - Or what happened, maybe there's some parallel universe... where the sky is a little greyer, the streets a little darker ; and where Belgian waffles don't quite taste the same as in New York City, but where the laws of probability are a little chancier - and in that parallel universe, there exist Dian B. and her friends, the closest that other universe can come to BenoÓt and I. And we are now visiting them!
You mind taking us on a visit?
Dian B. - You know the saying: one thing to have a guide, another to follow him...
So BenoÓt met his voice and it clicked.
Dian B. - It clicked, yes.
Love at first sight?
Dian B. - Well... let's say some kind of blind date, that panned out.
You didn't know each other, yet from the get-go you guys decide to collaborate on a whole music album.
Dian B. - No, not so fast, not an album. This point, neither of us had any clue what we were really letting ourselves in for. But we'd never met before, that's a fact. We could have: parties we went to taught us we'd a few cinema friends in common (such a small world!) Also, I'd been to Brussels many times before, and Brussels isn't that big a town ; and BenoÓt, though he likes to stay inconspicuous, isn't quite an unknown there, as composer of some famous TV stuff and also the owner and engineer extraordinaire of a cool studio... but no, we didn't. Still, pretty much next thing we know, relatively speaking, we got our foot in the stirrup of some ambitious thing.
Dian B. - We agreed on meeting again in BenoÓt's studio in Brussels. So a week later, I did a Paris-Brussels, and BenoÓt picked me up at the station: we listened to his stuff, picked 3 or 4 sketches of songs and immediately started working, doing takes after takes, with me singing into the mike, and all the while conscious of being sort of auditioned for the feminine part in the Dian B movie playing in his head; till the last train.
And you passed your audition?
Dian B. - I did : end of the day, saying good-bye, BenoÓt seemed more persuaded than ever I had that 'something' about my voice that was different ; said he wanted to do something with my voice placed up front. So yeah, I passed my audition and accepted the role he concocted for me.
The industry loves to put tags on styles. How would you describe your music?
Dian B. - It's difficult to encapsulate what we attempt with one word. I guess we like to think it's kin to lounge in its essence, in that, just as in lounge, it's all about melody and vocal delivery, and it's got to take you somewhere. Of course, it isn't smoky lounge, with the languid love-theme - but every track's polished, dosed with a certain mix of psychedelic sensuality and in almost each one, I think, you got the love-struggle...
Plus you got the bossa nova churning, on tracks like -
Dian B. - Right. But after our treatment
How d'you mean?
Dian B. - Well, with an emphasis on rhythm, but also, I think, on the drama of the 'orchestration'. Having both worked in film, we have a distinctive penchant for dramatic orchestration : the stabbing piano lines, complemented by atmospheric sax; or an electric guitar to punch things up, or some soaring strings... Still, because of my voice being placed way up front, you got me always breaking from the instrumental, in such sort that the perception, in the end, as in lounge, I think, is always based on the lyrics and vocal delivery.
How did working together turn out?
Dian B. - We like gradually got siamese-twinned into working together. In the beginning we'd no particular goal in mind beyond each session, however subconsciously I guess, we were so much aware of forming a duo, we moved into what has become this album without even following the rules.
Can you touch us a word about your method of composition. How does your being so bonded into this album project translate itself in terms of Dian B's m.o.?
Dian B. - We start with an idea. Sometimes I provide the inspiration upfront, because I have the emotion in my head, and sometimes no. But mostly it's more subtle than that. The direction of the track is steered by BenoÓt , but evoked by my singing. So sometimes I'm the basis, and sometimes the icing. Then the idea's generally followed by some live piano or guitar, from BenoÓt ; then sampled, and then we'd get the extra musicians, if need be. So I guess our m.o. boils down to a general process of building each track up, slowly and painstakingly, through a series of layers, till we feel the tune can play itself out.
Did the general idea of the album incubate a long time or did it materialize quickly?
Dian B. - Straightaway BenoÓt had the 'voice-up-front' concept, so this was the basis from which we departed. We then gathered a dozen sketches of songs, and took it from there. Only next did we reach the next phase, whereby we defined the second compass point of the direction we wanted to walk in. Basically, we took all our tracks and decided to treat them a lot more 'cinematographically'. That is, we thought out each song in terms of as an imaginary minifilm to which we'd be 'scoring' the music. All this fell into place - within, say, a year.
How come then the album took 3 ?
Dian B. - The album took place over a period of three years, true, but not consistently. We suffered several interruptions - or paralyses: one was a contractual contretemps with a show I was involved in, in Paris; the other was an anomaly: one of the studio's state-of-the-art machines mysteriously broke down one day, and we had to transfer all our sound bites from it into one of BenoÓt's auxiliary set-ups, loosing part of our data in the process. But still, true enough, this album proved a long fish to fry. We reached a point after which it just crawled, stagnated, crawled... as if we'd opened some kind of pandora's box, and nothing was simple anymore. I'm sure our qualities as perfectionists didn't help ; but mainly I'd say, the slowness was accountable to reasons beyond us. It was just this kind of a travail, following an organic process, evolving into a long, very slow, very demanding work-in-progress. For weeks, I'd be spending weekdays in Paris, taking the train on weekends to work with BenoÓt in Brussels ; then a pause for recuperation, and back at it, Saturdays and Sundays, between Brussels and Paris - all the while, feeding this project with this surplus of kinetic energy!
And so naturally, you decided to name your album, Brussels-Paris?
Dian B. - Right, but not only as an allusion to the where and how we met, but also because for many months, there was nothing between this album and us but a torrent of rails, with the bullet-head of the Thalys shuttling back and forth ; and in the end, I think, those railways served to keep us true, and on the right track.
Will you be performing your music live?
Dian B. - We're working on it.
What kind of a set-up?
Dian B. - Musically?
For the live instrumentation, yes?
Dian B. - Something minimalist. Probably just a keyboard. BenoÓt loves them Kurt Weills. Obviously, for songs such as Unfinished (with 40 violins playing), the texture will have to be re-imagined somehow.
Last question - this one, maybe for you, Diana: you said working on those tracks was like soundtracking a series of imaginary movies. As an actress yourself, what is one of your cult movies?
Dian B. - There are so many. But if you want me to say "Hiroshima mon amour", because of track 2, But Everything Is True, I guess I can. I saw it and I dug it ; I particularly loved the scenario written by Marguerite Duras.