Diana DeGarmo's Road to 'GEMINI' is a Dazzling Success Story [Exclusive Interview]
Diana DeGarmo’s sophomore album GEMINI proves that a masterpiece takes time to create, and that the wait is worth it.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice, Diana reminds longtime American Idol fans why she was America’s sweetheart during Season 3 of the competition. Her voice packs a provocatively belting, spirited punch, while pointedly showcasing her ever-so-charming personality on GEMINI. It’s a Big Band Country album that was done on her own firm terms, through the help of a Kickstarter campaign backed by a supportive fanbase that never left her side. Recorded in Los Angeles with her longtime friend Dylan Glatthorn, GEMINI is a followup to her 2004 debut, Blue Skies.
The singer recently took the stage at seductive Sony Hall in New York City on August 5 to observe the release of her highly-anticipated album. Celebration was in the air as Degarmo effortlessly dazzled the crowd with her raw, astonishing, and in-your-face energy. The intimate venue provided an opportunity for Degarmo to illustrate her must-be-heard-to-be-believed vocals and mesmerizing stage presence. Songs like “Bop-A-Diddly-Do” and “Lickety-Split” got the trendy crowd seriously grooving, with backup singers Holly Ann Butler, Michelle Dowdy, and Alexa Green providing pulsating excitement. The message was loud and clear: Diana knows how to put on a memorable, entertaining, and buzzworthy show
Music & Mojitos talked to Diana in an exclusive interview to discuss GEMINI, her adorable marriage to fellow American Idol alum Ace Young, and how all of her runs in theatrical productions on Broadway paid off years later.
“It was electrically magical,” Diana tells Music & Mojitos, referring to how she felt after the conclusion of her Sony Hall performance. “It felt kinetic. From the moment we arrived into the city, and got into the venue that day, we felt that energy percolating. We knew that something big was going to happen, and sure enough—it did. It kind of felt like a wedding. You do all the planning and you're like, ‘Well, now we actually have to get married.’ The show's happy no matter what. It was a beautiful night.”
Before Diana took the stage, her husband played an enriching opening set, hinting at the enchanting vibe that progressively built as the evening went on. “I’m proud of my lady. It’s time for strong women to run this sh*t,” Ace proclaimed to the cheering audience. “Once the show starts, you’re not going to want to get up.” He wasn’t wrong.
The chemistry between the American Idol lovebirds could not be denied. The love that the couple has for each other could be seen clear as day, even in a dimly lit venue. The pair performed the lively, romantic song “I Do” which appears at the end of GEMINI. Diana attributes the success of her strong relationship to remembering an essential lesson that was told to her early on in her marriage. Diana and Ace first met in a production of Hair on Broadway in 2010, before getting engaged during the Season 11 finale broadcast of American Idol in 2012.
“Somebody told me, ‘Never lose respect for your partner.’ During the first few growing pains of cohabitation and of life together, we were always keeping that advice in the back of our minds. From there, you can always just grow with more love. We are very lucky. We do get along well,” says Diana.
The married couple will continue to take their love on the road, as Diana and Ace are scheduled to co-star in the first national tour of First Date in 2020, reports Playbill. While they continue to support each other in all of their creative endevors, Diana is basking in the success of putting GEMINI together after three long years of blood, sweat, and tears. Diana's Kickstarter campaign saw the singer raise over $29,000 in order to bring her vividly elaborate GEMINI three-date tour to fruition. Diana tells Music & Mojitos that the supporters who backed her are dream makers.
“The Achilles heel of the artist is always in the subconscious of being self-deprecating. Sometimes we have this little creature in the back of our heads who goes, ‘Nobody likes you. Nobody’s going to help you.’ I don’t know one artist who isn’t like that in some way,” she laughs. “I asked for people to give their money; their hard earned money. It’s very humbling to see how many people gave so willingly and openly. It's just shocking, and it gives me faith that there’s still love, kindness, and hope in this world. People donated strictly for my dream. To have so many people that I know—and people from around the world I've never met before—donate, it's just a wonderful feeling of love. I will forever be eternally grateful to them and I hope that I can continue to make them proud.”
Corks were flying, and champagne glasses were continuously clinking during Diana’s jam-packed NYC performance. Calling on her previous work ethic in the theatre community, she kept her show moving along even when her shoe broke. “I had a dream about this last night, Betsy Johnson” she exclaimed. Diana reveals to Music & Mojitos that the theatre’s dramatics left an unforgettable impression on her performance style, and how she puts a show together. She says, “Over the years, people have tried to reign that in, and I finally learned that isn't who I am. I'm going to be over the top.” Not to be one-upped by a wardrobe malfunction, she brought out a burlesque dancer during her song, “Snake Oil.” There was a valid reason for that.
“I’ve been a super fan of burlesque for several years now and I just find it so incredibly entertaining and sexy. I love how much it amplifies beautiful people inside and out. You actually have to entertain. You’re not just fully stripping off your clothes,” Diana explains to Music & Mojitos. “‘Snake Oil’ is a six minute song. It’s a really long number. I put the two and two together and it was serendipitous.”
She can be surrounded by a sensational burlesque performer, or be on the stage all by herself. One thing is for certain: All eyes are on Diana. Like her cover of AC/DC’s “TNT,” Diana DeGarmo is dynamite, and she’s ready to explode into the mainstream one more time.
You can purchase GEMINI here.
Banner photo by MA2LA.