Diane Nalini Biography
Jazz singer and songwriter Diane Nalini started singing at the age of three and never stopped. Born in Montreal to Belgian and Goan parents, she sings and writes songs in four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish). Her multilingual repertoire draws from her lifelong passion for jazz, French Chanson, Brazilian popular song, and great literature. “She captures jazz at its most sophisticated and joyous level,” writes Elle Magazine Canada. “I just love Diane Nalini’s voice. This is a sassy, ‘ripe plum in the Italian sun’ kind of voice… She has such sweet and effortless pitch, it’s beautiful.” (Katie Malloch, former host of CBC radio’s Jazzbeat and Tonic).
Diane has released four wide ranging and warmly received albums, and has given gala performances for President Bill Clinton and Sir Paul McCartney. She was one of two finalists for the UK’s Young Jazz Vocalist of the Year in 2001, and was nominated for the Grand Prix de Jazz General Motors at the 2002 Montreal International Jazz Festival. She has performed in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Malta and South Africa. Her most recent album Kiss Me Like That, is a collection of 13 songs celebrating humanity’s fascination with the sky. From the title track’s infectious rhythms, to ‘Cuando sale la luna’ – Diane’s sultry ode to the moon, her original compositions on this album are all influenced by the wonders of the sky and stars. Her six original songs are perfectly complemented by classic jazz standards chosen carefully for this project, like “Stardust”, “Skylark”, “They All Laughed”, as well as her intimate interpretations of folk & pop songs such as James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” and Sting’s “Valparaiso.”
Her previous album, Songs of Sweet Fire, is a collection of 15 songs and sonnets from the plays of William Shakespeare, for which Diane composed original jazz, blues, gospel, folk and bossa nova settings. Diane launched the album at Guelph’s “Shakespeare: Made In Canada” festival in 2005. The Kitchener Waterloo Record wrote: “A gifted arranger and vocalist… Nalini made an auspicious Guelph concert debut… the highlights were three passages from literature she set to jazz – “Sigh No More” from Much Ado About Nothing, and “The Lover and His Lass” from As You Like It, as well as Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Cradle Song.”
In a review of Diane’s second album, Tales… My Mama Told Me, Irwin Block of the Montreal Gazette wrote: “Diane Nalini has the voice, the phrasing, confidence, clarity and control to make a tune her own and turn it into a nuanced thing of beauty.”
Her debut album After dusk was described by London’s Time Out UK magazine as “a gorgeous collection, sung with quiet enunciated power”. “Her artistry shines through on two wide-ranging albums, After Dusk and the newly released Tales… My Mama Told Me“, wrote Canada’s Globe and Mail.
Diane’s music has been heard coast-to-coast-to-coast on such national CBC radio programmes as The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, Morningside with Peter Gzowski, Tonic and Jazzbeat with Katie Malloch, Jurgen Gothe’s Disc Drive, and As It Happens. On Radio Canada’s Ici Musique, she has been featured on shows hosted by Dan Behrman, Stanley Péan, Dorothée Berryman, and André Vigeant, amongst others.
She has opened for legendary 3-time Grammy winning songwriter Jimmy Webb at Guelph’s River Run Center, and had the pleasure to perform with David Knopfler (founder of ‘Dire Straits’) for the North American launch of his album Ship of Dreams in Montreal. Other highlights have included performances at the London Jazz Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Malta Jazz Festival, the Celebrate Toronto Festival, as well as Montreal’s 350th Anniversary Festival.
She has been a featured vocalist with a number of big bands, including her current role as resident vocalist with the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra. Diane has performed and spoken about the intersection of music, physics and education at numerous events, including Google’s SciFooCamp at their Mountain View headquarters in California. She has been a keynote speaker at the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Association and the Bell Science Fair. More recently, she was an invited speaker on music and astronomy at TEDx Dawson College. She has taught jazz singing and given jazz and songwriting workshops while with the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra, and at the Millennium Scholarship “Think Again” conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. Diane has chaired panel discussions at the Guelph International Jazz Festival Colloquium and the Dawson College SPACE roundtable. She was also a guest presenter at a one-day conference on “Art and democracy,” hosted by Concordia University’s Center for Continuing Education.
She studied Chinese watercolour painting and calligraphy for 10 years with the late Virginia Chang. She exhibited and sold paintings with the Montreal-based Ting Sung Group. For Songs Of Sweet Fire, she painted 16 original watercolour paintings inspired by the songs, to accompany Shakespeare’s lyrics in a full-colour, deluxe 20-page booklet.
Diane performed and studied classical ballet, jazz and modern dance for over 15 years. She was a soloist with Les Ballets de la jeunesse in her late teens. She also studied jazz ballet and modern dance for several years, and performed as a soloist in various shows by Montreal choreographers Sheila Lawrence and Claudine Bouchard. She combined her dance and singing experience when she performed the female lead in GLA Productions’ staging of “Fame – the musical”, at the Old Fire Station Theatre in Oxford in 2000.
Diane obtained her bachelor’s in honours physics from McGill University, and then went to England on a Rhodes Scholarship to obtain her doctorate from the University of Oxford in applied physics. She stayed on at Oxford for post-doctoral fellowships in materials science and astrophysics. Diane taught physics at Marianopolis College in Montreal, and then held a faculty position in the physics department of the University of Guelph for five years. She then decided to pursue her interest in science-based policy. She now lives in Ottawa.
Recent and Upcoming Gigs
8:30 pm "La chanson française" with Ottawa Jazz Orchestra - SOLD OUT Fourth Stage, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Diane will be featured in the first half of this show, presenting some of her new original works in French as well as her arrangements of works by Quebecois writers and performers such as Diane Tell, Joe Bocan, and Stanley Péan.
Tickets: $33 (discounts available for multi concert packages, see ottawajazzorchestra.com for more details)
6:30 pm Madisons New York Grill & Bar 189 Lyon St N, Ottawa
with Adrian Cho (double bass) & Garry Elliot (guitar)
8:30 pm New Year's Eve @ Madisons New York Grill & Bar 189 Lyon St N, Ottawa
with Adrian Cho (double bass) & Magnus Paulson (guitar)
For reservations call: 613-695-6262
8:30 pm "Lush Life" with Ottawa Jazz Orchestra Fourth Stage, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
The OJO's tribute to the incredible talent of Billy Strayhorn will feature a full Ellington-style big band. An evening of instrumental and vocal music, including some rarely-performed gems from the Liberia and Far East Suites.
Tickets: $33 (discounts available for multi-concert packages, visit ottawajazzorchestra.com for more details)
8:30 pm "Songs of Wonder" with Ottawa Jazz Orchestra Fourth Stage, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Diane will perform jazz re-imaginings of pop songs from the 1960s and 1970s with unique covers of tunes by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Donovan, Kate Bush, and Rickie Lee Jones. Challenge your ears with a boundary-blurring programme that will give you new appreciation for your favourite songs of yesteryear.
- Kiss Me Like That Diane Nalini 3:48
- Moonlight Saving Time Diane Nalini 3:03
- Cuando Sale La Luna Diane Nalini 3:35
- Love In Outer Space Diane Nalini 3:57
- Sweet Baby James Diane Nalini 3:15
- Le Tournesol Diane Nalini 5:20
- Skylark Diane Nalini 4:25
- They All Laughed Diane Nalini 3:31
- Valparaiso Diane Nalini 3:18
- Stardust Diane Nalini 3:12
- Winter Eclipse Diane Nalini 3:12
- Mundos Escondidos Diane Nalini 4:13
- Blue Moon Diane Nalini 2:56
Songs of Sweet Fire
- The Cuckoo Song Diane Nalini 3:09
- Sigh No More Diane Nalini 5:04
- For Love Of You Diane Nalini 4:01
- Rain Every Day Diane Nalini 8:25
- Desi's Blues Diane Nalini 4:37
- Mistress Mine Diane Nalini 4:45
- The Fabulous Minstrel Diane Nalini 3:44
- Take Those Lips Away Diane Nalini 3:06
- The Lover And His Lass Diane Nalini 3:11
- The Beauty Of Your Eyes Diane Nalini 5:16
- Be Merry Diane Nalini 3:38
- She Loves Another Diane Nalini 2:59
- Goodbye To The Devil Diane Nalini 4:00
- Till The World Goes Round Diane Nalini 3:42
- Under The Blossom Diane Nalini 3:41
Tales… My Mama told me
- Blues In The Night Diane Nalini 5:09
- Yellow Bird Diane Nalini 2:55
- Sometime Ago Diane Nalini 3:02
- La Vie En Rose Diane Nalini 4:24
- While You're Sleeping Diane Nalini 5:24
- Noturna Diane Nalini 4:00
- Mickey Diane Nalini 4:05
- Moose The Mooch Diane Nalini 2:39
- Les Feuilles Mortes Diane Nalini 4:51
- Cheek To Cheek Diane Nalini 3:56
- Corcovado Diane Nalini 4:12
- Cradle Song Diane Nalini 4:44
- Come Away Diane Nalini 3:46
- Lorelei Diane Nalini 5:14
- Stars Fell On Alabama Diane Nalini 3:37
- My Funny Valentine Diane Nalini 5:24
- Quand Elle Rit Aux Eclats Diane Nalini 4:03
- After Dusk Diane Nalini 5:49
- Carolina Diane Nalini 4:01
- La Mer Diane Nalini 3:37
- The Portrait On The Wall Diane Nalini 3:40
- La Maison Sous Les Arbres Diane Nalini 5:02
- How Long Has This Been Going On Diane Nalini 4:22
- Every Time We Say Goodbye Diane Nalini 4:51
Rendering songbook standards as well as French chanson, Brazilian classics, her own compositions, and settings of poems by Shakespeare and Tennyson, Nalini consistently displays bell-clear tone, meticulous enunciation, playfulness and subtle swing.Ian McGillis
Kiss Me Like That ****
Envoûtante chanteuse à qui l’on devait déjà trois remarquables CD… l’élégance, le charme et le swing sont toujours au rendez-vous. Décidément, une étoile (de moins en moins) méconnue au firmament du jazz vocal d’ici. [Le texte au complet]
Tales… My Mama told me ****
Diane Nalini has the voice, the phrasing, confidence, clarity and control to make a tune her own and turn it into a nuanced thing of beauty.
After dusk is a gorgeous collection of standards sung with quiet, enunciated power.Time Out Magazine
Ma résolution: vous faire partager mon coup de cœur musical pour Diane Nalini, une voix unique qui chante le jazz de manière si singulière… À écouter: Les deux albums de Diane Nalini, aussi délicieux l’un que l’autre, After Dusk et Tales… My Mama told me.Josée Bournival
I was completely overwhelmed by the eloquence and limpidity of her voice. Whether interpreting American Jazz songbook giants, the continental chanson tradition, Brazilian bossa nova music, or her original compositions, a common trait was evident: she captivates her audiences.
Happily, there was time to hear another Montrealer, Diane Nalini, at Upstairs. She is also a diversologist, but in identifiable styles. Her diction is impeccable, a helpful trait when singing Shakespeare,
Vendredi dernier, plusieurs s’étaient déplacés à la quatrième salle du CNA pour applaudir la célèbre chanteuse jazz Diane Nalini… cette dernière nous a fait entrer dans son univers musical débordant de créativité et d’originalité. [Le texte au complet]Sophie Sherrer
Nalini and ace Canuck jazzbos Mike Rud, Dave Watts (guitar, bass; respectively) rendered a hustling, bustling noontime Complexe Desjardins silent and spellbound.
Nalini’s first gig was singing along to Ella in the family living room. She was three years old. A professional since ’91, Nalini produced her debut recording After Dusk in 2000 (www.dianenalini.com). 10 tracks, including those aforementioned and two fine Nalini originals (“The portrait On The Wall”, “After Dusk”). Festival highlight?
La chanteuse montréalaise Diane Nalini est montée sur scène avec son quartet, et, en deux mesures, a mis la place à ses genoux, aidée en cela par le jeu tout en douceurs de la pianiste Vanessa Rodrigues…Daniel Lemay
Just thinking about her range of talents leaves this mortal tired and somewhat in awe. And to top it off, she is really, really nice…Peter Robb
Seriously gifted… Diane Nalini is spoilt for talent.Karen van Rooyen
While some musicians might be struggling to come up with a concept for their next album, singer/songwriter Diane Nalini is trying to decide between two distinct approaches to her fourth disc. [Read full article here]Ashante Infantry
She’s Montreal’s gift to the UK jazz scene.Geoffrey Smith
Diane parle avec Stanley Péan de son concert explorant les liens entre Henri Salvador et la musique du Brésil
Michael Enright talks with jazz singer/songwriter Diane Nalini, and opera singers Isabel Bayrakdarian and Lauren Segal, about the links between science and music.
Diane parle avec Line Boily du festival "Shakespeare: Made in Canada" à Guelph, de l'analyse scientifique du tableau Sanders, et du projet "Songs of Sweet Fire"
Diane talks to Avril Benoit on Ontario Morning about her Shakespeare project "Songs of Sweet Fire"
Diane talks to Bernard St-Laurent, host of Montreal's "Homerun", about growing up in Montreal with dual passions for music and physics and setting poetry to music while studying in England.
Diane talks about the astronomical metaphors in “Kiss Me Like That”
“Songs from Outer Space,” Diane’s talk and performance at TEDx Dawson College