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Meet Dia DiCristino: Dia DiCristino was born and raised in Philadelphia. When she was fourteen years old she was accepted into the Girard Academic Music Program to study vocal performance for four years. After graduating, she attended Immaculata University and graduated with a BA in Music and Theology in 2004. Her documentary, The Year of the Cyst (which is about her multiple brain surgeries during 2003), should be completed and set to hit film festivals for 2007/2008. Right now Dia is promoting her debut CD entitled, After the Storm. It is available to buy on eBay and at Dia's website: http://diadesigns.com/cd.
Teachers and/or influences? My first vocal coach was Dolores Ferraro at Immaculata University. Since then, I have been studying with Wynford Evans in London. I have many influences, which include Ella Fitzgerald, Maria Callas, Frank Sinatra, Ruth Etting, Doris Day, Liza with a Z, and many more.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... While studying at the Girard Academic Music Program in Philadelphia, I realized I wanted singing to be my life. This is where I went to high school and pretty much where I learned to read music. I was not the "star" of the school by any means, and I really had to prove I was talented to my teachers...in the end I was given the Alto Award (which meant so much to me) two years in a row.
Your sound and approach to music: I have had a classical upbringing when it comes to technique, so I take that and mix it together with my influences.
Your teaching approach: I don't consider myself to be a teacher of voice, yet. My only words of advice would be to let your voice be free...don't force yourself to sing, don't strain, don't imitate, just be yourself...to the trained musician's ear, these things stand out.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? My favorite recording is a song called "White Nocturne," by Paul Norduff. It is a bittersweet composition both in lyrics and melody. It reminds me of the good and bad in life, but how I can be happy when the bad surrounds me.
Did you know... That I had eleven brain surgeries...and that there is an entire documentary about it called The Year of the Cyst...check it out on YouTube.
How do you use the internet to help your career? I am into MySpace. I am promoting myself to the best of my ability on that website. I have my own website which talks about my recordings and also about more personal things. You can find me at http://myspace.com/diathemezzo or http://www.diadicristino.com.
CDs you are listening to now: Rufus Wainwright, Release the Stars (Geffen); Billy Joel, 12 Gardens Live (Columbia); William Finn, A New Brain the Musical (RCA); and so many more...
What is in the near future? I hope to keep promoting my new CD, After the Storm, to start selling downloads on iTunes, and on AAJ. I would love to set up a tour, but would want to put together the best trio possible. I want to start working on a Cole Porter/Jerome Kern project which may turn into a CD...we will see...
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.