Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

3. Diana RossDiana

I grew up on Diana Ross and I loved Chic when I was a kid. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote the songs for the Diana album and I think it is incredible. It’s very corny in places and quite schmaltzy, but it’s got a certain magic to it. I also think the cover is gorgeous – she looks incredible, with her wet hair, t-shirt and little nipples pointing out. I know she redid the album after Nile and Bernard had written it and a number of the tracks were speeded up.

Did someone like Diana Ross influence your own vocal style?

Diana Ross was effectively my singing teacher. My mum would play her records all the time and that’s what I sang along to – so that’s basically the only singing teacher I’ve ever had. I’ve never been to singing lessons, but the only vocal education I’ve had have been through listening to people like Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and I tried to emulate what they did. After a while, after listening to so many different people, I began to develop my own vocal style.

Sadly, Diana gave me a really dirty look once which was really upsetting. She was in the first row at the Grammys and I was about to present an award or sing a song, I can’t remember exactly which. I had to walk in front of her seat and I looked at her – and I must have looked like a fucking idiot – and she just looked me up and down and I though ‘oh well, you can’t win them all – I’ve spent my whole life loving you and you’ve just dissed me.’

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