By Will Fifield
JUST AS IT’S TOUGH to explain what makes jazz who encouraged her to begin singing while she
such a beautiful art form, it’s hard to nail down honed her instrumental skills. She later relocated to
exactly what works so well when Diana Krall sings Toronto and studied with Don Thompson, another
and plays the piano. So many complicated musical jazz pianist. In 1990 she moved to New York to work
elements meld fluidly in her stunning interpreta- on Stepping Out, her 1993 debut album.
tions of jazz standards. Since then, Krall has been one of the freshest,
Krall’s love of music comes naturally, as she was most vibrant voices in jazz and popular music. She
born into a musically inclined family in Nanaimo, has earned eight Juno and two Grammy awards, as
British Columbia, in1964. She beganlearningpiano well as a host of devoted fans. Her 1999 album,
when she was 4 years old, and her emerging talent When I Look in Your Eyes, was the first jazz album to
was always nurtured. At 15 she landed her first pro- be nominated for Best Album of the Year at the
fessional job, playing piano at a local restaurant, and Grammys in more than 20 years. She’s critically
began playing in her high school jazz band. acclaimed and commercially successful, having sold
When she was 17, Krall won a Vancouver Jazz more than 8 million CDs and DVDs.
Fest scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music In addition to the demands of her burgeoning
in Boston. After she’d spent a year and a half at the career, Krall married British rock musician Elvis
college, renowned jazz bassist Ray Brown and drum- Costello in 2003 and in December 2006 became the
mer Jeff Hamilton heard her perform in Nanaimo. mother of twin boys, Dexter Henry Lorcan and
They were so impressed that they urged her to move Frank Harlan James.
to Los Angeles and study jazz music. Krall recently telephoned The Costco Connection
She followed their advice and relocated to Los on a break during a tour to discuss her life, love of
Angeles to study with jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles, music and career.
The Costco Connection: How has parenthood DK: No. I had written before, but nothing that per-
affected your career? sonal. I was really open to him helping me do that
Diana Krall: When you become a parent, your which I couldn’t. I was working with Elvis Costello,
priorities change. You don’t have time for a lot of you know? It worked really well. We worked at the
[distractions]. I’m in the best time in my whole life piano in our cabin on Vancouver Island.
now. I enjoy my babies and my husband. They are
the important things now. CC: I’ve read that when you were younger you were
eager to leave your hometown of Nanaimo. How do
CC: Since you and Elvis are both active musicians, you feel about the area now?
how do you blend family life with work? DK: When you’re young you want to go see what else
DK: It’s really hard. We both understand what it is out there in the world. Now I love being on
takes to do what we do for a living, and we give each Vancouver Island. Of all the places I’ve travelled, I still
other that room. We travel together as a family when feel it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Even
we can, but there’s also a reason for our work. It’s though I love being in New York and big cities and
not like we’re asking ourselves, “What am I doing living the wonderful life I live, I still need to go home
this for? So I can go to the next hotel room?” Now and walk in the woods and be in the mountains.
[I work] so I can have something to give to my
children. I’ve always enjoyed my work, but having CC: Both of your parents played keyboards, right?
children and family makes it even more rewarding. In what contexts did they play?
DK: Mother played piano in church and my father
CC: On your 2004 recording, The Girl in the Other played jazz, an older style of jazz. I inherited a love
Room, you co-wrote original material with your of music from them. I got jazz from my dad and A
husband. Since writing is somewhat new for you, Prairie Home Companion from my mom. I’m a big
was it a difficult process? fan of Garrison Keillor. I grew up listening to Prairie