Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I started writing in the mid 80s when I was working as a legal assistant for my husband's law firm. That's when I discovered I liked to write. After that and in my spare time, I started writing poetry and I wrote some children's books. My first, Tale of a Christmas Angel (part of a Cat Detectives series), was published in 2000 and I had three other books published after that. I decided in 2005 to concentrate on music rather than writing the children's books because I couldn't physically do both. My first song I ever wrote 'Why'd You Go' I performed in 2005 when I was asked to open in concert for Willie Nelson. There were over 10,000 people there and I had never performed with a band before that time. It was a heady experience!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
The first time I opened for Wayne Newton in 2007, I was supposed to sing 10 songs for my set. At the end of the second to last song, Wayne told the promoter to get a message to me while I was on stage that Wayne wanted me to do two additional songs!
What has been the high point of your music path?
The high point of my music path was having my Christmas TV special broadcast three years in a row nationwide -- on Christmas Eve in major markets, with exceptional reviews. Since I wrote and performed five different songs in the TV special, plus the script, it felt wonderful to me that the show and the music was so well received.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I write my best in the morning. One time, I wrote a song 'With Trust Comes Peace' when it was snowing like crazy outside -- it was so beautiful and peaceful and the lyrics just poured out of me. 'With Trust Comes Peace' was considered for a Grammy but didn't get nominated. I like to just sit and think about what I want to write about and most the time, out it flows. Sometimes I've woken up with lyrics in my brain and I have to write them down quickly before I forget them.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge is being able to pay for access to television coverage and other media platforms to be able to compete with the big companies that get behind very few select artists. An example is the Super Bowl which gives incredible exposure to an artist but at a major cost -- the Super Bowl has charged artists millions of dollars to perform during the halftime show.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Paul McCartney. Why? He's a Beatle.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Practice, practice, practice. I practice at home, I know my lyrics, I sing about an hour and a half a night when preparing for a live performance. I then rehearse with my band. Fortunately, I have terrific, talented, gifted musicians I have performed with regularly so I usually only need 2 rehearsals with them before a show. I practice more with my background singers to insure perfect harmony.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I think the reggae song "You Take Me Up' that I cowrote with the Gap Band founder and platinum record selling artist Ronnie Wilson was the greatest challenge for me to write. I wrote all the lyrics and a lot of the melody. I wrote the rap, too. It was challenging because when I was recording the song with Ronnie in Las Vegas, he was such a perfectionist and such a great producer it was a lot of work. But boy oh boy, did I learn a lot from him. I will miss him dearly as he went to Heaven on November 2 of this year. He was my friend and a true musical genius.
What's coming up in the future?
I'm writing a screenplay right now of a children's movie with a world-wide global brand. I will be writing music for the movie.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
On my web site: www.darlaz.com
My Christmas TV special can be viewed here:
About Darla Z
Darla Z began her on-stage musical career in 2005, opening in concert for Willie Nelson. Since 2005, Darla Z has performed and headlined in Las Vegas numerous times, opened in concert for Wayne Newton in 2007, and starred in three nationally released network television specials filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, having prime time broadcasts throughout the U.S. She has performed successful benefit concerts for numerous charities, including Oklahoma City University, Pepper's Ranch Foster Care Community, the Oklahoma History Center, and Oklahoma Prevent Blindness.
Darla Z has also appeared in concert as the legendary Gap Band's special guest artist and recorded and co-wrote the music with the legendary platinum record producer/songwriter Ronnie Wilson. Among those who recognize Darla Z's vocals are extraordinary, is the internationally celebrity web site Radar Online who published this review of Darla Z's Love Songs Round the World television special stating,
"Acclaimed singer Darla Z... with yet another fantastic tv music special!"
John Avildsen, the famed Academy Award Winning Director of Rocky, wrote about Darla Z that "Darla's voice is nectar to the ears!" About Darla Z's appearance as special guest for The Gap Band, Ronnie Wilson, Founder of The Gap Band stated
"... Darla's unique vocals put her up there with the great ones…her show was phenomenal!"
Darla Z was featured three times on Radar Online's "Hot 100" list, being named No 1 on the list.
Learn More about Darla Z on their website
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