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Artist Q&A: Darlene Love

ArtistQ&A
Darlene Love was born in Los Angeles, California and has loved to sing since she was three or four. By 13 she was singing loudly in her church choir and at 15 joined St. Paul Baptist Church Choir. While still in high school she joined girl group The Blossoms who worked with prominent producer Phil Spector.
 
While many of her songs were credited at the time to The Crystals, Love has proceeded to make a name for herself and become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
 
Before she arrives at the Center for a Dec. 2 holiday performance, Love took time to answer a few questions in this Artist Q&A!
 
Tell us a little about yourself that we might not know.
I’m addicted to old Western movies, weekend movie dates with my husband and butter-with-popcorn.
I’m also a lifetime gym rat, a habit which was probably influenced by my 3 brothers, whose love for basketball, football, tennis and tracks, rubbed off on me.
 
What first made you interested in music?
My interest in music was undeniably influenced by a strong foundation in the church (my Dad’s church), and choir…then came the rock and roll bug!
 
Your career, with all of its ups and downs, is fascinating. What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment?
By far, my induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after two unsuccessful nominations. It was validation that almost 50 years of consistent, hard work, my peers and industry advocates accepted me as a ‘journeyman’!

What about your biggest struggle?
Creating my own identity, because my biggest records were released under the name of The Crystals.

You are very recognizable from your annual visits to David Letterman to sing “Christmas Baby Please Come Home” How did that gig originate?
Alan Pepper, co-owner of the Historic Bottom Line in Greenwich Village (now closed), hired me to sing a few Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry songs which I recorded for Phil Spector in the early sixties, in the Off-Broadway play, Leader Of The Pack.
That was in the early 80’s, and Paul Shafer had recently become Letterman’s musical director on NBC.
Paul played Spector in the show and David heard ‘Christmas Baby’ for the first time, when he came to see the show. The following night he asked Paul to have me perform “the greatest Christmas Song he ever heard” that year, and for the next 29 years on The Letterman Show, at Christmas time.

But people might also know you from the Lethal Weapon movies. How did acting come about?
I owe the casting agent an eternal apology, for not remembering his name (hope he is still the fan he was), because he submitted my name for the role.  Miraculously, I was invited to lunch with one of the directors, Richard Donner, who also happened to be a fan. That lunch meeting was my audition, and I was chosen to play (Trish Murtaugh) in all four Lethal Weapon movies.

Finish this sentence: My favorite holiday song to sing is… Silent Night, (a close ‘clinch’ over Christmas Baby & Van Zandt’s, All Alone On Christmas), because the words connect deeply with the core of my spiritual values. It creates the essence of that moment when Christmas began.
 
Finish this sentence: When I visit a new city on tour the first thing I like to do is… Find out from the theater crew where the best eatery is, and if time permits, treat my team to early dinner.
 
Finish this sentence: I’m most excited to visit Appleton because I hear…that it is where Harry Houdini’s grew up. He was the only magician whose ‘tricks’ I cannot explain.
 
What can people expect when they come to the show?
I want everyone to know that I appreciate the opportunity to spend an evening with them, and invite all to sing along, dance, and have a good time. By evening’s end, everyone will feel like we have been, and will become special friends, for the rest of our lives.   
 
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