Diana Ross is all about living in the moment. In her first major interview in nearly a decade, the Queen of Motown glossed over the usual questions about her past and emphasized her immense joy for where her life is right now. Conveniently, that includes a six-week North American tour that marks her return to the relatively intimate Golden Gate Theatre for shows on Aug. 6 and 7. With her, the 69-year-old singer who once performed for nearly a half million people in New York’s Central Park brings a succession of pop hits spanning decades and genres, plus the fantastical outfits to match.
Q: How do you manage to keep the standards, such as “Where Did Our Love Go?” and “Baby Love,” fresh for yourself and different audiences?
A: Every time I do music from the early days or music like that, it’s just the song itself or the music itself – it has melody and it just resonates with all audiences. And when I’m performing it, they become like a brand-new song.
Q: Having become accustomed to performing in stadiums, do you enjoy the challenge of playing smaller rooms?
A: I’m very clear – it does not matter to me if I’m in a stadium with thousands of people or in a much smaller venue. My interaction is with the audience on a one-to-one. I always try to see their faces and try to see their eyes. I perform and sing to them.
Q: Looking back on your career, it seems as if you never did things simply for the money – you were always motivated by pushing things forward creatively. Do you still have the same relationship with your work?
A: I do what I do, No. 1, because I love it. I really, since I was a little girl, have always loved to sing and perform. The one thing I have never understood is searching for fame. You do the work that you do – and, by the way, I almost cannot call it work – you do what you do because you love it. Most musicians are all the same as this. They’re not doing what they do to become “famous.” I have said in the past, fame is not a career. Your career is to share of your God-given gift. That is the thing that makes you happy. We get a chance to perform our passion – to do the thing that we love.