Monday, August 17, 2015

Indie Ville TV #55 The Life of Black Diamond

Written by Curtis Gardner

What were your early experiences with music? Do you come from a family that has background in music?

**As a kid, I remember music being all around me. At home, in school, at church and even on street corners. Although my family members are all musically gifted, none of them chose to take it to the dramatic level that I have.

What genres of music and artists influenced you the most?

**I grew up listening mostly to R&B as well as Gospel music, so I'd say those styles affected and severely impacted me positively. Also, I was a big Disco fan during my teenage years and Donna Summer was a major influence on me for sure. Eventually, at about 15, I finally entered the Neil Diamond camp.

What enticed you to become a musician?

**Knowing that music has such power and transcends all boundaries, uniting individuals as well as eclectic groups of people, was very appealing to me. Of course, being bathed in audience applause always feels warm and good too! So you could say all of the above lured me to the entertainment field.

Do you remember your first ever gig or show? What was that like? We're you nervous?

**My first gig happened in 1999, before I was officially the Black Diamond, in a little Charleston (WV) bar-b-que restaurant where nervously, I sang to backing tracks from a cassette tape on a boom box. I remember being stunned at the favorable response my performance was garnering. I believed the fans might have second thoughts at any moment and walk out, but that never happened. In fact, I received a standing ovation, which was amazing and immediately solidified my addiction to the stage.

How would you describe your music to a first time listener or a potential fan?

**To the Black Diamond newbie, I'd say the music is tried and proven, given that Neil Diamond has already perfected the formula. My invitation would be to come prepared for a deep, meaningful, moving, touching and fun-all rolled up in one package-experience, done my way.

What are your plans for the rest of the calendar year? Are there anymore releases or shows coming soon?

**Sept 7, 2015, marks fifteen years that the Black Diamond Experience has been around; hence, I plan to celebrate the milestone with several shows all over the country. One [that] I'm especially looking forward to is returning to Columbia, Missouri, where I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and [where I am] being inducted into the institution's Hall of Fame on September 25th as the first member of my particular class given the honor. That gig will be magical and surreal, I'm pretty sure.

How can the public find your music and online via websites and social media?

**It's funny that I entered the social media world kicking & screaming years ago because now the Black Diamond Experience internet presence is ubiquitous. Please find me, my singing, videos [and] images here:;;; The website

Any final words?

**When the show was first "born," I hadn't any idea how or if it would find a place in this world. Yet, it's taken me to altitudes I never dreamed of. Places like Jimmy Kimmel Live, the National Examiner, in front of a symphony orchestra as well as to perform for nationally prominent political dignitaries. I've opened for or shared billing with veteran artists including the Pointer Sisters, Brad Paisley, Three Dog Night, The Village People and others. It's taken me to cool locations all over the US and my life was even captured by an author in a published book called Black Diamond: The Real Illusion, a fourteen chapter biography of my journey. Even with the ups & downs of this business we call "Show," it, in a word, has been a truly wild, wonderful ride this far and I hope it continues being just that for both the fans and me!

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