Gifted, talented, extraordinary! These are just a few of the enthusiastic cheers regularly raised for Diana Ross, one of the most notable women of the popular music spectrum of the late 20th century. In fact, the recording star and performer, Diana Ross, was named “The most successful female performer of all time,” with 70 career hit single records, by The Guinness Book of Records.
From her earliest moments of recording with one of the most memorable queries of them all, “Where Did Our Love Go?,” she and her fellow Supremes returned to the number one chart position again and again. As a member of the group and as a solo performer, Ross has found herself in the very top spot a total of 18 times! And out of the house of Motown in Detroit, came not only a superbly talented singer and recording artist, but a highly productive business woman as well. Hers is a career that lends dramatic proof to the idea that making records can lead to almost any number of new directions and career high spots.
After nearly 20 years of her association with the Motown interests, Ms. Ross in 1980, signed a multi-million dollar deal to record for RCA Records, under which she would produce her own recordings. Her initial RCA release, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” became an instant smash, promptly reaching number one on the charts.
Nine years later, in 1989, Ross returned to Motown Records, this time not only as recording artist but as equity partner in the company as well. At the time, Motown president Jheryl Busby declared, “We are thrilled to have her input on the operating committee of the company. She is sensitive to the needs of artists. The arrangement is a rarity and a privilege for us all.”
But the Ross talent extends far beyond her mastery, as both artist and producer, in the recording studio. She has also proven to be an extremely skilled actress, winning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues.” She has also starred in the popular films, “Mahogany” and ‘The Wiz.”
In 1994, she made her dramatic television debut in “Out of Darkness,” and garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts. She also served as executive producer for the production, as she also did for her five most recent television specials.
In 1992, Ross once again proved her versatility in her production of the live pay-per-view show, “The Lady Sings Jazz and Blues - Stolen Moments,” which also became a CD, a home video and a Disney musical special.
Ross continues, despite these time-consuming ventures, to tour the world with her music, in many parts of which she reigns like a music empress. In Japan she has been one of the best- selling foreign artists for the past decade. In January 1996 she was co-producer and star performer in the half-time show for Super Bowl XXX. She is also the proud owner of The Soul Train Legend Award, the French Commander des Arts and Lettres Medal, and was honored with an entire day of celebration at the international MIDEM music festival in Cannes, the only woman feted in the 25-year history of the event.
Another major highlight of her amazing career was her appearance for “Christmas in Vienna,” in 1992 with two of the world’s greatest tenors, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. The three performed a special concert which was seen around the world and led to a number one CD on the classical charts.
In addition to the many awards and accolades that have come her way, Diana Ross has also been a champion in the battle to make the world a better place, especially for children. She was national spokesperson for National Children’s Day, for which she testified before Congress. She is also on the board of A Better Chance, the only national program that recruits and places academically talented inner city children in the nation’s best preparatory schools. She has also raised millions of dollars for the numerous charities to which she has lent her name.