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Diana Ross

1944 -

Origin: United States

Main instrument: Vocal

Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B/Soul/Funk

With a career spanning almost five decades, Diana Ross has won a special place in the pantheon of American music, proving there ain’t no mountain high enough. A stellar performer, showbiz icon and irreplaceable figure on the landscape of 20th century popular culture, she boasts an impressive repertoire that bridges R&B, soul, pop, disco and jazz. From her debut as lead singer of the Supremes to her enviable solo career, her incredible achievements include 100 million albums sold, 18 #1 hits, 8 American Music Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Festival’s 2014 Ella Fitzgerald Award.

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Born March 26, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan, Diana Ross was just 16 when she signed with Berry Gordy’s Motown Records on January 15, 1961, with the ladies who would become The Supremes: Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, briefly accompanied, in turn, by Betty McGlown-Travis and Barbara Martin.

Her avalanche of success began in 1964 with the single Where Did Our Love Go, selling over two million copies, from the album of the same name that also spawned the hits Baby Love and Come See About Me. The group would hit #1 on the charts 11 more times with smashes including Stop! in the Name of Love, Back In My Arms Again, I Hear a Symphony, You Can't Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hangin' On, Love Child and Someday We’ll Be Together (1969).

Increasingly seen as the dominant figure in the group, renamed Diana Ross & the Supremes in 1967, the singer launched a solo career in 1969. From her first album Diana Ross(1970) to The Boss (1979), she ruled the ’70s with hits like Reach Out & Touch (Somebody's Hand), Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Touch Me in the Morning (1973) and 1976 disco smash Love Hangover. She would share the mic with collaborators including Marvin Gaye, recording an album of duets in 1973, and Michael Jackson, whom she helped bring to notice with Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five in 1969, and who would go on to write Muscles (1982) and co-write Eaten Alive (1985).

Her success extended to the silver screen, playing Billie Holiday in the film Lady Sings the Blues in 1972, earning her an Oscar nomination. She would further display her talents in Mahogany (1975), a film by Berry Gordy, featuring yet another hit in theme song Do You Know Where You're Going To, and The Wiz (1978). The singer hit the ’80s at full speed with Diana (1980) and its hits Upside Down and I'm Coming Out. Her subsequent work reaches from Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1981) to I Love You (2006) and includes Red Hot Rhythm and Blues (1987) and Take Me Higher (1995), with Ross collecting numerous prizes celebrating her career oeuvre, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. She performed at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal for the first time in 2014, delivering a memorable concert to a euphoric Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier crowd, and was presented with the 2014 Ella Fitzgerald Award.

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