Diana Ross is a national treasure.

One of the most successful solo artists of all time, her remarkable career has spanned six decades and included 12 Grammy Award nominations, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes, a recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for her performance in “Lady Sings The Blues.”

 

The Guinness Book of World Records honored Ross as the most successful female music artist in history with a career total of 70 hit singles.

In March this year, the singer, actress and producer turns 75. To celebrate, she’s embarked on a year-long Diamond Diana Celebration, which includes a tour, with a Jan. 13 stop in Savannah, and a special presentation of “Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy,” and “Diana Ross: Live in Central Park,” a two-day theatrical Fathom Event set to be released on her March 26 birthday.

Ross was born in Detroit, Mich., in 1944. She grew up down the street from the legendary Smokey Robinson in the heart of what would become known as Motown. She began singing in a sister group to the Primes, the Primettes at 16. The Primes would later evolve into The Temptations, and the Primettes became the Supremes, two of the most successful Motown Records groups and hallmarks of the period of R&B.

The Supremes is one of the best-selling female groups of all time with 12 No. 1 hit singles. Ross left the group in 1970 to embark on a solo career. Her debut solo album struck gold with hits “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Ross continued on to set records in the music industry and rack up hit after hit. She ventured into television and movies, toured and recorded over 20 studio albums. Ross has become an icon in American pop culture, and one of the most celebrated singers of all time.

 

Here is Do Savannah’s email interview with Diana Ross:

Do: Your career, really the first of its kind, paved the wave for artists like Beyonce. How does it feel to see younger artists follow in your footsteps?

Ross: "Hopefully I've said and done good things that inspire others. I know there are some wonderful artists in the industry who are going to be here for some time. I feel in a sense that I have been a trailblazer for some and that feels good."

Do: You are releasing a special theatrical showing of the Live in Central Park concert in March. Why was that a particularly memorable show for you?

Ross: "When I ran on stage in Central Park, I was stepping into a dream. I picked the dream, the goal and then imagined all the details. Then I knew it would happen. In the rain, I saw people helping one another. When adversity can be turned into a positive thing, it's a beautiful experience. It really was an exciting moment. I'm looking forward to the release of this landmark moment that can now be enjoyed by all generations."

Do: After so many years of touring and performing live, do you still get nervous before you go on stage? Is it still thrilling to perform live?

Ross: "I just let go of the fear. I'm reminded every day to come from my heart space. I know that I love being here. And it is a joy to share these moments with the audiences."

Do: Is there a particular song, or songs, that you still really love performing live?

Ross: "There are so many great songs that bring so many memories for me and the audience. I love watching the audience move their bodies and sing along. I tell them, when you're watching me, I'm also watching you. There's something special about "Ain't No Mountain High Enough;" that song really lifts everyone's spirits. It's amazing what happens."

Do: Are there particular moments over your storied career that are special highlights for you personally?

ROSS: "So many happy memories and moments. I've had so many blessings in my life. It's been an incredible journey. But the concert in Central Park was really a peak experience in my life and career. The performance was a big success. We all left there on the second day after the rain in the sunshine, feeling happy and complete."

Do: What does your current tour setlist look like? Is there a mix from all the decades?

Ross: "The music is still so alive now. I've never stopped doing the songs from early days on stage and the many hits over the years. One thing is for sure, we will have fun and it's all about love."