- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

NEW YORK

Between a new album, an upcoming tour, a record she’s producing for Barbra Streisand, her marriage to Elvis Costello and 2-year-old twin boys, it’s hard to imagine Diana Krall can relax these days. But her hectic juggling has led to what the jazz artist calls the most blissful time in her life. No longer singularly career-driven, Miss Krall, at 44, says she finally has found the elusive balance between personal and professional.

“I’m just doing better work because I’m more relaxed - you don’t have too much time to obsesses or worry,” Miss Krall says during a recent interview to promote her just-released CD, the bossa-nova-inflected “Quiet Nights,” inspired by stirring performances she did in Brazil a year ago.

“That’s why I like this record so much, because it was so easy and I enjoyed it so much. It’s not my only thing,” the Grammy-winner says. “I don’t know if you can have it all … [but] I think I’m living beyond my wildest dreams.”

Her longtime producer, Tommy LiPuma, sees a newfound confidence and exuberance in Miss Krall, not only as a person, but as a performer. While he credits that partly to her growing veteran status - “There’s this overall thing that comes with time and experience”- he also sees the enormous impact of her family.

“I’m sure that her life and how positive it’s been and what a great relationship [she] and Elvis have - and she’s got two beautiful boys - and all of that I think is great,” he says.

Though her onstage persona is cool and sultry, the Canadian-born Miss Krall, is warm, giggly and gregarious as she stretches out in a swanky hotel in New York City’s Lower East Side.

Miss Krall, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with Mr. Costello and their two sons, Dexter and Frank, shows off photos of her children from her phone, talks of date nights with Mr. Costello and gushes about President Obama and wife Michelle after her performance recently at the White House for a tribute to Stevie Wonder.

Miss Krall’s boys are the focal point now. Yet she admits to not really attending much to her personal life in the early years of her recording career, when she was transforming from a promising young jazz singer and pianist into a crossover platinum sensation.

In those days, she remained focused on performing and also caring for her mother, Adella, who had bone cancer and whose death in 2002 Miss Krall describes as “the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

A year later, she found a different kind of love with Mr. Costello, but she credits close friend Elton John with reminding her that the biological clock was ticking.

“He says, ‘Diana, you’re 39 - you’re going to be 40. You better start thinking about having kids,’ and I went, ‘Right -.’ But usually, you’d have a parent, your mom would tell you that,” she says.

When children soon followed, “the lights kind of went … ‘Oh, I feel my mother back in me,’ ” she says.

Miss Krall took her twins on the road for her 2007 tour and plans to do so again when she starts her “Quiet Nights” tour this spring. She counts herself among the blessed working mothers, with two nannies, a sister to pitch in and an entire band that has become a second family.

She also gives full credit to the other entertainer in the household.

“We’re equal parents. He’s home with them now in Vancouver, and he looks after them when I have to go to Washington to play for the president,” she says, laughing.

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