Diana Ross is a global entertainment icon, a legendary musical treasure whose music has, for decades, inspired romance, happiness and joy. For her new studio album, Ms. Ross has drawn inspiration from romantic songs that have touched her heart through the years, and she has dedicated the album to this most powerful universal emotion: love. I Love You, to be released by Manhattan/EMI in CD and deluxe CD/DVD packages and digitally on January 16, presents 14 songs personally selected for the album by Diana Ross in appreciation of their timeless, classic expressions of love and romance, including a brand new song, “I Love You (That’s All That Really Matters),” a gentle ballad that captures the emotion of romance.
The CD’s package includes stunning photos by Herb Ritts, Randee St. Nicholas and Douglas Kirkland and a letter to fans from Ms. Ross, who executive produced I Love You. The package also contains notes from the album’s co-executive producer, Marylata E. Jacob, a Grammy-nominated music supervisor and producer whose professional relationship with Ms. Ross spans 22 years, Peter Asher, who produced nine of the album’s tracks, and who has collaborated with Ms. Ross on many of her most cherished recordings, and the producer of five of the album’s tracks, Steve Tyrell, who has produced many recordings with Ms. Ross, including “Big Bad Love” with Ray Charles, and in 2005 produced her duet with Rod Stewart, “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” the lead single from Stewart’s Thanks For The Memory: The Great American Songbook I. I Love You’s deluxe edition adds a DVD with a photo gallery and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new album.
Beginning and closing with Harry Nilsson’s “Remember,” the song that inspired Ms. Ross’ vision for her new album, I Love You takes the listener on a vibrant journey through many of music’s most timeless and recognizable affirmations of love. All of the songs chosen for the album are important and meaningful to Ms. Ross, from the sweet bounce of “More Today Than Yesterday,” to the sultry allure of “I Want You,” a song first recorded by Marvin Gaye that was co-written by Ms. Ross’ brother, T-Boy Ross.
“We wanted to create the quintessential album to be played at celebrations of love and life: weddings, family gatherings, intimate moments,” explains Marylata Jacob. “I Love You is Diana’s personal offering to honor these celebrations of love, from the glance of your first true love, through the joy of children, and love everlasting.”
Recorded at multiple studios in Southern California, New York and London, I Love You features soaring orchestral arrangements to accompany the broad range and sensitivity of Ms. Ross’ vocals, one of the world’s most cherished musical instruments. The best players and singers from Los Angeles, New York and London were involved with the new album, and Ms. Ross attended every session, from the initial demos to tracking, overdubs and mixing.
“When I was in the studio, sharing these songs, I was filled with strong emotion,” says Ms. Ross. “These songs, these singers, these musicians and all my fans are a gift of love to me.” Says Peter Asher, who returns to working with Diana having produced her 1991 hit album, The Force Behind The Power, “I am proud that not only have Diana and I remained friends for 41 years, but that I have again been given the opportunity to work with her extraordinary voice in the studio. Her contribution in the studio was very significant, above and beyond her singing – itself seemingly unchanged by the passing years in its emotional intensity and brilliance, yet having gained a certain wisdom and clarity that makes you believe every word she sings. On this record she tells us an eternal story, and does so with ineffable brilliance and accuracy.”
“Remember” by Harry Nilsson inspired the album and its concept as Ms. Ross listened to it while reminiscing over her family’s photo albums. Its dreaminess conjures up memories of love and present feelings. Ms. Ross feels a connection to Nilsson’s work, as she has often performed songs from Nilsson’s acclaimed musical, “The Point,” in concert.
“More Today Than Yesterday” is a classic first performed by Spiral Starecase in the mid-1960s. Destined to be an audience favorite at Ms. Ross’ concerts, the song is also one of her favorites. Ms. Ross’ fun and bouncy new recording of the song is an inspired tribute to the joy of everlasting love.
“I Want You,” first recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1974, was co-written by Ms. Ross’ beloved brother, T-Boy Ross, with Leon Ware. Ms. Ross delivers a smoldering, sultry take on this track that honors the original while making it wholly her own.
“I Love You (That’s All That Really Matters)” is a new original song, a gorgeous, heartfelt ballad. The writer, Fred White, has been touring with Ms. Ross as a back-up singer for six years. His experience of her live persona and vocal range inspired this song, written specifically with Ms. Ross in mind. Ms. Ross fell in love with the song, saying, “To be loved for who you are is the deepest expression of the purest love, wholly selfless and spiritual.”
“What About Love” was written for Oprah Winfrey’s stage production of “The Color Purple.” The composers are Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. Ms. Ross’ relationship with Brenda Russell and her great friendship with Oprah inspired Ross’ interest in the soundtrack, and she selected this powerful and moving song of love.
“The Look of Love” - Ms. Ross captures all of its romance and anticipation. This classic song was written by two of the finest song writers of all time, Hal David and Burt Bacharach.
“Lovely Day” has a groove and a simple lyric that has universal appeal. “This song makes me dance,” Ms. Ross says. “Everyone wants a lovely day.” Written by Bill Withers.
“Take My Breath Away” is the decade’s quintessential love song. Ms. Ross adds her own signature style to it with her new recording. The original recording is by Berlin.
“Only You” - A new version decidedly Ms. Ross. Growing up in Detroit, listening to records while slow dancing under a single source of light was as close to heaven as it could get for Diana Ross, her own personal experience of young love.
“To Be Loved” was written by the legendary Berry Gordy, Jr. and was originally recorded by Jackie Wilson in 1958. It is the ultimate declaration of love, and Ms. Ross deftly balances the emotion of the song’s sensitive lyrics with an upbeat and boundless delivery.
“I Will” - Paul McCartney’s simplicity of lyric and song melody made it a welcomed song for the heart of I Love You. Ms. Ross’ sweet vocals and Peter Asher’s long history with the Beatles brought a lovely perspective of range and depth to the new recording.
“This Magic Moment,” originally recorded by the Drifters, is made brand new with Ms. Ross’ rendition. With its calypso-leaning arrangement and backing vocals, Ms. Ross’ new version really pops.
“You Are So Beautiful” - The song was chosen for its universal message of love and kindness. “It reaches out and speaks not only to lovers, but to relationships of all kinds, mother to child, child to grandparent, sister to sister, friend to friend,” says Ms. Ross.
“Always And Forever” was written by famed songwriter Rod Temperton and originally recorded by Heatwave. Ms. Ross brings her brilliant sensitivity and gorgeous vocal delivery to the timeless love song for a magical contemporary classic.
Closing the new album’s romantic journey is a reprise of the song that started it all, “Remember.”
“We must remember love in the past, nurture it in the present, and dream of it in the future,” says Ms. Ross.
With the release of I Love You, expect more of that unique magic from the first lady of soul and pop.