Deana Martin is a world-class entertainer equally comfortable with a celebrated symphony at a legendary concert hall or on an intimate cabaret stage with a swinging jazz quintet. She’s a New York Times best-selling author, a gifted actor, a vocalist of incredible depth and passion and a licensed pilot. When talent is part of the family pedigree it can sometimes be difficult for an artist to forge an individual path, but Deana Martin has successfully navigated that tricky terrain.
Deana’s latest album, Destination Moon, is a loving homage to the Great American Songbook that features her distinctive take on such classics as “I Love Being Here With You” and “Beyond the Sea” as well as four new gems written for Deana, nestled among her longtime favorites. “Where Did You Learn to Love Like That,” “Stuck in a Dream With Me,” “Read Between the Lines” and “Paradise” are finely crafted new tunes that fit perfectly alongside the timeless hits on Destination Moon. The album closes with “True Love,” a duet with her father Dean Martin that demonstrates where Deana gets that talent for bringing a song to life.
“There is just something so timeless about these songs and they can be interpreted in many different ways. The words have meaning and the music can be a little complicated,” Deana says. “We have such a mix on this album. We have “G. I. Jive” by Johnny Mercer and “Stuck in a Dream with Me” that was written by my friends John Proulx and K.L. Dunham, and “Break It To Me Gently,” which I loved the minute I heard Brenda Lee sing it years ago. We’ve put all these different songs on this one album and they fit beautifully.”
Destination Moon is Deana’s fourth album, following her 2006 top ten hit CD Memories Are Made Of This, her acclaimed holiday collection, White Christmas, and Volare, which entered Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums chart at No. 22 and Billboard’s Heatseeker chart at No. 7. Deana brings her recorded repertoire to life with an engaging stage show that keeps the busy entertainer on the road 280 days a year performing in a variety of venues from major Las Vegas showrooms to intimate jazz clubs to symphony halls accompanied by some of the country’s most prestigious orchestras.
“The most important part is to feel the song and to connect with the audience,” Deana says of her approach to performing. “There are a lot of incredible singers out there with beautiful voices, but you have to be able to grab the audience and make them feel it. Hopefully that’s something that I have. There’s that feeling you get on stage. It’s just so great when you are up there and the music is just right and the audience is just right and you are singing a great song with a fabulous arrangement. There’s nothing better.”
It’s easy to see where Deana gets her passion for performing. Her father is among the world’s most iconic entertainers and has left a lasting legacy treasured by his family, friends and fans. As chronicled in her best-selling book, Memories Are Made of This-Dean Martin Through His Daughters Eyes, her father grew up in Steubenville, Ohio and worked hard to parlay his God-given talent into a multi-faceted career. His daughter has done the same. In addition to her acting and recording, Deana is a savvy businesswoman whose interest in health and fitness grew into the successful Bodies By Deana company, which spawned the top-selling workout video “The Deana Martin Total Body Workout.” She’s also a licensed pilot, radio show host, noted philanthropist and respected entrepreneur. Among the projects she’s most passionate about these days is seeing her book become a movie. Joe Mantegna is slated to direct the film with Jennifer Love Hewitt set to star as Deana. Actress/writer Bonnie Hunt is writing the screenplay. “My dad would always say ‘Deana, when you dream, dream big, because dreams do come true. There’s nothing you can’t do honey if you really set your mind to it and work hard.’ And that’s exactly what I do, because knowing that he believed in me has always given me the strength and determination to shoot for the moon … Destination Moon.”
Armed with an abundance of talent, a dedicated work ethic and a buoyant personality, Deana was determined to step out from her famous father’s shadow and launch her own successful entertainment career. Though she grew up learning from her dad’s legendary pals like Uncles Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis (who penned the foreword to her book), Deana also received a formal education from Dartington College of Arts in the United Kingdom. She’s amassed a wealth of stage experience including roles in Romeo & Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Six Rms Riv Vu and The Tunnel of Love. Her first major break was in the Neil Simon play The Star Spangled Girl. “I was staring in the National Touring Company with Jimmy Boyd and George Hamilton,” Deana recalls. “The play was a great success and it was a wonderful experience to work with such talented actors. I knew I was on my way.”
Deana’s acting career expanded into film with the 1968 western Young Billy Young co-starring Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson. Her movie career continued with staring roles in Strangers at Sunrise with George Montgomery and A Voice in the Night with Vitto Scotti. In addition to her work as an actress, Deana also signed a contract with Reprise Records and scored hits singles with the “Girl of the Month Club” and “When He Remembers Me” produced by Lee Hazelwood.
For many years, Deana’s recording career took a backseat to raising her son Mickey, but she continued keeping in contact with her devoted fans through live concerts around the globe. And they were thrilled when she returned to the recording studio with Memories Are Made of This in 2006. Deana has a beautiful, evocative voice that brings out the best in a song and she puts that amazing set of pipes to good use on Destination Moon. “We record the music at the Hit Factory in Miami because my arranger/conductor Charlie Calello and a lot of my favorite musicians live there. Then we go to Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA to lay down the vocals, do the mixing and mastering. It’s my favorite place to record because I get to work with my dear friend and brilliant engineer Al Schmitt. He’s the man with the golden ears and I believe he’s the greatest engineer on the planet.”
Destination Moon was produced by Deana’s husband John Griffeth, and they recorded the vocals in Studio A at the legendary Capitol Records in Los Angeles where her father recorded many of his best-loved hits. “You can feel the electricity in the air the moment you walk in,” Deana says. “I just feel cloaked with the energy of the great artists that recorded there before me. You can hear their voices as you walk down the hallways lined with huge black & white photographs. It gives me goose bumps walking by my dad, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin and Uncle Frank [Sinatra]. They’re all there. The first studio you come to is Studio A and that’s where everyone loves to record. When I was a very young girl, I remember sitting in Studio A with my mom, watching my dad record “Memories Are Made of This,” which became his first very #1 hit. Those are memories indeed that I will never forget.”
Returning to the famed Studio A as an artist in her own right was special to Deana. “It was an amazing feeling,” Deana says. “I was using my dad’s microphone, recording in the same studio and using his same chart. John found the original hand written Nelson Riddle arrangement of Cole Porter’s ‘True Love’. I was standing in the studio with my headphones on, listening to all the beautiful strings and then … my dad’s voice. I could barely sing it was so overwhelming. For me to record a song with my dad was an incredible highlight in my life and another dream come true. It was just perfect. A few minutes later we listened to the playback I was thrilled to hear how beautifully our voices blended together and how we sounded so much alike. It’s an unbelievable memory that I will carry with me forever.”
It’s the perfect close to an album by an artist who lovingly brings a contemporary freshness to a collection of songs that will forever stand the test of time, and it’s just the latest in an impressive discography that continues to grow. Martin has a passion for keeping alive the Great American Songbook and her smooth, silky voice combined with her passion for those classic lyrics and melodies make her the perfect torchbearer to keep these songs alive for today’s generation. Whether reviving “Mack the Knife” on her inimitable Volare album with verve and sass or sweetly crooning “Love Me Tender” on that same great album, Martin brings fresh life to popular music’s best-loved gems. On her holiday collection, White Christmas, Martin delivers a lively, elegant take on such timeless fare as “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Let It Snow! Let It Snow” Let It Snow!” Whether she’s serving up Christmas favorites or bringing her own distinctive style to her dad’s signature “Everybody Loves Somebody” on Memories Are Made of This, Martin is a superb stylist whose skill and charm bring out the best in every song she sings.
Like her esteemed father, Deana Martin loves to entertain people and she knows the power of a great song. She wields that power on stage as someone who has a true and abiding love for the music and respect for the legacy she carries on. Whether writing a best selling memoir, touring the world or working on a new record, Deana Martin approaches every endeavor with the same commitment to excellence and passion. She could easily rest on her laurels, but that’s not something she ever plans to do. “I love entertaining people,” she says. “It’s what I was born to do.”
Deana and her husband John Griffeth divide their time between Beverly Hills, CA and Branson, MO.