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Monday, December 14, 2015

Exclusive Q&A with Diana Ross "Reflections" Biographer Ian Phillips

    Although Ian Phillips' Diana Ross: Reflections is an unauthorized bio about the superstar diva, it is factual and not at all gossipy or salacious. We did this Q&A together so he can tell you all about it. It is available in hardcover, paperback and on e-book formats at Amazon.

    Buddy Beaverhausen: Let's talk about your book Dian Ross: Reflections, and what motivated you to write it.
    Ian Phillips: I've been a fan since the age of three years old! Some find that hard to believe, but in the early '80s, my mum had a huge collection of Motown on vinyl and quite a few Diana Ross/Supremes LP's and the very first song I vividly recall hearing and loving was 'Stop! In The Name Of Love', and from thereon, I was hooked! My motivation in writing the book was out of a lifetime of love for Ms. Ross, my respect and admiration for her talent and body of work and also as seldom a book has actually concentrated on her actual WORK, her groundbreaking achievements in her career and revolutinary cultural impact as a black artist, paving the way for so many artists that came after her. Of course, I'm not the first and only person to acknowledge that, but I think that her work has sometimes been overshadowed in the media by hearsay and gossip, the so-called diva image that the press likes to dwell on. First and foremost, it's her work and achievements as an artist that has made her a legend in her own time and that's what we should all be talking about.

    BB: What really fascinated you about your subject in this case?
    IP: I think like all her fans, she remains a fascinating artist to me as there really is no one else like her. She has a very unique voice and a mystique that are completely her own. I guess some of the bad press she has gotten over the years has made all her fans become even more supportive of her.

    BB:What sets your book apart from others on the same subject?
    IP: Well firstly I don't compare my work to anybody else's. Every writer has their own way of telling a story or expressing an opinion, but it really all goes back to what I said about this being really the first book to actually chronicle each and every one of her albums in full, to talk about the creative process behind the recordings, to list each track and review in detail, which I hope is a nice surprise for fans. I also loved writing about her films - especially Lady Sings The Blues, which has to be my favourite DR film - in fact my favourite film of all time.

    BB: What other books have you written prior to this one?
    IP: My previous book was also on Diana Ross with a similar concept but to cut a long story short, I had a hell of a time with my first publisher as they mucked so many things up in the book, kept me waiting nearly four years to actually publish and in the end I decided to withdraw my contract - which they threatened legal action against - but I found out that they had broken several clauses in the contract, not least by the ridiculous amount of time they waited to publish it. So Diana Ross Reflections is a re-working of the first one, though is twice in length now as I wanted to expand on the details and give it more depth which it seriously lacked in the first book - so, in that, it's all been a blessing in disguise. I have a totally different book coming out early in the new year, which takes a look at the UK Skinhead culture and have one planned on Kylie Minogue, which, all being well, will be done and released late next year.
    BB:Will we find any juicy gossip or scandalous stuff in the book?
    IP: Nope. I think Ms. Ross has had enough scandal and gossip written about her, and like I said, I think it's overshadowed her actual work. There have been similar kinds of books written about the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, so I thought it was way overdue that Diana Ross have this kind of book out there. It's for those that are interested in her work, her artistry, her many career achievements. You won't find any dirt in my book as that's not what I'm about. Ms. Ross deserves respect for all that she's achieved and done in her life so I didn't want any negativity and as such fans have loved the book for that very reason. It really tells you why she is the legend she is today. I'm sure some will find that boring but, like I said, it's written for people who have an interest in her music, films and long career.

    BB: Some might ask how your book, being unauthorized, can be trusted in its account?
    IP: Well, in trust, I think I keep my opinions objective, the facts are often counterpointed by using quotes from those that worked with her, but again there is nothing controversial or any hidden agendas in the book; I wanted to evaluate and celebrate her 50 + year career so I don't think there's anything that might leave the reader wondering whether its true or not as there's nothing untoward written.

    BB: Have you read Mary Wilson's memoir, My Life as a Supreme and, if so, what did you think of her unflattering portrait of Miss Ross?
    IP: I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms.Wilson when she was touring in the UK. All I'll say is what Ms. Wilson said: It was only the business side of things that came between them and an alleged quote from Ms. Ross is - which I agree with - the word business in show business is no accident. They are both fine with each other today and the past is past. They were all very young girls at the time and have all grown up. That's all I want to say on that.

    BB: Diana has a large gay fan base. Anything you'd like to say to her LGBT readers here?
    IP: She sure does have a huge LGBT fan base but that's not her entire audience. Global icon is a more fitting way to describe Ms. Ross and the book wasn't written with just her gay audience in mind - I say that as a gay man myself so as not to be misconstrued - and I hope all will find the stories about her body of work interesting, as well as the accompanying visuals.
    BB; What's your favorite Diana song?
    IP: Ohhhh... now I'm always being asked that and it's a difficult one as there are so many.....maybe at a push 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' but I have so many favourites.

    BB: Would you recommend your book as a holiday present?
    IP: Well, I'd like to think so, for fans of Diana Ross of course.
    BB: Any last words for our readers?
    IP: Just thank you for reading, thank you to all the support out there - the people who supplied some of the beautiful photographs which include Ernie Florence, Dani E. Chandler, Fred Rimando, Carolin Kayser and the late Al Abrams who was Motown's first ever publicist. Mr Abrams also wrote a lovely foreword for the book as did legendary Motown songwriter Janie Bradford. There's also Pam Sawyer, Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence I'd like to thank here too, for their wonderful stories they shared with me about working with Ms. Ross. Couldn't have done it without all of your help guys, and of course Teddie Dahlin, owner of the publisher New Haven Publishing, for believing in the project and wanting to actually publish. It's been a great journey and I hope I've done Ms. Ross proud.

    6 comments:

    1. Nice interview!
      Stephanie

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    3. This was a great read! Thank you Ian and you too Buddy!

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    4. Excellent interview and Ian , you handled it with class.

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    5. Excellent interview and Ian , you handled it with class.

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