Diana DeGarmo rose to fame in 2004 when she was crowned 'Runner Up' on FOX's American Idol Season 3. Since her days on American Idol, Diana has undoubtedly been quite busy! She went onto write music and release an alubum. She then took the Great White Way by storm by starring in hit musical sensations such as Hairspray (Penny Pingleton) and most notably, HAIR (Sheila). In 2013 she married her husband Ace Young (American Idol Season 7) who she met while doing HAIR! Now after a year on the road in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator) she is starring in a new independent LGBT romantic comedy film called Alto. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with RyeTheNewsGuy.com and talk about the film which will be released tomorrow! (August 11th, 2015)
Can you tell us a little bit more about the film Alto, how was it conceived, and little bit more about Frankie and who she is?
Alto is a story about family, history, and rising above stereotypes and preconceived notions with love and acceptance. Frankie is a young woman who thinks she has it all together but in reality is still searching for herself and what really makes her happy. She has spent her whole life doing what she believes is "right" and finally gains the courage, knowledge, and forgiveness, of herself and others, to be who she truly wants to be.
Frankie and Nicolette end up falling for one and other after Frankie finds the dead body in the car. Do you think that deep down inside of Frankie was really attracted to women, but she was forced to keep it under wraps, or do you think this just happened to be a matter of fate?
I believe the relationship between Frankie and Nicolette is a romantic twist of fate. Yes, Frankie loves her fiancé, Tony, but their love had changed and their journeys were moving in different directions. They were half-heartedly going through the motions of what they were expected to do, but Frankie's unexpected friendship with Nicolette lights a fire within her that she cannot deny. You can't fight fate!
What do you think Frankie's biggest strengths and weaknesses are?
Most of Frankie's strengths and her weaknesses begin with her deep pride and love for her Italian-American heritage and family. If you are family, she believes you can do no wrong and sometimes that naivety hurts her more than helps her. But she is smart and straight-forward, like any good Italian woman, and loves with all of her heart.
From Left: Natalie Knepp (Nicolette) and Diana DeGarmo (Frankie) in 'Alto'. Photo Credit: Cinema Libre Studio.
Do you feel that this movie came at a good time with the passing of Marriage Equality?
It did seem very serendipitous that Alto's release happened around the same time as the SCOTUS ruling on Marriage Equality. As a married woman myself, I am overjoyed that all of my brothers and sisters can feel the same unity and respect that my husband and I share.
You were runner up on Season 3 of American Idol. How do you feel about American Idol going into it's final season? Any word if you will be making an appearance?
Nowadays it's shocking for a show to make it past one season, so for American Idol to have come up on 15, it is a fantastic accomplishment. All good things must come to an end, but I am very happy that American Idol has been a significant part of my life and career.
The soundtrack to "Alto" has original songs written and sung by you, with help from rock band Antigone Rising. Also on the album is your husband Ace Young (American Idol Season 7), how does it feel to be able to work on another project with him?
My husband and I love working together, but we just call that everyday life! We are always coming up with song ideas for ourselves, other people and projects. You never know when or where you might use them so we have quite a catalog building! Ace was more than happy to contribute a song to the Alto soundtrack. It's not something we set out to do in the beginning of the filming process, it just all fell into place. Working with Marilyn D'Amato, NiNi Camps and the ladies of Antigone Rising was also a blast. They are incredibly talented and so openly creative. They allowed me to put my own personality, and Frankie's, into the music.
You just finished touring across the country in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as The Narrator. What was that experience like touring across the country, doing the show, and once again working with your husband who was the star of the show? Did you have a favorite city?
Touring around the country with "Joseph" wasn't always as glamorous as one would think but thanks to my husband, an absolutely lovely cast and crew, and our wiener dog, Rosie, we had a whole lot of fun! We were in every single one of the 323 performances at every venue, in every city. Seeing the country from that vantage point was incredibly unique. It would be hard to pick a favorite, but some cities we were surprised by were Fayetteville, Arkansas, Des Moines, Iowa, and Buffalo, New York - just to name a few.
Can we expect to see you back on Broadway soon?
I definitely hope to be back on Broadway soon. Life doesn't ever have a definite time line, but I have enjoyed my summer with my husband at our new home in Nashville and we are both ready to get creative again!
What is coming up up next for you, Diana?
After enjoying some much needed R&R, I am getting back in the studio to work on a new album. I hope for it to be released early next year. I have been chewing at the bit to get back into the studio since I have gotten off the road with "Joseph" and I now feel rested and ready.
What is the best advice you can give to aspiring artists who want to do what you do?
My best advice would be: always be open to learn and try new things. Auditions, open mic nights, acting classes, writing songs, learning instruments, camps, standup groups, art lessons, every experience, memory, adventure, loss, and gain help your craft. If you find yourself, you will find your passion, and through your passion will create your life.
Thank you so much Diana for chatting with us! I cannot wait to watch this film!
Below are links to Alto's official movie website, their Facebook page, and a link to where you can go to directly BUY your copy on DVD!