Following your father in the family business can sometimes be tough, but Deana Martin felt suited for the job.
"I couldn't get away from it - I even carry his name," Martin said. "It's just in my DNA"
Martin is the daughter of legendary crooner Dean Martin. During a phone call from her home in Branson, Mo., she recently described growing up surrounded by a wealth of musical talent such as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. To Martin, however, they were "Uncle Frank" and "Uncle Sammy."
Surrounded by music: As a young girl, she said it was awe-inspiring to walk into Capitol Studios, surrounded by the gold albums lining the walls and black-and-white photos of performers - Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin and "Uncle Frank," to name a few.
"From just a little girl, I knew this is what I wanted to do," Martin said. "My dad made it look so easy and effortless - it wasn't until I got into it and found out that it really was hard."
Martin credits her father with helping her to develop her skills and instilling a rigorous work ethic. His advice to her: Always arrive early, never be late, know all of your lyrics, and sing from your heart.
"He was so well-respected - he never wanted any of us to embarrass him - and I remember him saying to us, 'You can't go on my show unless you're really good.'"
Martin has since performed on numerous stages, recorded albums, written books, hosted radio shows, starred in films and entertained countless audiences.
"I definitey have [my father's] love for entertaining," she said. "He just had this charm and charisma - a twinkle in his eye - like he knew a secret we didn't know."
New album: Her newest album, "Destination Moon," collects 10 classic songs and four new songs, each selected by Martin for their personal meaning.
"All artists think their latest album is the best," she said. "But this one has a special place."
Martin will be performing many of the songs from "Destination Moon" during her performance Saturday at the Strand-Capitol, she said. The show is a variety of her own works, lots of humor, and a touching tribute to her father from the album that, she said, is her favorite part of the show.
Duet: For "True Love," Martin said she sings a duet with her father - the live concert also features a special video tribute to Dean Martin as she performs the song. For the song, she worked together with engineer Al Schmitt after her husband located her father's original recording of "True Love."
"I'm in the studio, and I realized I'm holding the exact chart Dad had held," Martin said. "There's a 42-piece orchestra, and I hear the beautiful strings come in, and I hear my dad's voice, and I just had to take a break - it was so moving."
Martin said that she often feels that same emotion when performing the song in concert.
"It can be difficult to get through sometimes."
But, she said, the show is also fun and lighthearted for all ages. She said she often invites audience members on stage to sing with her, a move she acknowledges is reminiscent of her father's three backup singers. Sometimes they can sing, she said, and sometimes they can't but, "it's always fun."
Martin said she feels fortunate to still perform the timeless music of her father's generation. For her, she said, "If it's a good song, it doesn't matter what genre it is or what era it is If it's cool, if it's sexy, if it's well put-together, it's good music."
- Reach Amy Peiffer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deana sings Dino
Deana Martin will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York.
Tickets: $30-$42. Information: 717-846-1111 or www.strandcapitol.org.