Tell us about the song Llorando (Roy Orbison, Crying) and how it came about?
In 1993, I started singing the English version of Crying acapella after seeing KD Lang’s duet with Roy Orbison. And because I wanted to make it my own, I asked my friend Thania Sanz to translate it for me and we finessed it to be almost word-for-word. This arrangement became a signature song for me, opening the door to my record deal in Nashville and with the prestigious agency CAA. The song has been synonymous with my career, and I’ll be performing as long as people still want to hear it.
How did you meet David Lynch?
When I was in Nashville recording my record, during one of my trips back to LA, my agent at CAA invited me to David’s home and asked me to sing “Llorando.” I sang it for David and unbeknownst to me, David recorded it and he developed an entire scene for his Mulholland Drive project based on my rendition. David likes to call it a “happy accident”, our meeting, but I believe we were destined to cross paths. Mulholland Drive has been considered the No. 1 critically acclaimed movie of the century.
How did the experience in Mulholland Drive affect your music and your life in general?
Because I already had a record deal and was on my way to becoming a full-fledged country music artist, I wasn’t really prescient toward the notoriety of appearing in a David Lynch film at the time. I didn’t really know what the ultimate impact was going to be; I just knew that I was a big fan and that it would be fantastic. In the end, it has changed my life completely, and I’m eternally grateful for it. I went from an up-and-coming country artist to worldwide recognition, stemming from this particular scene in Mulholland Drive. No matter what happens, there will always be that scene, and that will live forever in the hearts and minds of the fans. Also, I continue to honor the legacy of Roy Orbison with his song.
"I like to give back therefore I’ve been taking all of my proceeds and putting them into a fund for the scholarships, and I’m hopeful it will change their lives as it’s changed mine."
What other films was your music /voice/presence included in?
I have been in a number of different films and TV productions. I’ve lent my voice to the films Southland Tales, by Richard Kelly, Sin City, Man on Fire and the TV Shows Prison Break, King of the Hill, Young and the Restless. I’ve also been in so many different productions of films like Quattro Noza and Winter’s Dream by Joey Curtis. Recently, I was in the film, This Teacher, which won the top prize at the LA film festival and was featured at Slamdance in Utah. Living in Los Angeles for almost 20 years and being available to provide my vocals, or even on-screen talents, to some really fantastic films and wonderful filmmakers has been such a blessing.
Are you also involved in Lynch’s efforts to spread awareness about TM?
Absolutely! As a matter fact, I’m on my “No Hay Banda” tour currently raising funds for 32 scholarships for TM, for the boys that my humble charity, The Phillip C. DeMars Foundation, serves. I have been doing TM since 2014, and it has been so amazing and so helpful to me in my life, and I am very grateful to David and the David Lynch Foundation, my teacher Lynn Kaplan and Bob Roth especially. I like to give back therefore I’ve been taking all of my proceeds and putting them into a fund for the scholarships, and I’m hopeful it will change their lives as it’s changed mine.
Do you tour a lot?
I have been fortunate to be on the road for the last three years, almost eight months out of the year. I have a lot of wonderful fans from the Twin Peaks series and the David Lynch films, so I’ve had opportunities to go and re-create the scenes from Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks: the return, episode 10, in Australia, and all over Europe, the United States and Canada. I love touring! My current tour takes me to Europe next month, and I’m very excited about 2020 being the 30th anniversary of Twin Peaks, so I am hoping to be doing a lot more dates next year as well.
Do you have new music out?
I have several projects in the works that are almost ready to go. I have a big band album where I sing material from the wonderful Cuban composer, Sergio De Karlo—that should be coming out soon. I have a vinyl record that I will be releasing this year, and I also have a world music compilation album I’ll be a part of, coming out this year, as well. I’m very excited about these projects.
You have your own foundation; tell us a bit about it.
The Phillip C. DeMars Foundation brings music and art to children in underserved areas of Los Angeles and many parts of the world, and this time we are raising funds to provide 32 scholarships of transcendental meditation (TM) to the boys at the Trinity Boy's Home in Los Angeles. The Phillip C. DeMars Foundation, was created in honor of my late son, Phillip, who lost his life to cancer. Throughout the course of his illness, we participated in a lot of programs with Children’s Hospital. My son wanted so badly to help the other children who were suffering from cancer, and he did what he could to help comfort their spirits. When he passed, I decided to continue his legacy and set up the 501(c)(3) nonprofit in his honor. It has helped me do so much with these beautiful children. I’ve been a mother since I was 18, and I will always be a mother. These children need help, and now that I’m raising funds for TM, it’s even more meaningful if I could bring them this gift, this tool they can use for the rest of their lives. So, that’s what we at The Phillip C. DeMars Foundation are striving for. You can go to PCDF.com for more information!
What can we expect from your show at The Standard, East Village?
I do a one-woman show, and I talk about how I met David and how his world inspires me. Each song has a bit of a story to it, so it becomes this thread of information weaved into my life experiences through songs and stories. I share the different genres that I have been blessed to have experience in—starting out as a country singer, progressing into Latin Jazz & Big Band. It’s a smattering of all the songs I’ve put out and fine-tuned with every intimate scene. I want the audience to feel like I’m in their living room, and we’re all surrounded by the best of friends, drifting through beautiful stories and music!