Polymath Diane Michelle is a Santa Monica voice actor for such notables as the animated character "Daisy Duck" for special projects and consistently for walla - aka the background voices on the "Simpsons" - for 20 plus years. Photos courtesy of Lewis H. Perkins
With her humble vibe Michelle is the consummate professional who thinks she was hired for this iconic cartoon figure because she can sing and talk in role. This is a distinguishing gift in the voice over arts. For a cultural creative a recurring gig like the two among a dozen others Michelle has brought to life still isn't enough for her to feel the muse is entirely fulfilled. Yet juicy day gigs and others constitute the floor under oneself. The upside is Michelle has time and energy to pursue what she loves.
Diane Michelle's photo is in the center. At 2 minutes hear her expound on Daisy Duck's bathing rituals for self care.
Currently Michelle can be found with several fishing poles hooked and baited in a number of different ponds. In addition to releasing an album of songs she has been developing since a teen. In addition to performing and song writing, she has penned as writer/illustrator comic short story books much like the one that accompanies one of her titles, 'Neptune's Tavern.'
'Neptune's Tavern' encourages listeners to claim themselves by taking risks artistically and socially.
Diane's watery influences and references flow freely and often. This may come from living seaside in SoCal all of her life. That has been Santa Monica for the last 30 years and prior to that undergrad work at University of California, Santa Barbara. Michelle grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes. These conveniently Hollywood adjacent locations are now world class travel destinations which are both an escape and respite to call home from the pressures of 'The Biz.' Ms. Michelle is a true Southern Californian local.
Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen (left) and Nicole Andrews (right) hamming it up.
In addition to being a sought after voice actor, Michelle has been a storied West LA choir teacher for the last two decades. She is also mother to her back up vocalist and guitar strumming band member Nicole Andrews, a willowy quarter life aged daughter. Nicole is a UCLA trained ethno-musicologist, who has learned well from her parents the importance of keeping a creative life alive with a day job in the tech world creating play lists for everything from a luxury resort to a retail store. To round out Michelle's bohemian artistic life, she is married to Charles Andrews regular op-ed and music contributor to the Santa Monica Daily Press.
Diane is a damn near prefect example of 'having it all' proving it doesn't have to be lonely at the top. In terms of paying homage to the muse, Michelle finds it's impossible to give up on the impulse to create in the marathon of her life. More than ever Michelle is feeling closer to manifesting the full potential of her talents. If nothing else, Michelle outdoes herself in making a joyful noise with her first album, one that has taken 50 years to mature in its own time.
Michelle's ship may come in with 'Love's Already Gone,' that has the feel of a hit with its catchy hooks. "A country weeper, a salty sorrow," as Michelle would say. Poetic touches remind us of what it's like to divvy up household items that are imbued with memories of the newly lost lover.
Nicole Andrews displaying the picture boards which accompany 'Neptune's Tavern'
Disclaimer: There were so many good cuts it's hard to choose a favorite. True to being a voice actor Michelle was able to evoke different genres and periods of musical history from a West Texas dance hall to a jazz club to a balalaika. Another strong talkie country cut, 'Tame and Vicious' is about paying dues for while dreaming of "fame while doing the dishes." 'Sifting Sand,' covers similar territory of being firmly planted in two worlds; the theatrical arts while grounded in the reality of supporting a household with children, a husband and family.
Thematically all the songs dwell in unfulfilled spaces where yearning is palpable and connection completes the cycle.
On the surface 'Lucky Duck' is about an ambivalent love affair.
'Lucky Duck' is sly insofar the lyrics can read one way as an on again off again love affair. Read another way and beneath this cheery veneer emerges another take. It is the artist who needs the sustenance of let's say voice over acting gigs to cover the expenses that naturally arise in the course of life, while never giving up on the yearning to express oneself in more creative pursuits that will hopefully pay off eventually. The countless number of hours of time it takes to write and perform a song that attracts the attention of hit maker co-exists in the same person who must beat out the competition to earn his or her daily bread in a competitive field with many other highly trained and ambitious contenders. Living the cultural creative life may look like fun and games, but do not be fooled. It is not for the faint of heart.
'Food and Love' is ostensibly about the life of hungry feral cats living on a Greek island that is also fertile territory for her narrative of love found and lost again. 'It Is' is about 'Livin' In Between,' another catchy hook that describes the agony of unending suffering from unanswerable questions when someone close dies prematurely. 'Queen of the Definite Maybe,' could be about waiting for new paid projects to come in while serving The Muse. 'I Wanna Be the One,' 'who gets you on your feet again when everyone else is gone," is a testament to eternal love.
The setting for the record release also speaks to the warmth Michelle inspires. The Church in Ocean Park, an interfaith Methodist church committed to social justice, hosted the event. Original Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios stained glass windows enhanced the glow emanating from the stage in a feedback loop with the audience. As with so many working professionals Michelle has paid plenty of dues in the tower of song. Her proverbial ship may very well still come in, some may say it already has.
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]