Diane Hoffman was born and raised in Cambridge, MA, where her maternal grandfather was a working musician. Growing up, she was surrounded by a strong musical presence, hearing her father’s Tommy Dorsey and Harry James big band records, experiencing her mother’s love for opera, show tunes, and pop music, and listening to her grandfather play guitar at family occasions. She was influenced by the thriving jazz and folk scene in her teens and was particularly taken with the Delta Blues. It was at these small concerts and intimate coffee houses where an inspiration for self-expression was kindled.
Hoffman moved to California during a period of great cultural change. She designed and made her own clothes and silver jewelry, and formally studied at the California College of Art where she earned a BFA before spending a year of independent study in Erongarícuaro, Mexico with renowned painter Jacques Fabert; she later exhibited extensively in Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
After returning to the East Coast and settling in New York City, Hoffman became involved with the artist-run gallery movement in the city’s Soho area. She continued to sing and joined a choral society where she performed classical liturgical pieces prior to studying with notables such as Anita Darian and Barbara Maier Gustern. It was through Hoffman’s early interaction with Darian that years later she received the vocalist’s unrecorded works which appear on her latest album, Do I Love You.
Hoffman’s singing is informed by her belief that “expressing the meaning of the lyric is essentially acting.” She is blessed with a richly textured voice, keen rhythm, original phrasing, and a natural feel for jazz and blues that is all laced with a quirky sense of humor. Known as a jazzy, hard-swinging singer that delivers emotionally charged performances, her often unique repertoire is marked by her painter’s passion for narrative, tone, and balance. Hoffman has recorded three albums as a soloist, Someone In Love (2000), My Little French Dancer (2007), and her latest release, Do I Love You (2018).