She’s the Rhythm and Blues’ ultimate Diva, a winner of the Grammy award twice, a songwriter, stage actor, who has to her name Broadway’s prestigious Tony Award, a UN goodwill ambassador and more. On her maiden trip to Delhi to perform at the ‘Living Dream’ concert, to mark fifty years of Martin Luther King Jr’s journey to India, she unfolded to Akrita Reyar of Spicezee.com, the spiritual connect she felt with the country. On the India tour Dee Dee: This is my first visit to India and to be invited to this commemoration of the 50th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr’s visit to India, or if one were to say the coming together of two men of peace, is truly a dream. For me, personally, this event is next only, I think, to the election of Barack Obama as the President of the Unites States. I feel a very strong spiritual vibe in your country when I look into the eyes of all the people I have come across here. So to be able to perform, well for all of us musicians, it’s wonderful. I am humbled. On a special co-incidence Dee Dee: We all went to the Gandhi museum. There we met his granddaughter, who they were all calling “Di Di” (Hindi for sister). It was really nice because I felt a connect because of my name. It’s like a dream. Similarities with Indian music Dee Dee: I heard the Indian instruments and am reminded of West African music. Like my Red Earth album. Especially, listening to the tabla, I feel it is very close to African drums – and the sitar is like the Chora and Ingoni (stringed West African instruments). Universality of world music Dee Dee: And you know it’s like that all over the world. I remember I was in Beijing at the Hyatt and a lady was playing some Chinese instrument. And I immediately felt that that our instruments are so similar. All music styles are connected. You may have your traditions or your approach may be different, but there is some common form in all music. From African, Indian and all others, we are all going outside our tradition and medium and we are all influencing each other. Music is one all over the world. On human values and collective responsibility Dee Dee: If we as people get it right, then we as human beings will be able to get it right. Right now, it seems, we have lost the way. But Barack Obama’s election has had a dominical effect. People are feeling evolved after that- after supporting a man, who is for all communities and all people. Like that, music gives us an opportunity to express ourselves without oppression. On being a UN Goodwill ambassador and challenges we face Dee Dee: Yes, I love the question. There is a very strong connection between all of us. And so we all face common challenges. And the greatest threat today, I feel, comes from our relationship with our planet. It’s all about conquering ourselves in the end.