First Listen: 22 year old singer Samara Joy wows the jazz world, signs with Verve

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    Photo credit: Meredith Truax

    (August 5, 2022) Once-in-a-generation vocalist Samara Joy has signed with Verve Records, and will release Linger Awhile, her full-length debut for the label, on September 16. At just 22 years old, Samara has already garnered critical acclaim for a voice “as rich as custard” (The New York Times) and a delivery that is “disarming [and] unhurried” (NPR Fresh Air), just as she has built a devoted following on TikTok and made avowed fans of Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, and others. The Bronx native took home the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition prize while still in college and performed on The Today Show earlier this year. Hailed as an “exciting boundary-stretcher” by the (The Boston Globe), Samara also made her “glowing, auspicious debut” (NPR) at the Newport Jazz Festival last weekend, earning multiple standing ovations in the process.

    (August 5, 2022) Once-in-a-generation vocalist Samara Joy has signed with Verve Records, and will release Linger Awhile, her full-length debut for the label, on September 16. At just 22 years old, Samara has already garnered critical acclaim for a voice “as rich as custard” (The New York Times) and a delivery that is “disarming [and] unhurried” (NPR Fresh Air), just as she has built a devoted following on TikTok and made avowed fans of Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, and others. The Bronx native took home the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition prize while still in college and performed on The Today Show earlier this year. Hailed as an “exciting boundary-stretcher” by the (The Boston Globe), Samara also made her “glowing, auspicious debut” (NPR) at the Newport Jazz Festival last weekend, earning multiple standing ovations in the process.

    Linger Awhile finds Samara updating beloved songs with a modern twist, sometimes singing original lyrics using the melodies of famous instrumental solos, a style known as vocalese. Recorded at Sear Sound in New York City and featuring exemplary musicianship by Pasquale Grasso (guitar), Ben Paterson (piano), David Wong (double bass), and Kenny Washington (drums), the tracklist is comprised of reinvented classics including “Someone to Watch Over Me” (George Gershwin), “'Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk), and “Nostalgia (The Day I Knew)” (Fats Navarro). Linger Awhile not only highlights Samara’s timeless vocals and a musical wisdom beyond her years, it also introduces this foundational popular music to a fresh audience.

    “I am deeply honored to be a part of a roster that has included so many of my greatest vocal inspirations: Sarah, Billie, Ella, and Betty to name a few,” says Samara about her Verve debut. “Being a part of this lineage is humbling, and I will continue to use all of the inspiration gleaned from them to pursue my own unique journey as a singer and an artist.”

    Samara Joy has also announced a new string of 2022 tour dates throughout Europe and North America. The young vocalist will play club dates, festivals and cultural institutions, plus highly-anticipated NYC hometown shows at The Blue Note. Later this year, Samara will perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a handful of dates across the midwest before several holiday shows in December. Check out the full touring schedule below.

    Music has always been a guiding presence within Samara’s family. Her grandparents, Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, led the well-known Philadelphia-based gospel group, The Savettes, and her father toured with the renowned Andrae Crouch. Although her earliest influences are the gospel and R&B sounds of Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, George Duke, and Musiq Soulchild, Samara fell in love with jazz while attending Fordham High School for the Arts, where she performed regularly with the jazz band and eventually won Best Vocalist at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition. Samara attended SUNY Purchase and recently graduated as the Ella Fitzgerald Scholar.

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