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Samara Joy

With a voice as smooth as velvet, SAMARA JOY’s star seems to rise with each performance. Following her winning the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, she is currently recording her debut recording, which will feature Samara backed by the Pasquale Grasso Trio.

Growing up in New York, music was a pervasive presence, due to the inspiration of her paternal grandparents, Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, who led the well-known Philadelphia-based gospel group, The Savettes. Her father toured with the renowned Gospel artist Andrae Crouch, and her home was filled with the sounds of not only her father’s songs and songwriting process, but the inspiration of many Gospel and R&B artists, including Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, George Duke, Musiq Soulchild, Kim Burrell, Commissioned, and many others.

“Although I didn’t grow up singing in church,” explains Samara, “I constantly heard my family singing inspirational music together, which instilled in me an appreciation for my musical lineage. Through musicals in middle school, I loved exploring the range of my voice and applying the different colors to fit the characters I played. Finally, during high school, I joined the choir at my church, eventually becoming a worship leader, singing three services a week for nearly two years. That was my training.”

Samara’s first exposure to jazz was while attending Fordham High School for the Arts, where she performed regularly with the jazz band, eventually winning Best Vocalist at JALC’s Essentially Ellington competition. However, jazz wasn’t really her focus until the time came to choose a college. Wanting to attend a state school close to home, she picked SUNY Purchase, gaining acceptance into their acclaimed jazz program, with a faculty that includes many jazz masters (including Pasquale Grasso and drummer Kenny Washington, who both appear on her debut recording.)

“My friends were all into jazz and started sharing their favorite recordings with me to check out. The turning point was when I heard both Sarah Vaughan’s version of ‘Lover Man’ and Tadd Dameron’s recordings featuring trumpeter Fats Navarro. I was hooked.”

From this point, she began to pursue her jazz studies with an intense passion, eventually being named the Ella Fitzgerald Scholar and entering and winning the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.

Not yet 21 years old, Samara has already performed in many of the great jazz venues in NYC, including Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, The Blue Note, and Mezzrow, in addition to working with jazz greats such as Christian McBride, Pasquale Grasso, Kirk Lightsey, Cyrus Chestnut, and NEA Jazz Master Dr. Barry Harris.

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Album Review

Samara Joy: A Joyful Holiday

Read "A Joyful Holiday" reviewed by Dave Linn

It's been a whirlwind 15 months for Samara Joy. After announcing she signed with Verve, her debut for the label, Linger Awhile (2022) was released to great acclaim. She was then nominated (and won) two Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal. The success of that record was followed up with Linger Awhile Deluxe Edition (Verve, 2023) containing another album's worth of material. Joy has also put out a single, “Tight," where she pays tribute to Betty Carter ...

Album Review

Samara Joy: Linger Awhile [Deluxe Edition]

Read "Linger Awhile [Deluxe Edition]" reviewed by Dave Linn

Samara Joy's meteoric rise since graduating from High School has been well documented. As a college junior, she filmed herself singing Ella Fitzgerald's “Take Love Easy" accompanied by one of her professors, pianist Pete Malinverni. The video went viral, garnering over one million views. She then put up a GoFundMe page, quickly reaching the $8,000 goal to record her debut album Samara Joy (Whirlwind, 2021). A year later, Verve Records announced her signing and the release of her label debut ...

In Pictures

Samara Joy at the Newport Jazz Festival 2023

Read "Samara Joy at the Newport Jazz Festival 2023" reviewed by Stephanie Bernaba

Few musical artists possess the soul required to illuminate the entire history of a genre with their harmonies. Samara Joy, the 23-year-old jazz vocalist carrying nearly a century's worth of history in her voice, may be the exception. Joy exudes the presence of an old soul, coupled with a voice that draws in jazz newcomers while simultaneously stirring the souls of those who grew up on standards. Wearing a white dress and a bright smile, she appeared genuinely ...

In Pictures

Samara Joy At Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2023

Read "Samara Joy At Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2023" reviewed by Walter Atkins

The 25th Anniversary Healdsburg Jazz Festival covered nine days (June 17-25, 2023) of exceptional music presented with great cuisine and wines. Some of the featured artists included: Dianne Reeves, The Bill Frisell Trio, John Santos, Sheila Heath's Billie Holiday Project, The Festival also held a Pharoah Sanders & Joey DeFrancesco Tribute Concert with Gary Bartz, Brian Ho, Nicolas Bearde, Marcus Shelby, Tomoki Sanders and many others. Samara Joy, the 2023 Grammy Award Winner for Best New Artist & ...

Live Review

44th Annual Tri-C JazzFest

Read "44th Annual Tri-C JazzFest" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

44th Annual Tri-C JazzFest Playhouse Square Cleveland, Ohio June 22-24, 2023 Flanked by a spectacular outdoor chandelier, Cleveland's Playhouse Square has become the largest performing arts mecca outside of New York City. It has also been home to Tri-C JazzFest ever since the event decided to make the calendar move from April to June. In many ways it continues to be a tale of two events. The outdoor stages boast local talent and student performances ...

In Pictures

Samara Joy at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center

Read "Samara Joy at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center" reviewed by Mark Robbins

When Samara Joy performed last June at the Vocal Jazz Summit in Virginia Beach she was fairly new on the scene and even though she could deliver a song like a seasoned pro she was a little shy interacting with the audience. What a difference one year and two Grammys make. The singer, who appeared at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News, VA to headline the Ella Fitzgerald Festival, was an instant hit with an audience (276 sold ...

Live Review

Samara Joy at Christ Church Cranbrook

Read "Samara Joy at Christ Church Cranbrook" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Samara Joy Christ Church Cranbrook Bloomfield Hills, Michigan March 24, 2023 Jazz fans in the Detroit metro area have become well-acquainted with the stately confines of Christ Church Cranbrook, as the church has hosted a series of sacred concerts and jazz masses going back to 2015. These include regular appearances by Rodney Whitaker, the church's Artist in Residence, and a bevy of other musicians including Terence Blanchard, Cyrus Chestnut and Vanessa Rubin. The launching of ...

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Performance / Tour

Tickets Now On Sale For Grammy Award-winning Vocalist Samara Joy At New Jersey Performing Arts Center June 23, 2024

Tickets Now On Sale For Grammy Award-winning Vocalist Samara Joy At New Jersey Performing Arts Center June 23, 2024

Source: AMT Public Relations

Grammy Award-Winning Vocalist SAMARA JOY Returns to NJPAC for the First Time Since Winning the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition Sponsored in part by TD Bank Sunday, June 23, 2024 at 7 PM NJPAC Prudential Hall Betty Wold Johnson Stage One Center Street Newark, New Jersey 07102 Tickets for Samara Joyare on sale now and can be purchased by visiting NJPAC.org or calling 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722) or by visiting the NJPAC Box Office at ...



Samara Joy And Lee Ritenour Are First Two Headliners Announced For Rochester International Jazz Festival In June 2024

Samara Joy And Lee Ritenour Are First Two Headliners Announced For Rochester International Jazz Festival In June 2024

Source: Dalmath Associates Inc.

CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent today announced the first two headliners for the 21st Edition June 21 to June 29, 2024. The Festival is one of the world's leading jazz festivals, presenting 1750 artists from around the world at 20 venues over nine days. Tickets for both shows go on sale this Friday, December 8th at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time only at rochesterjazz.com or call (585) 454-2060. 2023 GRAMMY-winning Artist of the Year, ...



Apr 20 Sat
Apr 22 Mon
Apr 23 Tue
Apr 25 Thu
Apr 27 Sat
Apr 28 Sun
Samara Joy
Saffron Hall
Saffron Walden, UK
Apr 30 Tue
Paris, France
Apr 30 Tue


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

A Joyful Holiday

Verve Records


I Wish I Knew

Floating World Records


Linger Awhile

Verve Records



Cellar Live


A Song of Hope

Whaling City Sound



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