Take Five With Joy Divine

Joy Divine By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Joy Divine:

The power of music is my inspiration. The simple truth is, I love to sing. Anyone who knows me would say, I'm a passionate advocate for keeping music alive, no matter what. Anyone who knows me would also say I am a passionate advocate for keeping music alive in your life, no matter what.

I've been singing since before I could walk. Though I've had the opportunity to sing and play with a multitude of talented musicians, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with my dear friend, Scott Dercks, an extraordinary guitarist and remarkable musician. We performed together as a jazz duo from 2004 to 2008 in all of the hottest Minneapolis jazz venues, and countless private events. Thank you, Scott, for your mentorship.

I now live in Chattanooga, TN, and enjoy singing jazz locally with David James, a talented guitarist and singer from the South. With a Chet Atkins sound and a voice like Elvis, David has been crooning and tuning for 50 years.

Humble, and Southern as the day is long, you'll not find a more genuine, more loving, kind, and vivacious an individual as David. Through his vast musical experience and creativity, you're certain to share in a truly memorable moment, with an unforgettable man.


Vocals, bass guitar, piano, violin.

Teachers and/or influences?

Ella Fitzgerald, Scott Dercks, Eva Cassidy, Julie London, Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, }}Nat King Cole}}, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Etta Jones, Ray Charles, Etta James, Harry Connick, Jr., Diane Schuur, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Rickie Lee Jones, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Vanessa Rubin, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones, Charlie Parker, Scott Dercks, David James.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I started singing before I could walk. Everyone thought it was "cute" but said I was too young. So I kept singing—and will sing until I can't anymore.

Your sound and approach to music:

Evocative of another time and place, where passion was abundant in the beautiful jazz music of the early 1900s, I sing from my heart.

With deep respect and admiration for the unequalled Ella Fitzerald, and equally stunningly powerful, contemporary Eva Cassidy, my ears are always open—listening, inextricably drawn to the swing and story of jazz standards.

Your teaching approach:

Everyone has music in them. Your speaking voice is a part of your singing voice, even if you don't know it. If you're willing to try, and practice, we all can sing! It's natural, personal: good posture, a few techniques, (and practice), you cansing. Often your biggest obstacle, is you. Get out of your way, and anything is possible!

Your dream band:

I absolutely enjoy a small ensemble, whether a duo, trio, quartet, sextet, the intimacy of the sound experience of a minimal group allows the music to shine. That's what it's all about, to me.

We all bring our unique talents, experiences, perspective, passion—and share it all in our mutual musical expression.

I've enjoyed singing with a big band, Sweet Georgia Sound; I'll never forget it, and always say, "It was like being a female Michael Buble!" Fun.

Improvisation is at the heart of jazz. Knowledge of chords, scales, repertoire, jazz changes, and a myriad of other things culminate in an authentic musical expression—Jazz. I find jazz to be a universal language. Everybody loves. Everybody laughs. Everybody hurts. Everybody can relate to jazz, whether or not they think they like it.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Almost anything by Eva Cassidy, Madeleine Peyroux .

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Ella Fitzgerald, The First Lady of Song.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I am a passionate advocate for keeping music alive in your life, no matter what.

Did you know...

I love to stack rocks just to stack them.

CDs you are listening to now:

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra , Central Park North on Forever Lasting: Live in Tokyo.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Keep listening to jazz, playing jazz, seeking it out, talking about it, promoting, celebrating and teaching jazz!

What is in the near future?

David James and I just began a recording project this spring. We're excited to at last share our music online, and will press 100 CDs for our most loved fans who love us...and have been asking, for years.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

Just that, performing. I always experience anxiety before a show, even after all these years.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Oh...where to start? I think I'll write a list over my lifetime of all the songs I'd like to be played at my funeral—by a live band, of course.

By Day:

By day, I'm a freelance virtual administrative assistant.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

I will be a jazz musician for life, and, I will be an environmental scientist and work in conservation.
About Joy Divine
Articles | Calendar | Discography | Photos | More...


Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.