by Ayanna Jacobs-El
If you’re on any type of social media I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the rotating collective of musicians and vocalists called Postmodern Jukebox. The group was founded by arranger and pianist Scott Bradlee in 2011. During this time, he was at a point where he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life and career. In addition to the uncertainty about his life, he was stuck with a large sum of student loan debt that he acquired before dropping out of college. As a creative outlet, he thought making YouTube videos that featured arrangements of well-known pop songs would be a fun project. Bradlee had no idea that his future videos would go viral across multiple social media platforms and amass millions of views on YouTube.
This kind of ability to think outside of the box led to a lucrative, exciting, and rewarding musical career for Bradlee. In the currently oversaturated music market, being able to stand out from the crowd is one of the keys to achieving success. By identifying a musical niche, like vintage re-workings of pop songs, an artist has an even greater potential to stand out. For Postmodern Jukebox, their video arrangements had a universal appeal due to the recognizable pop songs that were played in a new way. These new interpretations interested people of all ages. Bradlee even took this niche further by having the musicians and vocalists dress in costumes that fit the time period of the vintage genre. The overall production style was a clever and authentic approach that can be seen in all of Postmodern Jukebox’s videos.
Since starting out, the collective has also had great success in touring and often performs sold-out shows in venues that seat hundreds. I had the pleasure of catching a Postmodern Jukebox show at The Wilbur last month. One of the first things I noticed about the band was that they were extremely well-trained jazz musicians who had great chemistry and energy. They supported the equally talented vocalists perfectly in covers of songs from artists like Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and Meghan Trainor. These arrangements ranged from swing jazz, blues, doo-wop, latin, and even musical theatre. All of the vocalists exhibited an impressive range, stellar control, and heartfelt renditions of current hits whose arrangements harkened back to a multitude of eras. The audience was completely engrossed throughout the entire performance and gave standing ovations for a number of songs. Featured fantastic tap dancer Anissa Lee,whose rhythmic dexterity and endurance was extremely impressive, overall the show was an amazing experience that I would recommend to everyone!
I foresee Postmodern Jukebox having continued success for years to come. Scott Bradlee’s concept has resonated with listeners across the globe by putting a vintage spin on modern hits. The group is currently on tour, click here to see if they will be coming to a city near you.
ARE YOU A POSTMODERN JUKEBOX FAN OR HAVE YOU SEEN THEM PERFORM LIVE? LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THEIR CONCEPT AND WHAT YOUR FAVORITE VIDEO IS IN THE COMMENTS!