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Josephine Beavers talks about her new album and show at 54 Below in New York

Acclaimed vocalist Josephine Beavers chatted about her upcoming show at 54 Below in New York on December 29.

Josephine Beavers
Josephine Beavers. Photo Courtesy of Josephine Beavers
Josephine Beavers. Photo Courtesy of Josephine Beavers

Acclaimed vocalist Josephine Beavers chatted about her upcoming show at 54 Below in New York on December 29.

She triumphantly returns to 54 Below, bringing the music of her new December 2022 PBS documentary The Musician’s Green Book to live audiences. “I want to celebrate a year of recovery, and the fact that everybody that I love and care for made it through this far, and I just want to celebrate life again, and keep the music playing and coming. It’s all about having fun, that’s my goal in life. To have fun and enjoy what I am doing,” she said.

She will be accompanied by her Manhattan All-Star Quintet under the direction of pianist and arranger Ed Vodicka. “I am always excited to play there,” she said. “This will be our third time there and it feels like home already.”

Her return to 54 Below includes not only gems from the Great American Songbook but seasonal and holiday favorites as well, including her new holiday single “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever.” “The people can expect some beautiful end of the season Christmas music and a welcoming into the New Year,” she said.

‘Prime Time’

On the song selection for her new album, “Prime Time,” she said, “It consisted of songs that my mom would sing. My mother was a jazz singer in Washington, D.C. and I heard all of this beautiful music from the Great American Songbook basically all my life. The songs stayed in my mind and in my heart, and those are the ones that Ed and I picked. When you really love a song, it is so easy to sing them and give them back to people.”

Beavers listed “Cry Me A River” as her personal favorite song on the album. “I like to sing ‘Cry Me A River,’ that’s one of my favorites,” she said. “There are a lot of beautiful memories on this particular album.”

She also described “Because of You” as an “oldie but goodie.”

The digital age

On being an artist in the digital age, Beavers said, “It’s a little more difficult for me because I am of a certain era, so I have other folks that are working on that with me. There is so much of it out there and where do you put yourself? That has been one of the challenges with me coming out as a vintage performer.”

“We are still having fun doing it and I am enjoying the music,” she said. “To me, that’s what it really is all about. My mission is to keep this beautiful music on the forefront, and keep it being heard by the younger crowd.”

Regarding the title of the current chapter of her life, Beavers said, “Don’t be afraid to make your life happen.” “I lost my husband of 51 years about seven years ago, and I decided to make my own life happen after that. I had a passion for the songs and the music and that was waiting in the wings for me to take advantage of. I was fortunate to reconnect with Ed Vodicka, and the stars aligned when I decided to make my life happen,” she said.

“Every time I sing, I feel alive and I feel like I am getting younger, and I feel the passion of what I do,” she added. “Don’t age yourself out of living.”

Advice for hopefuls in music

For young and aspiring artists, she said, “My advice is to keep doing what you love to do. Even where I am now, it is all about perseverance and don’t give up. Don’t be fearful and keep hope alive. If you love what you do and do what you love, that is the key to longevity in life. Be with likeminded people and don’t let anyone discourage you. Fear is temporary, regrets are forever. Don’t give up.”

Beavers listed the late but great Mel Tormé as her dream collaboration choice in music since he was one of her all-time favorite artists. “I love his style and the texture of his voice,” she said. “As I got older, I really understand what Mel was doing… he was telling a story and he did that beautifully.”

Success

On her definition of the word success, Beavers said, “Standing in front of a small quartet of beautiful musicians and being able to share a beautiful song with an appreciative crowd. To me, that is success.”

To learn more about Josephine Beavers, check out her official website and her Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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