Jazz-Chart Topping, Grammy-Winning Singer Samara Joy Returns to Jax, Makes Florida Theatre Debut

Renowned jazz singer Samara Joy will perform at the Florida Theatre in October | Ambe J Williams, courtesy of the artist (cropped)

All four of Samara Joy’s albums came out in the last three years. Two of them won Grammy awards.

Joy’s Florida Theatre debut on Tuesday, October 22 will be her second visit to Jacksonville. She was featured at the jazz festival in 2023, dazzling the crowd in a Sunday set mere blocks away from where she’ll perform this October. Having hosted that day, watching her set from backstage, alongside her manager and the rest of the crew, was one of my favorite concert experiences ever. The crowd even insisted on an encore, which is strictly forbidden, but we made an exception for her. Indeed, Samara Joy is the exception that proves many rules.

Bronx-born and raised in the Castle Hill neighborhood, Samara Joy who won the Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center while still in high school, going on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Purchase. She’s a third-generation singer whose father, grandfather and grandmother were all gospel stars in their era. She won the 8th annual Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2019. (The judges were Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit and Christian McBride, all hall of famers, as well as Matt Pierson, who later became her producer and manager.) 

She built on that initial promise with her self-titled debut on Whirlwind in 2021, which she followed just 434 days later with Linger Awhile, an instant classic that amplified her peers much like Norah Jones did for hers back in 2002. A holiday EP in 2023 is merely a placeholder for the follow-up, which is one of the most highly anticipated jazz albums of this era. 

The fact that she’s a jazz singer belies what she’s accomplished, but her sound and her style have made her not just a regular on the talk show circuit, but also currently undefeated in Grammy competition. By this point, she’s already played every major jazz venue in the world, and the Florida Theatre is an ideal setting to see a future legend of the business, one who is just getting started. Oh, and she’s only 25-years old.

Samara Joy performs at the Florida Theatre on Tuesday, October 22. Tickets and more information here.

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