Samara Joy won Best New Artist at the 2023 Grammys. Here’s how she got there.
The world was introduced to the smooth sounds of Samara Joy Sunday night at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards when she took home two Grammys, including the highly coveted Best New Artist.
But scroll through TikTok and you might come across videos of Joy singing. As a Gen Z-er, Joy has tapped into the social media app, using her voice and personality to gain hundreds of thousands of followers who pack pop-up jazz shows to witness her talents.
“People come up to me, ‘I saw you on Tik Tok, and then I found out you were coming to my city and I bought tickets immediately just because of how much your voice impacted me,'” Joy told CBS News, before she won two Grammys.
Joy said she has to like a song’s melody and words to be able to put her own modern spin on it.
“Then we can get to how to make the song my own,” she said.
Before performing at jazz clubs, Joy had never stepped foot in one, but that doesn’t mean she was exposed to jazz music. Music runs in Joy’s family. Her grandparents started a gospel group, The Savettes of Philadelphia, and her father is a bass player.
In high school, Joy began to plant her own seed in the genre, playing in a jazz band for a couple of months before deciding just how far she wanted to go with her talent.
“I was singing with them, you know, doing a couple of gigs with them from time to time,” said Joy, who was born and raised in the Bronx. “But then when it came time to choose a college … ‘I don’t know where I want to go, but I know I want to keep music in my life.'”
She studied jazz at Purchase College, State University of New York. Shortly after graduating in 2021, Joy performed her first set at the popular jazz club, Mezzrow, in New York’s West Village neighborhood. It was here that she was introduced to an underground world of music that she said she never imagined she would be a part of.
She released her self-titled new album, “Samara Joy,” in 2021. But it was her sophomore album, “Linger Awhile,” released a year later that got her two Grammy nominations, for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album. She learned of her nomination while on an Amtrak train.
“I was in a quiet car …. silently screaming, silently, until I got off the train,” she recalled. “And that’s the first time that I really felt like my heart is just kind of like in my stomach.”
In her acceptance speech Sunday night, she thanked everyone who has listened to her or supported her.
“All of you are so inspiring to me and so to be here … just being myself, just being who I was born as, it’s just, I’m so thankful,” she said.