Samara Joy

“The close precision and frothy power of her voice stand out immediately … so does the depth of her comfort within the jazz tradition”
– The New York Times

With three GRAMMY wins and a chart-topping debut album already under her belt, 24-year-old Samara Joy makes her case to join the likes of Sarah, Ella, and Billie as the next mononymous jazz singing sensation recorded by the venerable Verve Records. Her voice, rich and velvety yet precociously refined, has already earned her fans like Anita Baker and Regina King and appearances on the TODAY Show, The Tonight Show w/Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert, CBS Mornings, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and more, in addition to millions of likes on TikTok — securing her status as perhaps the first Gen Z jazz vocal star. The New York Times praised the “silky-voiced rising star” for “helping jazz take a youthful turn” while NPR All Things Considered named her a “classic jazz singer from a new generation.”

Samara is still relatively new to jazz. Growing up in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx, it was music of the past — the music of her parent’s childhoods, as she put it — that she listened to most. She treasures her musical lineage, which stretches back to her grandparents Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, both of whom performed with Philadelphia gospel group the Savettes, and runs through her father, who is a vocalist and bassist who toured with gospel artist Andraé Crouch. Though she’s young, she relishes the process of digging through the music’s history. “I think maybe people connect with the fact that I’m not faking it, that I already feel embedded in it,” Samara says. “Maybe I’m able to reach people in person and on social media because it’s real.”

Samara began singing jazz as a senior at Fordham High School for the Arts and was awarded Best Vocalist at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition. Following her graduation as valedictorian, she attended the jazz program at SUNY Purchase, where she became the school’s Ella Fitzgerald Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While in college, she also won the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, one of the most sought-after honors for a rising jazz performer. The competition’s judges were Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Monheit, Christian McBride, and producer Matt Pierson, who would eventually become her manager. In July 2021, the same year she graduated from SUNY Purchase, Samara released her self-titled debut on Whirlwind Recordings.

On her debut album for Verve Records, Linger Awhile, which was produced by Pierson and recorded by Chris Allen at Sear Sound in NYC, Samara is accompanied by esteemed veterans: her former professors, guitarist Pasquale Grasso and drummer Kenny Washington, form the core of the band, which also includes bassist David Wong and pianist Ben Paterson. With ease and a preternatural assurance, Samara swings right alongside them through understated yet powerful renditions of this creative collection of standards.

There are burnished, gleaming versions of chestnuts in “Misty,” “Linger Awhile” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” transporting listeners to some romantic, long-lost supper club. Those familiar tunes are listed alongside some more unusual, if equally vintage selections: “Sweet Pumpkin,” a Ronnell Bright tune performed by the likes of Blue Mitchell and Gloria Lynne, a fresh take on “Guess Who I Saw Today” (a story of infidelity famously told by Nancy Wilson), and “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood,” which Samara uncovered on a collection of Sarah Vaughan rarities, add a lilting, upbeat bent to the album’s selections. 

In February 2023, Samara took home two GRAMMYs — Best Jazz Vocal Album for Linger Awhile and the highly sought after Best New Artist statuette. In a relatively short time, Samara has toured throughout Europe and the U.S., making stops at legendary festivals including Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Barbican Center in London, Nice Jazz Festival, and Philharmonie Paris. 2023 also saw Samara headlining iconic venues including sold out shows in her native New York at The Village Vanguard, The Apollo, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, and the Blue Note Jazz Club.

In October 2023, Samara released her holiday EP A Joyful Holiday, 6-song collection of seasonal favorites that included a rendition “O Holy Night” performed with multiple generations of her family. The EP also features a swinging arrangement of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” as well as a new recording of Stevie Wonder’s “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me.” In December, accompanied by members of her family and other special guests, Samara toured the U.S., selling out nearly every performance.

Cementing herself as a rising star in the worlds of both music and fashion, Samara fronted a holiday campaign for the fashion label Theory, a partnership befitting her timeless onstage style and casual elegance. The campaign also featured Samara’s original song “Now and Then,” a track she dedicated to her late mentor Barry Harris, whose famous jazz workshops she had regularly attended.

In 2024, at the 66th Grammy Awards she added on to her growing collection of accolades by taking home Best Jazz Performance for her single “Tight.” The self-produced track features Joy with her working band (pianist Luther Allison, bassist Mikey Migliore and drummer Evan Sherman), and was recorded at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in NYC.

Most recently, the breakout vocalist released the original single “Why I’m Here.” This incredibly triumphant and rousing track from the Netflix film Shirley (starring Oscar winner Regina King), further establishes Samara as a voice to be reckoned with, not just in the world of jazz but effortlessly across genres. Written by Samara and fellow multiple GRAMMY winner PJ Morton, the anthemic song plays over Shirley’s end title credits.

The ascendant, 3x GRAMMY-winning vocalist, who continues to tour all over the world on increasingly larger stages — is still shocked to be performing in front of thousands who hang on every word. “I’m still very much a student, even though I’ve graduated,” Samara says. “So this is only the beginning… there is much, much more to come.”

Walter Smith III

August 5, 2019 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI, USA
August 25, 2019 Da Camera
Houston, TX, USA

Steve Lehman Trio // "The People I Love" US Tour

September 19, 2019 Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
September 20, 2019 SFJAZZ Center
San Francisco, CA, USA
September 21, 2019 Constellation
Chicago, IL, USA
September 22, 2019 Bop Stop
Cleveland, OH, USA
September 24, 2019 – September 25, 2019 Jazz Standard
New York, NY, USA
September 26, 2019 Regatta Bar
Boston, MA, USA

The Jazz Gallery All-Stars

September 1, 2020 – October 18, 2020 AVAIL Worldwide

Tigran Hamasyan

April 30, 2020 Lawrence University
Appleton, WI, USA

Theo Croker 'Star People Nation'

September 14, 2019 Lodge Room
Los Angeles, CA, USA
September 16, 2019 Springfield Technical Community College
Springfield, MA, USA
September 20, 2019 – September 21, 2019 Blue LLama
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
September 23, 2019 Dizzy's Club (Big Brother Big Band)
New York, NY, USA
October 22, 2019 CBE
Cologne, Germany
October 27, 2019 Grillo Theater
Essen, Germany
November 1, 2019 The Loft, UCSD
San Diego, CA, USA

Gerald Clayton Quartet US Tour

September 23, 2019 – September 24, 2019 Lied Center (Solo)
Lawrence, KS, USA
September 27, 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey, CA, USA
September 28, 2019 – September 29, 2019 Moss Theatre
Los Angeles, CA, USA
October 1, 2019 Musical Instrument Museum
Phoenix, AZ, USA
October 3, 2019 The Outpost
Albuquerque, NM, USA
October 4, 2019 Santa Fe Music Collective
Santa Fe, NM, USA
October 6, 2019 Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
Half Moon Bay, CA, USA
October 7, 2019 University of Nevada
Reno, NV, USA
October 8, 2019 The Triple Door
Seattle, WA, USA
October 10, 2019 – October 13, 2019 Jazz Standard
New York, NY, USA
October 16, 2019 Blues Alley
Washington, DC, USA
October 19, 2019 The Factory at Franklin
Franklin, TN, USA
November 20, 2019 Herb Alpert Music Center (Solo)
Los Angeles, CA, USA


August 1, 2019 Patio Theater
Chicago, IL, USA
August 3, 2019 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI, USA

JD Allen

January 25, 2020 Jefferson Center
Roanoke , VA, USA

New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

September 1, 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival
Detroit, MI, USA
December 13, 2019 – December 14, 2019 JALC with René Marie
New York, NY, USA

Marcus Lewis Big Band

September 3, 2019 Des Moines Jazz Festival
Des Moines, IA, USA

Camila Meza & The Nectar Orchestra

August 4, 2019 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI, USA
September 14, 2019 Lake George Jazz Festival
Lake George, NY, USA
September 28, 2019 Tempe Arts Center
Tempe, AZ, USA
October 12, 2019 Mondriaan Jazz Festival
The Hague, Netherlands
November 8, 2019 SFJAZZ
San Francisco, CA, USA
November 11, 2019 Arcata Playhouse
Arcata, CA, USA
November 15, 2019 – November 16, 2019 Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Marcus Strickland 'Twi-Life'

August 4, 2019 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI, USA

Joel Ross 'Good Vibes' 'Kingmaker' Release Tour

August 3, 2019 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI, USA
August 30, 2019 Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago, IL, USA
September 13, 2019 White Plains Jazz Festival
White Plains, NY, USA
October 17, 2019 Kummbwa Jazz Center
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
October 18, 2019 Vashon Center for the Arts
Vashon, WA, USA
October 19, 2019 Earshot Jazz Festival
Seattle, WA, USA
October 20, 2019 Holocene
Portland, OR, USA
October 21, 2019 Brubeck Institute
Stockton, CA, USA
October 25, 2019 BRIC Jazz Festival
Brooklyn, NY, USA
November 21, 2019 Annenberg Center
Philadelphia, PA, USA
December 29, 2019 – January 1, 2020 Umbria Winter Jazz Festival
Umbria, Italy

Sullivan Fortner Trio

July 20, 2019 – July 21, 2019 Cola Jazz Camp
Columbia, SC, USA
July 28, 2019 Woods Hole Jazz (Solo Piano)
Falmouth, MA, USA
September 19, 2019 Temple University
Philadelphia, PA, USA
September 22, 2019 – September 23, 2019 Boise Jazz Society
Boise , ID, USA
October 1, 2019 Exuberance
Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3, 2019 – October 6, 2019 Jazz Standard
New York, NY, USA
October 26, 2019 Clermont-Ferrand
Clarmont-Ferrand, France
November 18, 2019 – November 19, 2019 Paris Philharmonie
Paris, France
December 29, 2019 – January 1, 2020 Umbria Winter Residency
Umbria, Italy

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