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  • Smooth Jazz Network

Joe Leavy: Behind the Beats

Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: Joe Leavy.

Joe Leavy’s smooth new single “Let It Go” is one of the hottest new vocal tracks on the Smooth Jazz Network. This is Joe’s third single on the Smooth Jazz Network and we feel his strongest yet! We grabbed a few moments with the talented vocalist this past week.

Joe, thanks for taking some time to share with our readers and listeners! And thanks for the smooth new single “Let It Go.” Tell us how this tune came about.

Steve and I wanted to address the current state of everyday life. Seems like a different terrible thing everyday. How does one cope? We had to unplug ourselves and especially our children form Social Media, TV and certain types of music just too decompress. Thus “Let it go” was written. Steve has a daughter in Russia near the Ukrainian border. Writing this song was very personal for us both.

Although you may be a new voice to many of our smooth jazz listeners, you have been performing for many years at wineries, jazz clubs and festivals around the world! Share some highlights of your experiences with us.

I have had the fortune of working with Producer Derek DOA Allen (Kem) since 2012. Our first album, “A Guy Named Joe Leavy” afforded me the opportunity to travel and perform in The Uk, Europe and here at home. We’ve got upcoming shows this year at Catalina Jazz club and Rock N Brews Sacramento to finish 2022. Will be Headed back to the UK next Summer with the Love faith & Family Tour performing songs from the new album Soul On Fire (February 14 2023).

I love the musicianship on this new single and the way your vocals interact with Steve Hanuman on the trumpet. Tell us about that interplay.

Steve and I have worked together on several songs, we’ve known each other almost 30 years. Steve plays Trumpet on “Inside You” and on my cover of “Deja Vu”. He also penned “Real Love” on the “A Guy Named Joe Leavy Album”. On “Let it Go” listeners get a real introduction to Steve Hanuman the multi-instrumentalist. He plays all instruments on the record. When one listens to this song you can’t help but recognize Steve Hanuman is special!

I hear your music as a perfect blend of soul and jazz… What else can you tell us about your style?

I love music period. I grew up listening to and loving the pioneers of several genres.

I played every type of music in the clubs of Japan for years. As a recording artist, I draw from every listening experience I’ve ever had. The Soul On Fire project will reflect my diverse appetites. We have Soul, R&B, Reggae, Smooth Jazz and Gospel flavors.

How has the ‘business’ of being a professional musician changed for you over the years?

I have learned the value of being an Independent as an Artist. I love show business!

What’s changed for me over these years is learning how to be the show and the business!

How do you utilize social media?

Admittedly my Social media skills lack. I put a new dedicated team in place to help and we are seeing good results.

You have a live gig coming up soon in Hollywood, CA. Tell us about your experience performing live and how it differs from work in the recording studio.

The studio is where we make and capture thee song! The piece that hopefully lives on forever. Live performance is where you make fans! Live is where you have the experience.

Personally, I like intimate venues. Clubs like Catalina Jazz Club give me the advantage of being able to connect with the audience in a personal way.

Who were your early influences?

My Influences are too vast to list in total so I will share my top 10: Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cook, Smokey Robinson, Bill Withers, James Brown and Luther Vandross.

How did you get started in music and when did you know it would be your career?

I got started in music because my aunts and uncles were musicians in bands in San Diego.

I loved watching them perform. My uncle Andrew Gholston Jr who’s a year younger than I, gets the credit for what I’m doing today. He was my mentor and played a pivotal role in helping me get my life together in Japan. It wasn’t until 2012 when I released my first album and made us Readers Choice Album Of The year Selection. That’s when I began to think we might be onto something.

What are some of your plans for 2023?

I’m going to release the new Album “Soul On Fire” on 2/14/2023. Our plan is to travel to every city and country we can to promote the Soul On Fire album. I will continue writing and recording as well. We may very well end up with a third album to release in 24!

Keep up with Joe Leavy on his website, here.

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