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‘They say do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, and I say… do what you love and you’ll never have a day off!’
Judi Jackson has an infectious energy and, as a self-confessed ‘old soul’, sings as if she’s laying bare a life that’s been lived far beyond her 26 years. She performs both jazz greats and her own material with a distinctive style that’s earning her a reputation as one of London’s most talented emerging jazz artists – Judi was nominated for this year’s Jazz FM Awards Vocalist of the Year.
Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Judi grew up surrounded by music. She reminisces about the many incredible musicians who visited her high school classroom, of receiving a box of CDs by some of the jazz greats from virtuoso trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, and of opening for gospel legend, Mavis Staples when she was just 16.
One of Judi’s heroines is Billie Holiday whose inimitable and powerful voice she so admires. ‘She might not have had the biggest range’, Judi says, ‘but the power and story-telling in her voice is unmatched. Even long after she’s gone, people are still praising her, and I find that fascinating.’
Judi has a degree in theatre and musical theatre, which she credits for her physicality and ability to connect with people. Judi’s performances not only showcase her incredible vocals but a mesmerising stage presence and such natural interaction with the crowd as to leave you wanting to be her friend. ‘My friends always joke that I’m a magnet that attracts good’, Judi laughs.
A resident of London since 2017, Judi says that there are so many things she loves about the city; ‘the people, the energy, the water, the parks, the music scene… .’ And of course, The Savoy. ‘It’s such a special place, I cried the first time I did the show. It is such an honour to be here and to be asked to do this.’ However Judi knows that she deserves this and says she balances being humble and thankful with immense pride of the work that she’s put in to get where she is today.
What can you expect from one of Judi’s performances here at The Savoy? ‘It’s going to be jazz’, she says with her trademark whimsical tone. ‘It’s going to be beautiful! Expect love, healing, jazz, soul, rock, blues, musical theatre, and laughs. And above all, expect to be surprised’.
Judi Jackson, Savoy Musician in Residence, performs in the Thames Foyer on Thursday 20 June and Thursday 18 July 2019. Tickets are £25 per person* and available here:
*Minimum spend of £20 per person required.