Brett comes from a most musical family; one grandfather played trombone in big bands with Tommy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye and Ted Lewis. His other grandfather sang and used to open for Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey band. His grandmother was a classical pianist and his father is a singer. Nobody needs debate whether or not talent can be genetic. His family seems to prove that. When you hear Boyd play some of his favorite songs like, "Is It True What They Say About Dixie?" and a song written for him by Paul Scott titled "Waiting For The Rain," his style and eloquence can be compared to someone five times his age. Many have said his "old soul" quality puts him high above the rest.
Brett Boyd began "gigging" at the young age of 15. At age 19, he's already performed at Birdland, Ars Nova Theatre, the Pink Room @ Club Black, Deerhead Inn, and the Supper Club. He's opened for folk superstar Christine Lavin and has played for sensational artists like George Benson, Liza Minnelli, Betty Comden, Irwin Drake, Michael Feinstein, Lucie Arnaz, Lodi Carr and many others.
Brett's intense drive and passion for his art has taken him to extreme heights for someone who's only been in the business for 4-5 years, and we have yet to see where Brett Boyd is headed next. His love lies not only in his music, but also in film and theatre. He's currently writing a screenplay with composer Paul Scott, developing a TV project, and working on a musical that is set to open September 2006.
Knowing how exciting and dangerously risky the music world can be, I sat down with Brett to ask him a few questions on his adventures thus far:
JAZZREVIEW: Brett, thank you for agreeing to this interview. I'm very excited to hear your answers to some of my questions.
BRETT BOYD: You're excited? Hell, I'm excited to be interviewed! I can't wait; lets get started (laugh)!
JAZZREVIEW: I know you've only been at this five years or so, but you must have one moment so far that you will always remember. What is it?
BRETT BOYD: Oh, this is my favorite question! I love answering this one. [laughs] Back in 2003, I attended a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. All these great singers were performing in tribute to the foundation and in tribute to one of the most remarkable songwriting teams, John Kander & Fred Ebb (known as Kander & Ebb). Liza Minnelli was performing, someone I admire very much, Lanie Kazan, Judy Collins, so many great talents. After the show, I stayed for the after-party reception upstairs with a friend of mine who went with me. I was mingling with a few people and noticed John Kander in the distance. He didn't seem very busy so I walked over and figured "Hey! I'm gonna get the chance to talk to this songwriting legend! The guy who wrote ‘Cabaret’ and ‘New York, New York.’" I mean, what an honor! So I walked over and was talking to him for quite some time. He actually told me that my name was a great name for showbiz! I was so pumped. But then it gets better. He turns me around and says "Brett, I have a friend I'd like to introduce you to. "Liza, this is Brett Boyd and he's got a jazz band!" I was in heaven, I mean John Kander of all people introducing ME to Liza Minnelli. It was one of the best moments of my life, let alone my career!
JAZZREVIEW: I don't think many people have a story like that except for maybe Robert Dinero or Dudley Moore (laugh)! But let me ask you, speaking of admiring other artists, who do you admire when it comes to singing and trumpet playing?
BRETT BOYD: Well, here's another one I love to answer. You see most people would say things like "Oh, I love Louis Armstrong on trumpet and I love Frank Sinatra as a singer"." I don't think an answer could get more predictable than that one. On the other hand, I feel very differently. Although I greatly respect Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, my musical idols are people you may not expect. As far as trumpet playing goes, I'm very particular. I absolutely LOVE this guy named Bob Leive. I play banjo with his jazz band occasionally and he's by far the best trumpet player I've ever heard in my life, and I listen to a lot of jazz trumpet players! He's the best; it’s not even an opinion. He just is! When it comes to singers, I don't like a lot of male singers. I find most of them boring and not very exciting. I like Harry Connick, Jr. and Mel Torme very much, as I also love Jimmy Scott, who I think phrases better than any other male singer out there. I am not going to deny it; I also love Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. Not because I want to literally BE them (laugh), but because their level of artistry has yet to be matched by anyone, in my opinion. They capture songs the way nobody else does. And I have to quickly say that I recently got a terrific complement from a new friend of mine Phil Bulla, who is Grammy nominated recording engineer - he told me that my sound was a mix of Mel Torme & Judy Garland - I mean does it get any better than that?
JAZZREVIEW: I don't think so, you sure seem to be gettin' around! Grammy-nominated recording engineers? Are you hinting that an album is soon to be recorded possibly?
BRETT BOYD: Well (laugh), I spoke to him the other day and he said that after his recording sessions with trumpet icon Maynard Ferguson, we will get together to discuss recording possibilities. Maynard Ferguson!!! I'm telling you, I feel so blessed to have my music in such great hands!
JAZZREVIEW: Are you religious?
BRETT BOYD: Oh, yes. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the Lord. I think religion is very important, no matter what religion. I think it’s very important to at least be spiritual. I only say this because I've questioned things in the past, and after I met two angels, I've sort of not doubted the fact that there is a God and that he loves me, and he loves everyone!
JAZZREVIEW: You've met angels?
BRETT BOYD: Oh yes, two of them. One I met in New Orleans of all places (laugh), one of my favorite places on Earth! The other I met on a family vacation to Martha's Vineyard. It's hard to go into all the details right now, but believe me, angels are real and they are loving. God is loving and he accepts everyone, no matter what race, religion or belief. And it's funny because I find in life that if I try to love even those who "hate" or dislike me, it never ends up badly. I'm happy to say I have no enemies. This is because I try to love those who don't like me, and they start to realize that for whatever reason they didn't like me, I'm not half bad (laugh). But that's cause they don't know me well enough (laughing).
JAZZREVIEW: Well, that sounds like a whole other interview in itself. What is in the cards for you now that high school is over?
BRETT BOYD: Oh boy, I'm so pumped! On July 26th I'll be in Haledon, NJ performing at Colucci's Ristorante with my new comeback concert I'm calling "Brett Boyd: Sings, Swings & Entertains." I figure now that I'm done with school for the most part, I'm going to jump back into performing for good this time. No turning back. And I'm starting it at Colucci's. So please everyone COME AND SEE ME...I'm doing this for all of you, so I'd like to see you there (laugh)! Then I'm going to work on the screenplay, and a television show!
JAZZREVIEW: Sounds like a blast! Where can people go to keep up with your performances?
BRETT BOYD: Well, I've given in to the MySpace generation (laugh)...you can visit me on the World Wide Web by going to the internet and typing in www.myspace.com/brettboyd. I'm there, and I probably always will be, even in cyber-form (laugh).
JAZZREVIEW: Brett, thank you so very much! I can't wait to come see you perform!
BRETT BOYD: Well, come on down July 26th, I'll be there (laugh)!
JAZZREVIEW: I will most certainly try! Thank you so much Brett. And for all those who read this, you can visit Brett on his MySpace page, which I will repeat is www.myspace.com/brettboyd. His current concert schedule is as follows:
JULY 26th 2006 - 7:30pm - Colucci's Ristorante in Haledon, NJ "Brett Boyd: Sings, Swings & Entertains!"
OCTOBER 7th 2006 - 4:00pm - The Sugarloaf Fall Festival - Sugarloaf, NY