Samara Joy Wins Grammys for Best New Artist, Best New Jazz Vocal Album


​Samara Joy gives her acceptance speech at the Grammys on Feb. 5.

(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Jazz vocalist Samara Joy was crowned Best New Artist during this year’s Grammy Awards on Feb. 5. The deeply emotive singer also won Best New Jazz Vocal Album for her critically acclaimed 2022 recording Linger Awhile (Verve), featuring guitarist Pasquale Grasso, pianist Ben paterson, bassist David Wong and drummer Kenny Washington. Linger Awhile finds Joy updating beloved songs with a modern twist, sometimes singing original lyrics using the melodies of famous instrumental solos, a style known as vocalese.

Joy performed “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood” at the Grammys Premiere Ceremony, held during the afternoon on Feb. 5, prior to the evening telecast.

“I’ve been watching y’all on TV for so long,” Joy said to fans and fellow artists during her acceptance speech. “I’ve been singing all my life. … Thank you so much for this honor. Thank you to everyone who has listened to me and supported me. All of you are so inspiring to me. … You express yourselves for exactly who you are, authentically. So to be here by just being myself, by just being who I was born as, I’m so thankful.”

A 2021 graduate of Purchase College, Joy won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (using her last name, McLendon) in 2019, while she was still a student. While attending Fordham High School for the Arts in New York, the Bronx native performed regularly with the jazz band and won Best Vocalist at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition.

For more information on winners of the 2023 Grammy Awards, click here. DB

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