BWW Interview: Chatting and Singin' With DANI ARMSTRONG From POSTMODERN JUKEBOX
Scott Bradlee created Postmodern Jukebox back in 2009. Since then the amazing collaborative project has drawn more than 740 million YouTube views and 2.7 million subscribers. They have had multiple chart topping songs on iTunes that have lead them to play to tens of thousands at sold-out houses around the world. They are coming back to Birmingham this Sunday for an exciting one night only performance at Iron City.
Included in the amazing line up of performers is rock and roll diva Dani Armstrong. This smooth singer hails from the south side of Detroit Michigan. She was born into being a singer naturally for both her parents are musicians. Growing up her parents booking gigs performing 70's covers was business as usual. Her parents musical passion caught on with Dani at a very young age. Her first taste of working as a singer was joining her parents on stage at four years old to sing "You Light up my Life." Armstrong thinks back with fond memories. "My brother is also a musician so we kinda were the Von Trapp's. My brother played guitar, my Mom played drums and piano, My Dad plays keys and I sing away. It's a musical family for sure." At eighteen she landed a singing gig and moved to California and has been making music. Her jumping onboard with PMJ has produced her amazing renditions of The Police's "Roxanne" and Weezers "Say It Aint So". I had an opportunity to chat with Armstrong before her show and talk more about her journey
Armstrong's origin story of how she connected with Postmodern Jukebox is one of those unbelievable Hollywood moments. One fateful night Jack Danni was performing at the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills. It was a whole night of music but she was on the bill to sing just one song; Alicia Keys "If I Aint Got You". She got up like a pro and sang her heart out and went home. Just business as usual right? The next morning she gets an email from the manager of PMJ. "He had just happened to of come into the restaurant at that one moment. He had heard me sing and chased me down through ten people. By 9:30am the next morning he was offering me a job with Post Modern Jukebox. It really is one of those amazing Hollywood discovery stories that you never think happens that you scoff at, and then it happened to me!"
She is a belter with a full rich voice. I asked her to share her feelings when she really connects with a song? "You can't even really describe it. You are aware your feet are on the ground but you are looking from the world from a different place. Especially with PMJ because they are taking songs that everyone knows and putting them back in time." I asked her to tell me more about that feeling of stepping back in time when performing with Postmodern Jukebox. "Scott Bradlee is able to do something I can't even comprehend. He so authentically recreates these genres with songs you would never think of that way. He places them perfectly. Hears the song you want to remake and he just comes up with it an arrangement. He literally just sits down at the piano. He doesn't pull out any sheet music". If you have heard any PMJ music you can attest to Bradlee's creativity in producing wonderful musical hybrids. "His fingers just start tingling the piano and it lands in the genre, and you go oh my gosh, well of course "Say it Aint so" by Weezer is a touch song. He just hears these arrangements." Many artists have developed songs combining genres before. Dani Armstrong finds a special spark in working with Bradlee's arrangments. "Scott somehow is able to perfectly and authentically recapture the sound of these older genres of music with todays music."
When asked what can people expect with artists and songs on the new tour, Armstrong gives a heartfelt reflection. "I am just super lucky to of worked with most of these people before. I've worked with LaVance Colley, Robin Adele Anderson and Von Smith before. One of the new performers who has entered our fold is Vonzell Solomon. She was a 3rd runner up on American Idol season four, and she is a powerhouse, just bringin it! She has some incredible songs in our set. She is an extraordinary addition to the family. We have a brand new girls number to debut on this tour, which we are so excited about. Its gonna be a big surprise for everybody and I am trying hard not to give it away."
As we wrapped up our conversation she shared her laughs and smiles and tons of enthusiasm to be performing in this tour. "This has been a really magical process cuz we are bringing a lot of new music that people have never heard at a PMJ show before." This looks to be an amazing night of music. Best to break out your vintage dresses and zoot suits.
Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox
Sunday October 22
Door at 7p
Show at 8p
$30.00 - $35.00
Tickets and info please call (205) 202-5483 or visit www.ironcitybham.com
513 22nd St S
Birmingham, AL 35233
Photo Credits - Dani Armstrong