By 65th Annual Grammy Awards, jazz soprano Samara Joy McLendon from the Bronx in New York City won the Best New Artist trophy. Along with Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMi & JD Beck, Muni Long, Latto, Maneskin, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle and Wet Leg, she was nominated in the same category. The award was given to the artist by Olivia Rodrigo, a previous recipient of the same designation.

The 2023 Grammys performer acknowledged her deep surprise and gratitude at winning the award in her acceptance speech.

she stated:

“I have followed you on TV for a long time… Thank you so much for this award and thank you to everyone who has listened and supported me… I am grateful to be here because of who I am… to be here just by being myself, by being who I was born to be.”

Samara received Best Jazz Vocal Album in addition to Best New Artist for her latest single, Linger Awhile.

The Complete Samara McLendon, Joy

Samara Joy McLendon was raised in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. She was raised in a musical family and was born on November 11, 1999. Her grandparents, Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, sang in the Philadelphia gospel group The Savettes. She told NPR that all of her close family members were musically inclined.

She stated:

“My father is a bass musician, so there was a lot of funk, soul and R&B. But he was also the one who mostly grew up in the church and played in the church.”

Motivated by her musical heritage to pursue music as a major, McLendon enrolled in the State University of New York’s jazz studies program. She received lessons from trumpeter and pedagogue Jon Faddis there. Samara rose to prominence during her senior year at Fordham High School for the Arts. She performed with the school’s jazz band and took first place in the “Essentially Ellington” competition held at Fordham University in New York City.

Samara McLendon, a vocalist who has continued to be successful, received the 2019 International Jazz Vocalist Award. She earned her magna cum laude degree in 2021 and released her debut studio album with Matt Pierson, who would eventually become her manager, Samara Joy. She also shared other TikTok performances during this time that went viral and had over a million views. Her second album, Stay a whilewhich was released in 2022, gave her a Grammy.

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