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Table Talk w/J. Daughtry of ‘Miss Saigon’

What’s to say about the legendary Tony Award winning Broadway extravaganza that will always and forever be Miss Saigon besides, well, everything??

Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil‘s (see also Les Miserables) powerful musical about an extraordinary Asian woman named Kim and an American G.I, Chris, who’s also the father of Kim’s child, Tam, Miss Saigon is the absolute reason why we must put all of our troubles aside and head to the Academy of Music while the national touring production is in its final week of Philly domination until this Sunday, March 31st. 

Oh, yeah, there’s also a helicopter that flies onto the stage, a feast of pearl clutching dance routines and straight up life moments you’ll never forget, so you should get those tickets just to see…all of that. And yes, that actual image in your head of a helicopter flying onto the Academy of Music stage at this very Broadway moment in time is most likely accurate..so, grab everyone you know and go. 

But of course, a brilliantly incredible cast is another reason–if not the reason–to fly away with Miss Saigon while it’s still here, and this tremendously talented (and, like, so much more) cast is no exception as they truly gel and groove on stage together while taking the audience on an explosive entertainment ride of a lifetime. 

One of those esteemed cast members (you can meet them all right here) is fine Broadway actor J. Daughtry, whom some of you may recognize from Motown the Musical and The Color Purple. However, all of us certainly know him now from this riveting traveling production (it’s the last one, too!!) thanks to his powerful (and that voice!!) turn as Chris’ best friend, John

Mr. Daughtry was recently kind enough to take a grand seat at the Philly Mixtape tea table, where he broke Miss Saigon mugs about his humble banker-to-actor beginnings, why positive energy and light is crucial in the entertainment world, and why being part of an iconic show such as this one truly a big deal….because it really, really is. 

So, get those tickets while you can…but first, get to know the finely tuned and talented Mr. J. Daughtry right..now. 

Kicking off our spill, break some mugs for everyone on how you got your start on musical theater…. It actually goes back to when the banks crashed…I was a banker before I did this. So, when [they] crashed, things went crazy and the only fallback I had was my love for the theater. So, one thing led to another and I was in New York doing Broadway a little bit down the road. 

From banker to actor…that must have been one hell of a transition… It was rough! It took a couple of years for me to actually transition, I was living in DC and I was working for what was then Wachovia bank, which turned into Wells Fargo. I was a small business banker and our quotas went crazy and people were doing all kinds of illegal stuff to just stay afloat. So, I decided to leave the bank and not do any illegal stuff….but didn’t have a new job to fall back on. [After}, I started teaching music theory at a private Christian school in Maryland. While I was there, the music teacher passed away, so the principal of the school came to me and asked me to cover the chorus class until [they] found somebody. I said yes and began teaching it…and it was a lot of work to be doing! So, one day the principal came in just to check on the class and saw me teaching and said, ‘Mr. Daughtry, can I talk to you?” I thought I was getting fired!! She then said…’You’re really good at this…good to the point that this is what you should be doing.” Then she said that she would give me three days a week off and would bring in a substitute for me but made me promise her that I would use those three days to go to New York and audition. So, that’s what I did for an entire summer and from there it’s pretty much been job after job! 

I’m always one to say..funny how life works out even in the most unfortunate circumstances… Life had to get me into a position to be aligned in order to allow a flow to happen for things to just start coming! Sometimes I look back at the things that I’ve done and just think how it’s important to do a good job in that moment. Focus on what you’re doing now, make sure you’re doing a great job and consider that to be a seed and then it will pay off in the future..it has to pay off in some way. 

And getting back the vibes that you put out is always key… Everything is energy and it will return to you in whatever way that you give it. Even in relationships..the way we treat each other. The energy that you’re giving to somebody is going to be returned to you in some type of way..you have to be mindful of all of it. 

Okay, let’s talk about…this show. How does it feel to be a part of, well, this show?? So, this is the last time Miss Saigon will be on the road with this production team..this is the last go around! It’s a big deal to even be considered to even play the role of John because I knew that it was the last showing. [The producers] really wanted people who could really tell the story the way they envisioned it to be. Even now because the show is such a big show, when you’re on the stage every night you still feel how grand this moment is and how just to be a part of something so big is really important….and is really a big deal!

Speaking of big deals, Miss Saigon is certainly just that and some as it’s completely taken a hold of the city now starting in its second week. How do you and the cast maintain the energy every night during a lengthy run like this versus a week-long showing? In any show, it really depends on the cast. This cast in particular is passionate about this show and of their ow work, so they bring that to the stage every night and it keep it all going. No person is left behind, so to speak…we’re all giving it everything we have each and every night. We all completely throw ourselves into these roles and that’s truly what keeps the show alive no matter the length of the run. It’s also going back to the energy you give out and each cast member brings what they have and we just bounce the energy off of each other. 

Last but not least…please tell me the cast will have a little time to check out the city during your run…There are some rehearsals during the day, but they’re only for a few hours so we do get to experience every city that we’re in…including Philly! 

And there you have it, kids. For much more with the incredibly talented J. Daughtry…get those tickets to see Miss Saigon during its final week at the Academy of Music this week..right here, right now

For much more Philly loves Broadway truth and beyond, own the spotlight with Philly Mixtape right here and here

J. Daughtry cover photo courtesy of Kimmel Center 

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Table Talk w/UPSAHL

Fierce, fiery, and let’s definitely not leave out…flawless in both beauty and talent. 

Yes, music kids and kweens, those are just a few of the choice words and phrases (along with buffets of others) we can and should come up with to describe the…everything served up by red-hot-and-rising twenty-year old singer and songwriter, UPSAHL

And guess what, Philly? She’s taking all of her everything and more and putting it on the coveted Johnny Brenda’s stage tonight alongside Max Frost (8 pm…get those tickets) as just one of the many amplified stops on her currently slaying national tour. 

But before Ms. UPSAHL takes a hold of your live music lives tonight, (and that she promises to do), she was kind enough to take a splendid seat at the Philly Mixtape tea table, where she broke fancy Lennox mugs about her music roots, artistic influences and her powerful new single, “Drugs,” which is indeed for anyone, anywhere who really, really indulges in…simply fabulous grooves. Really, who doesn’t?? 

Get lost in at all while saying hello to UPSAHL right about…now. 

Okay, starting off our little spill, toss a couple of mugs on the floor in telling everyone the tale of how you kicked off your music journey…Doing music was never really a choice that I made, it was more of a thing that I just had to do. Growing up, my dad was in punk bands, and I had a band room in my house, so making music really just became second nature for me. After I graduated high school, I wanted to start pursuing music full time, so I moved to Los Angeles and started writing every day. Now, I have an EP out, and I’m having such a rad time on tour! 

Which musicians inspired you on your music path and on a daily basis? Growing up, I listened to a lot alternative bands like Weezer and Spoon, and I think that edgier influence sneaks its way into each of my songs in some way. Currently, I’ve been listening to a lot of OutKast, Radiohead, and Mac Miller. 

Getting a little Oprah-ish for a sec, why do you personally feel that being authentically who you are in today’s crazy current industry climate means everything? How about some words of inspiration for all of those out there who are just getting started like yourself…. I think the most important part of doing anything and trying to be successful at it is that everything you are putting out there should be true to who you are, regardless of what anyone tells you. At the end of the day, if you put out music that you aren’t obsessed with, you’re not going to enjoy performing it, and the fans are going to see that. I also feel like there are already people in the music world that have a lane and are absolutely killing it at what they do, so why would you try to replicate that if it already exists? I think my biggest piece of advice to artists would be to trust that your individuality is what is going to make people care about your music, relate to your music, and want to become a part of your world. 
Switching gears to a little touring talk, what pre-show rituals do you do to get even more hype for those coveted stage spotlights? I like to be very distracted for the last hour leading up to the show, or else I’ll start overthinking everything and freaking out. I normally try to wait to get ready until the show is about to start. There’s something about the energy of just being in the moment and not really being able to think about it until you’re there that makes performing so much more special for me.  
How’s the tour been going so far? And what can your fans expect from your set tonight at Johnny Brenda’s?!! This tour has been so fun so far. I’ve always loved performing, but being on the road and getting to play in a different city every day is totally surreal. I can not wait for the show in Philly! I guess fans should just be ready to have a good time during my set. There are high energy moments where everyone should be dancing, there are intimate and acoustic moments, and there are moments where everyone should be screaming “Drugs” as loud as they can. It’s just one big emotional roller coaster that we all get to go through together- can’t wait!
Last but certainly not least…..your attention slash headphones grabbing new groove, “Drugs”….spill. I wrote “Drugs” in a session with Killa Graham and Sean Kennedy, two producer/writers that I work with a lot. We had just gotten to the session and were just talking about parties, and Sean jokingly said, “Yeah we used to only go to the parties if we knew their would be drugs there.” There was a moment where we all kind of looked at each other and were like, “Well, looks like we’re writing a song called ‘Drugs’ today.” The song happened really quickly from there, and I have never been more proud to be a part of a song before. 
And your 2019 and beyond ambition in one word or sassy little phrase would be…Eat more sushi.
There you have it, kids. For much more with Ms. UPSAUL, go see her with Max Frost at Johnny Brenda’s tonight at 8 pm!! Oh, and check this out…now. 
Are you a local or legendary entertainer who’s simply slaying it in your craft? Then don’t be shy and spill some music tea with Philly Mixtape right here and here! The world would love to hear from you!! 

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Table Talk w/Shelley Segal

Great company…...Mom’s house……lots of great music…your best friend’s house when their parents were out of town….and of course, the legendary comedy stylings of the one-and-only, Kid-N-Play

Yes, these are all of the delightful (and most nostalgic!!) elements that spring to mind whenever we hear the phrase, House Party.

Isn’t that right, every guy in the ’90s who had the classic Kid haircut? You know you did. 

However, since we all know that history has a fancy way of repeating itself (minus that ‘do), the term house party has actually come quite to reinvented life as of late and can now be reveled in as a rising live music genre that isn’t so much keg stands…..as it is more an intimate gathering of friends and fam who just want to hang out and vibe along to some really groovy jams.

Plus, there’s snacks involved! See? Just like Mom’s house. 

Tonight, sassy, spunky Aussie diva Shelley Segal (you must go here) are about to take over the spotlight, err, living room at a private house soiree right here in Philly with her dreamy, folk-ed up music vibes (it’s top secret, but Ms. Shelley might have you covered if you click this), but before she takes a seat to wow twenty-to-thirty of her closest friends, she stopped by to spill with Philly Mixtape about her background, why live music is just so damn important in her life and our lives, and also why we (meaning..you) should ALL be paying attention to the private “house party” scene not just in Philly, but all over because a tremendous talent might be taking over right next door to you…and we all need to be ready. 

But for right now, this tremendous talent is about to spill all of the music tea, so, please, break those live music mugs for the fabulous, Shelley Segal

First, spill for everyone a little bit about your sauce-y musical background…. I grew up in a musical family, so I was surrounded by music from an early age. I used to do my homework at my dad’s band rehearsals. He is a singer and violin player and he had a Jewish function band that would play at weddings, bar-mitzvahs, anniversaries, parties. So, basically my dad was Adam Sandler! I always loved singing – there is a video of me singing Phil Collins’ Gwoovy Kind of Wuv at 2 and half years old. I started writing songs at 11 – the same year I started singing in my Dad’s band. I played piano and guitar and I started performing my original material when I was 15 around venues in my hometown of Melbourne as well as regular cover gigs. Life is good! 

Who are some of your favorite musicians you’ve looked up to for inspiration along your path? My favorite artists growing up were fierce female songwriters like Alanis Morissette and Ani Difranco, Sarah Mclachlan. I also loved rootsy sounds like Ben Harper and I was always most inspired by artists that had something to say. Katie Noonan from Aussie band George. I also loved singers with huge powerful voices like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. During college, I got into singing jazz standards at gigs and fell in love with greats –Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone. I was also very inspired by Frank Zappa – another artist with so much to say. Nowadays, I still look to folk artists for my inspiration. Prolific song writers like Mark Kozelek and stunning soundscapes from Tiny Ruins and Brighter Later.
Now, let’s dish about the house party scene in Philly…..many may not know actually know that it’s actually quite alive and thriving. In your own fierce words, how would you best describe it? House parties are really one of the most amazing ways to share music. It’s intimate, audiences are open as are the artists and it’s a very special connection that can be made. You can sit closer than at any venue and hang out with the artists afterwards. My host for this upcoming event has held concerts at his house before so it can become a regular stop on your tour. Folks bring food, take photos, I’ve even had a post gig jam at a house concert before! 
Live music is SUCH a key ingredient in surviving damn life itself. What was the first concert you ever went to and what did it do to help direct your music path? I used to go see live music with my parents from a very young age but the first concert I went to that was for an artist I really wanted to see was when a friend took me to see Jewel. She was all by herself, just singing with her guitar at the Palais Theatre – one of my favorite venues and she absolutely owned the stage. It was powerful to see what was possible in that regard. I love going to see shows and getting lost in the stories and songs. When I hear a good artist it makes me feel like it was exactly what I needed. Sometimes I feel so inspired I have to run outside to record something on my phone because it gives me so many ideas for songs when I hear things done perfectly.

What’s on your agenda for the rest of this year or maybe the next couple of years? This year is absolutely crazy! I am releasing my 6th original project HOLY‘ this month and am currently in the middle of a 25 date US tour! I’ll be traveling soon to London to perform a new anthem that I created for Ex-Muslims. In May, I’ll be doing a West Coast Tour for HOLY, then traveling to Australia to tour the record and see friends and family. I’m also working hard on my patron account – a subscription service where I share new content each week with my subscribers. I’ve also started running group song writing sessions with my fans/subscribers which has been really amazing. I’ll be touring and releasing each year growing bigger! I also want to release more home recordings and activist music such as The Watershed – a conservation EP I’ve written with biologist Dan Lombardo. Lots of cool collaborations coming!
What can Philly fans expect from your upcoming show tonight??! Fans can expect to see an old school folk experience mixed with a rocky edge. Lots of story-telling, acoustic guitars, protest songs that meld into heavier mercurial moments, belting, growling over fast paced strumming. Songs that will challenge you, make you think, express and elicit a love of life and also make you feel beautiful! 
And there you have it, kids. For much more with the fabulous Ms. Shelley Segal, you should absolutely check this out..right now

 

Are you a local or legendary entertainer who’s simply slaying it in your craft? Well, don’t ever be shy about any of it and take a fabulous seat at the table with Philly Mixtape right here and here and let’s spill about it…all. Sound good? Always. 

Ms. Shelley Segal cover photo courtesy of Mixtape Media, LLC