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Samara Joy, a 23-year-old jazz singer from the Bronx, New York, won best new artist at the 2023 Grammy Awards on Sunday night. There were 10 artists nominated in the category, including Anitta, Omar Apollo, Muni Long and Latto.
Olivia Rodrigo, who won in the category at last year’s show, presented the award, describing it as “an award that has gone to heroes of mine, from The Beatles to Billie Eilish … It will always be a shining moment in my life.”
Upon hearing her name as winner, two-time Grammy nominated Joy was visibly surprised and excited; when accepting the award onstage, she acknowledged the talent in the room, thanking everyone for their contributions to the music industry, saying, “all of you are so inspiring to me.”
“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,” Joy said, adding: “To be here because of who I am … to be here by just being myself, by just being who I was born as, I’m so thankful.”
The singer, who was born into a musical family, also thanked her grandparents and her father; her paternal grandparents, Elder Goldwire and Ruth McClendon, were founders of Philadelphia gospel group The Savettes.
Joy wore a red leather dress and a braided updo to accept her award Sunday night.
In a post-win interview in the press room, Joy said: “[Some of] my biggest inspirations were in the room, as far as being confident in who you are and singing your own song, not letting anybody tell you what to do, being your own boss — Beyoncé and Lizzo, to name a few.”
The artist, who started singing jazz roughly six years ago, also spoke about what first drew her to the genre and how she hopes to encourage the younger generation to get excited about it. “What drew me to jazz was the authenticity of it, I love the fact that people like Sarah Vaughan just stood in who they were, confidently, and sang … I’m looking forward to giving back hopefully to my high school — I went to public school my whole life, so I would love to go back to my schools in the Bronx and give a performance, or start a partnership, or invite them to shows … just sharing passion, sharing that dreams can come true.”
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