Nominee for Independent Jazz Artist of the Year – 13th Annual LA Music Awards
Chicago born, Pine Bluff, AR raised, Joy Rushing admits to being blessed as a natural in music; having inherited similar dulcet tones and vocal range as her mother, who has an operatic voice. Her Dad and Mom made sure she had the training her talent deserved.
Youthful membership in and the discipline of performing with Joy’s home church choir; including award winning tours gave her a sound basis for her vocal abilities. In junior high and high school; plays, shows and dramatic clubs were the foundation for the parallel career as an actress. She would lullaby babies in the neighborhood to sleep. Joy has pageant awards to show for her additional hard work in entertainment.
Joy migrated to Texas for her college years and began to pursue a career in fashion as a clientele booked, by appointment, personal shopper for women who enjoy the luxuries of stores like Sak’s and Bloomie’s. Meeting Miss Rushing or seeing her perform for the first time will forever leave you convinced that her sense of couture is still there as a high personal style.
Joy felt she was drowning on dry land. So.. a decade ago, Rushing let her high end, rag biz day jobs transport her to the major entertainment center of the Big Apple. She started to get some country club gigs there due to her door knocking persistence and knowing the quality she represents.
Could California be far behind? Nope! More dues to be paid by Joy; stylizing Palos Verdes women and hostessing in a popular seafood eatery and night spot in Redondo Beach. Along the way, Joy Rushing landed as an on camera extra in the film Rock Star. (When you see her, ask, she’ll tell you right where to freeze frame your video.)
Joy is not just a name but the attitude that permeates this woman’s persona. Even relating the rough spots in her career is with a smile on her face and a gracious tone.
Of course there are anecdotes. Joy’s favorites are firstly about a co-performer during an early country club appearance who was so off key he forced Joy to sing complete harmony to finish the gig. (She’s the star!) The incident proved to her that she had more on the spot talent than she had previously given herself credit for.
In complete embarrassment, Joy coyly relates that one time, during some high notes, her cocktail dress strap stopped cooperating and she came busting out all over!
Joy revels in the memories of her Verdugo Swing Society appearances a few summers ago. For her, the audiences of 1,000 or so bopping to the beat were manna! Joy has done Big Band Alumni appearances in the San Fernando Valley. Joy was a regular at Diva Night at Chasen’s and has appeared at Maestro’s plus the Palm’s hotel
The Joy Rushing of today still receives joys from watching her audience savor the nostalgia represented in the jazz, standards and ballads that are foremost in her repertoire. Rushing relates: “For an hour or so, my kind of people are reliving, vicariously, the love and romance of a more wholesome and better time.”
Joy’s voice has matured to contain characteristics of the late Julie London and today’s Diana Krall. Add bits of Liza for extra verve.
Joy’s favorite musical partner is classically trained pianist, electronic keyboardist, Rick Michael. Joy says: “Rick has the uncanny knack to know where I am at any give moment. Our relationship is symbiotic. Rick is a God send to me!”
Also possessing a great voice for a Sinatra tune in the show, Rick is at the keyboard whenever the two of them can mesh their busy individual schedules. (Fans will be glad to know it is often!) Rounding out Joy’s Jolly Trio is bassist Lesllie Baker and jazz percussionist/drummer, Billy Paul.
Joy’s last name is also part of her personality. Her day planner juggles club and casual music gigs with often several days in front of the camera; including, at times, for two of the major small screen moguls Aaron Spellilng and Dave E. Kelly. Rushing yes, but always to give 110%!
Joy Rushing was a guest at the Cannes Film Festival this year. One night at the Martinez Hotel, La Sass Cafe, Joy was recognized by Jimmy, a premier blues musician, who knew Joy’s Dad way back in Pine Bluff. He immediately asked Joy to sit in. Music flew from these two! Next year Joy returns to Cannes with her own gig.
Since 9/11, Joy has put red, white & blue pizzazz in her jazz by adding patriotic songs to her act to the delight of her audiences. She is a Red Cross volunteer, auditioned for the USO and has sold a CD with profits going to New York and DC.
Where are you Rushing Joy? “To the top!”
As told to Erik Gerhardt