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Creating a modern classic on a digital platform

Doug Butchy

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is a YouTube sensation.  Bradlee grew up in New Jersey listening to jazz while his friends listened to rap and grunge. He wanted to be a jazz musician, but after his career as piano player didn’t pan out, he decided that he would do something different. He was going to turn pop songs into jazz songs.

One example of his work is the group’s cover of Celine Dion’s song “My Heart Will Go On.” They cover appears on their album “Swipe Right for Vintage.”

“When I take apart the lyrics and look at it, it’s really just a 1950s song,” says Bradlee. “You can imagine someone like Jackie Wilson singing it.”


If any music group has capitalized on using YouTube, it might be Postmodern Jukebox. Bradlee says the group owes its success to the site.


“(YouTube)is a place where great content will be found and will be shared,” he says. “If you can engage your fan base and get them excited about what you’re doing, you’re going to have all of the success in the world.”



When the group goes on the road, they bring an emcee along.  They try to bring back the old days of making a show an engaging experience, rather than having the audience just observing  it. Bradlee wants to involve the crowd in what they’re doing. Lots of groups have been trying to get back into that retro aesthetic, though large groups of fans have called them hipsters or even fakes. Bradlee says he isn’t worried about people thinking that they aren’t being seen as authentic.


“There’s always gonna be people who look at it on YouTube and they’ll be like ‘These guys are just recording in a living room. It’s a silly kind of thing.’ The thing is, anyone that goes and sees the live show, they’re going to see how much authenticity there is and how much love for the music we all share.”

Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Lorde and Miley Cyrus have all been graced with Postmodern Jukebox covers. Each song has its own varied style and different cast of musicians. Bradlee finds the right people for each song from his career as a jazz musician.


The only thing he’d do differently is get in the game sooner.


“I probably would have started on YouTube earlier, but I’m extremely happy with how everything’s worked but and it’s been an exciting, wild ride.”


The group performs at Harris Concert Hall Saturday night.

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