At 69, six-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau is still touring the country. On Friday, Feb. 26, his voice will bring a taste of the good ole days to Miami when he performs with piano and jazz master Ramsey Lewis at the Adrienne Arsht Center at 8 p.m. We caught up with Jarreau before his performance.
You’ve been doing this for so long, what still motivates you?
It’s in the work itself. Thats the original motivation loving the work and loving the craft, enjoying it and growing further and more in love with it as you do it and see the wonder of it all. Music is an incredible force. It changes things, it changes people, it heals, and it’s great stuff. You should read my mail.
Among the fine arts, music has enjoyed an incredible ride. It sells everything from cars to braziers. What do you think of music today?
I’m a little scared. There’s no morality code in it anymore and I think our new technologies are really in danger of making it unattractive to people who have potential for the music. I dont think there’s going to be money for music in the future and I don’t think people are going to spend the money they once used to. Music stores are gone, and you download music for free. I think there will always be guys like me who decided they were going to do it for free and now I have a wife and a kid who are counting on it as income, so I cant quite do it for free.
What about artists like Rihanna, who depend on income outside of music?
Shes a lucky one. Most other people are shining shoes.
What’s your advice for someone trying to break into the music scene?
It’s a very different landscape from when I started. I have to advise to anyone who wants to do it to commit yourself because you love it. Maybe you’ll have to have a second job, and you have to be a good bureaucrat. You have to know how to file papers, keep things in order. Still, do it because you love it.
How has work been for you?
There’s less work for me, so I’m tightening my belt buckles and my band is working for less. This past fall and winter season has been really spotty with dates. There was a time when we were out for three weeks, and now things are drying up. I’m trying to keep my company intact so that I can do the work that people know me for without changing drastically and going to “Al sings acappella”. I need a band.