With student loan debt piling up and no lucrative gigs around the corner, Scott Bradlee found himself in a situation all too familiar to struggling musicians and creative professionals: whether to pay either his student loans or his rent, but not both.
It was in these desperate circumstances that Bradlee began experimenting, applying his passion for jazz, ragtime and doo-wop styles to contemporary hits by singers like Macklemore and Miley Cyrus … and suddenly, an idea was born. The bands Bradlee went on to launch – like Postmodern Jukebox, the rotating supergroup devoted to period covers of pop songs – borrowed from and refined the initial idea he had arrived at to bring genres now sometimes considered arcane to modern audiences. Today, the success he has had is astonishing, with Postmodern Jukebox collecting upwards of three million subscribers on YouTube, selling out major venues around the world and developing previously unknown talents into superstars.
Taking readers through the false starts, absurd failures and unexpected breakthroughs, “Outside the Jukebox” is an inspiring memoir about how one musician found his rhythm and launched a movement that would change how people make, distribute and enjoy their favorite songs.
Bradlee’s book was the February selection for our Connect: 21CM Book Club. Now, host Sylvia Yang presents questions to Bradlee posed by our readers.