An interview with Joy Yates to celebrate 75 years of music
Born in New Zealand, Joy has international concert, television, recording and jazz vocal performance credentials. She I also a generous teacher and mentor and a well loved and respected figure in the music scene.
From 1969 to1985 Joy worked in the USA, the UK and Europe with such great artists as Orson Wells, Waters Family, Neil Sedaka, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Clark Terry, Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Nucleus, Ronnie Scott, and many more.
Joy performs mostly with the Dave MacRae Trio: their vast repertoire includes classic jazz standards, old school and contemporary favourites and some original material.
Together they have performed at major jazz and music festivals and venues internationally and at home.
JK: What bought you to Sydney?
JY: Having spent some years in Sydney during the 60’s enjoying relative success in TV, studio and Club work, I felt I had my foot in the door, even after 17 years abroad. I’d also had the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s finest musicians and was hopeful of having left a strong impression. Fortunately, it was a good decision and I’m happy to say, Sydney is the place I call home.
JK: What do you feel is your most special achievement?
JY: Apart from having children, I’ve had the extraordinary experience to have known and worked with some of the world’s greatest musicians and artists, including Clark Terry, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Ronnie Scott, Orson Welles, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Van Morrison, Neil Sedaka, James Morrison, Don Burrows, Bob Barnard, Julian Lee, Billy Eckstine, Dusty Springfield, Dave MacRae, to name a few, and to have survived as a singer in the music industry.
Equally important is to have gained the trust, love and respect of many singers and musicians whom I’ve had the privilege to teach, in the Sing for Joy School, at Global Vocal Focal Workshops, Jubilation, The Conservatorium of Music and The Australian Institute of Music.
JK: What is your advice to young singers?
JY: If you do not have exceptional talent and an exceptional work ethic, do something else. It’s very important to be very honest, and avoid self delusion; be open and always be aiming to improve. Always look for challenge. Choose to work with people from whom you can learn. Be positive!
JK: What can we expect to hear on the night?
JY: A collection of classic jazz standards, ballads, blues, some contemporary and original songs, which collectively, reflect the rich tapestry of my life.
JK: What inspires you?
JY: Great music, Herbie and Chick in concert, Diane Reeves, Carmen, Sarah, travel, love, people doing good things for others, helping others, the ocean, the sky, the earth, family, friends.
JK: What makes you most happy?
JY: Singing with a great band, working with a great group of singers, cooking, family and CHILDREN.