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A Local Lawyer Turns Professional Jazz Singer? Guilty as Charged!

Jazz singer Kevin Valentine

So, you want to know how vocalist Kevin Valentine is making it as a musician after leaving behind a full-time legal career? As WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston found out, it takes more than talent.

Kevin Valentine will be singing in Mount Joy, Lancaster County on Friday, June 23rd at 8 pm at Bube’s Brewery, in the historic Victorian Central Hotel.

Radio script:

Meridee Duddleston: Musicians spend long days and nights perfecting their techniques and the ability to connect with an audience. It becomes part of who they are.

Kevin Valentine: So when you hear me doing, “Ba dap, Ba dee dee do-den dee dee” those chords that support that just repeat and repeat until I give the band the cue that I’m goin’ go “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” to get into the song.

MD: If only art sustained itself—financially, that is. Kevin Valentine is a jazz vocalist who’s been singing since he was a kid in the Boys Choir of Harlem. He also practiced law full-time for a couple of years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. That gives him a unique perspective.

KV: First and foremost: it’s a business. What you provide is a service or a good, whatever you want to call it. And the more that you think about it that way, I think the better you are.

MD: Musicians usually don’t’ start out with agents, publicists, or a retinue. Most have to figure how to handle insurance, a contract, and compensation. Should it be based on a flat fee, or the number of people who walk through the door? Will the checks go out before, during, or after a performance?

KV: The diva may have the luxury of saying, “All I do is sing, and that’s it.” Or, “All I do is play and, you know, bring me the filet mignon and bring me this, that, and the other.” But that’s not the real world for most musicians. They have a lot of hats to wear.

MD: The business hat is just part of the wardrobe required to build a future doing the thing that draws you in.

[MUSIC: Kevin Valentine singing “Matchmaker”]