Brett Boyd: Born to perform

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:34

Monroe singer follows childhood experience to forge musical career, By Bob Curtis Monroe - “When I was eight or nine years old, my grandfather brought me to one of his band rehearsals, and I sat there looking at all these ‘old’ people playing in the band. “And yet, being that young, something inside me said ‘although they may look old, they are as young as ever,’ and I just couldn’t keep from tapping my feet. “I felt more alive than any other eight-year old - I was wide awake with the music. “And that’s when I knew I was going to be a performer.” Coming as he did from a family of musicians, Monroe’s own Brett Boyd has known since that early rehearsal with his granddad that he was born to be on stage. Both of his grandfathers were in show business, one a trombonist in some of the biggest bands of the “Big Band Era” and the other a singer who long ago opened for Frank Sinatra at well-known venues like the Paramount. Boyd’s dad is also a singer, and his grandmother played classical piano, so you might say that musical notes are in his genes. Sharing the stage Now 24 years old, Brett began “gigging” at the young age of 15, and has already performed at numerous nightclubs in New York City and around the metropolitan area, such as Birdland, Ars Nova Theatre, the Pink Room @ Club Black, Deerhead Inn and the Supper Club. He has also appeared on television and has performed alongside such artists as Les Paul, George Benson, Wynton Marsalis, Betty Comden, Irwin Drake, Michael Feinstein, Lucie Arnaz, Lodi Carr, Liza Minnelli and many others. His repertoire includes a host of American songbook standards of years past, along with a number of new “standards” he has penned himself. Boyd plays trumpet, piano and sings (his favorite instrument). Largely self-taught, he feels that whatever talent he possesses is a God-given gift, to be nurtured and not overlooked. Fueled by his born-again faith, both in God and in himself, Boyd is taking some bold steps to advance his career, including setting up his own production company, SkyLite Entertainment. In addition to his nightclub work, he performs regularly at private parties and corporate events. And through an industry connection he made, suggested shortly before his death by the celebrated performer and guitar innovator Les Paul, Boyd recently contacted another grandchild of the golden era, Phil Crosby Jr., grandson of legendary pop superstar, Bing Crosby. Crosby and Hope back when; Crosby and Boyd now Crosby is in the midst of his own quite successful singing career on the West Coast, where he continues his grandfather’s legacy and regularly performs many of his hit songs, such as “White Christmas,” “Ghost of A Chance” and “Swingin’ On A Star,” as well as many other pop standards. At Brett’s invitation, Crosby flew east this past week and the pair has already performed together in a few local venues, including Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, where Crosby performed a medley of his grandfather’s hits. They have also gone into the recording studio while Crosby is in the area - Bennett Studios, to be exact, the studio of singer Tony Bennett, in Englewood, N.J., managed by Bennett’s son. There they will be laying down some tracks, including Bing’s “The Best Is Yet To Come,” for an upcoming CD that Brett is preparing, projected for release next fall. They may even record some of Bing Crosby’s best-known holiday hits during their collaboration, and while it is uncertain if “White Christmas” will make the cut, you can surely expect the famous Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” to make it to the holiday recording Boyd plans to release next Christmas. But when it comes to live performance, with all of his on-stage experience, even from such a young age, does seasoned performer Brett Boyd still ever suffer stage fright? “Sure, but I love it! I love knowing that I won’t know exactly what’s going to happen on stage. It forces you to stay focused on performing the best you can. I’ve heard other performers say this, and I’ll say the same thing. ‘If I ever stop getting stage fright, I want someone to tell me to quit the business - because then I’m doing this for the wrong reasons.’”