Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform Saturday, June 22 at the Tyler County Fairgrounds from 7:30-9 p.m.
Star News: What do you like best about performing in smaller venues?
Murphy: Smaller venues give you a more intimate experience with the audience. There aren't a whole lot of people. When you're in a show you want to give everyone a great experience. It's easier to do that in a smaller venue.
Star News: What first sparked your interest in Jazz music?
Murphy: As a kid, I was watching Motown 25 with my mother and brother when they had a tribute to Nat King Cole. We also watched Bing Crosby Christmas Specials, and there were big band sounds in Looney Tunes and other shows.
Star News: What do you think is so engaging about Jazz music?
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. was born and raised in West Virginia and still lives in Logan County?
The winner of America's Got Talent was named "West Virginian of the Year" and has performed a series of sold out concerts helping raise over a half million dollars for state charities?
Murphy: The lyrics aren't degrading or hurting anyone. They're inviting. You have to realize that the microphone is a powerful tool. You can use it in a good way or a bad way. That's why I picked the genre.
Star News: What other types of music do you like?
Murphy: I don't think there's a sound out there I don't listen to as far as genres. Gospel, R&B, Southern Rock, Soul Music, a whole lot of positive hip-hop.
Star News: Given your own experiences and your continuing work with various charitable organizations, what do you have to say on the subject of lending a helping hand?
Murphy: I think we all need to practice it daily. I've been to the bottom of the barrel and was fortunate enough to find my way out. People also need to speak up about their situations. My homelessness basically came from my pride. Now, I just try to help everybody, anyone I can.
Star News: What does it feel like to be living the dream?
Murphy: To say "living the dream" is exactly what it is. I've dreamed this my whole life, since I was three years old. Now I'm just being me every day now. It's not really a struggle, because I enjoy doing my music, and people enjoy my music. I earn a living for my family, and I'm able to give back as much as possible. It's not like work.
It's an adventure every day. You get so much energy from the audience and the expressions on their faces. That's a blessing. It's so much fun.
Star News: Do you have any advice for musicians and other aspiring artists?
Murphy: Be you and try not to be placed in a box. Learn everything you can about music and your craft. Don't be stereotyped. To me, music is an art. With art, you can't mess up. Look at Picasso's paintings. Everyone should be able to experience what they want in music. Try to experience it all.
Star News: West Virginia is in the midst of celebrating its 150th birthday. What is your favorite thing about your home state?
Murphy: The freedom you get. I was born and raised here in Logan, West Virginia. As a kid, I played in the mountains until it was dark.
When you need to get away here, you can go to the mountains and sit on top of the world. There's a wilderness out here and so much to do besides watch television.
Star News:: Are you looking forward to performing at Tyler County Fairgrounds?
Murphy: I always look forward to performing at fairgrounds and any place in West Virginia. I like seeing my home state people. That's just another blessing, another candle on the cake.
Interview conducted by Alex King, Staff Writer.