A successful arrangement

MUSIC styles from the past are being blended with lyrics from the present to create a unique listening experience known as Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ).
Created by Scott Bradlee, the musical collective has established a worldwide following by taking songs such as Lorde’s Royals and Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi and giving them a vintage twist.
Bradlee takes the songs and arranges them into styles such as jazz, doowop and Motown.
While the project initially began as regular YouTube videos, the repertoire now includes more than 10 albums and a live show, which will be performed in Invercargill next month.
Bradlee said the project began about seven years ago when he was living in a basement apartment in New York City and having trouble making ends meet.
‘‘I decided to just invite some friends over and make heaps of videos where we take current pop songs and play them in the styles I loved growing up… The minute we put it on the internet it kind of struck a nerve.’’
formers that the world might not know about otherwise, so that’s really exciting for me.’’
While the project kept expanding, Bradlee said one thing stayed the same — most of the videos were still filmed in his living room.
‘‘There is something about the intimacy of setting up a camera and just recording that makes people feel, as a viewer, like you’re there… watching all these performers.’’
Bradlee said while he didn’t grow up in the periods PMJ covered he still felt a sense of nostalgia about the music.
‘‘When I was a kid and first getting interested in music that was something that really appealed to me. I just loved the sound of that era, of hearing something on vinyl… That was something that stayed with me.’’ Í Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Civic Theatre, Invercargill, Thursday, September 1,8.30pm. Tickets from TicketDirect.
The first live PMJ show was performed in 2014, he said. Since then the collective has toured about 15 countries on four continents.
When starting to plan the live performances, Bradlee said he had to think about the best way to present what they did.
‘‘I was looking at this and I thought well, I have to bring a lot of people. I want this to be aparty. Iwant people to get to see so many incredible vocalists and just leave feeling really inspired.’’
Bradlee said about 12 people would appear on stage during the concert including multiple singers from the YouTube channel, atap dancer and an MC, along with horn and rhythm section players.
He said a great part of the project was connecting with the performers, with about 70 rotating cast members involved. Some of them were known from American reality TV shows, and others he discovered singing locally.
‘‘[It’s] somebody who has an amazing voice who deserves to be heard. What’s been cool about this platform is giving attention to all these incredible, super-talented per-