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INTERVIEW: Judy Carmichael On Her Hit YouTube "Lockdown Love" Videos

T.J. Clemente

Judy Carmichael is spending the stay-at-home order working on her new "Lockdown Love" videos. (Courtesy Photo)

Judy Carmichael - who is originally from Southern California, but now calls Sag Harbor home - is a very talented woman. Her epic ragtime/swing/jazz piano playing is world-renowned. Her concerts are must-see events. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a break in her 200 plus shows a year schedule. During this hiatus Ms. Carmichael is aiming her energies towards producing video/films. Her new "Lockdown Love" episodes on YouTube are winning high praise from folks, including an Academy Award winner! Jean Brassard, who is a professional (French Quebecois) actor, singer, songwriter and musician, contributes voice tracks that Ms. Carmichael edits into the episodes.

Her first three "Lockdown Love" episodes are around five minutes long, but are cut and edited like a slick million dollar video from the golden days of MTV. Her outfits are very formal and she always looks stunning! In a wide-ranging interview, Ms. Carmichael gave great insight into who she really is.

She explained, "I love performing and connecting with a live audience, but this time away from concert performing has given me an opportunity to pursue other creative outlets and honor this time at home. I do miss the world, though. I travel internationally almost nonstop and love it, so I miss that."

About the genesis of her piano playing, it started in Los Angeles. She said, "We had a piano in the home and I took a couple of years of lessons, but I am really self-taught. My dad was a good singer, my mom was a good amateur pianist - nothing like what I am doing, but there was music around the house. A lot of folks singing around the piano." Her first actual performance as she recalls, "I was featured at a Los Angeles club for ragtime enthusiasts called the Maple Leaf Club. I wasn't planning on a music career but people were always enthusiastic and encouraging about my playing so I decided I should give a musical career a try." The rest, as they say, is successful history.

Then she dug deep and shared this, "I think that this is a challenge for everybody to different degrees, this is obviously tragic, people are dying, people are going to lose their homes. Things will get hard, I will have to deal with money issues, this is not fun financially, but if you are a person who is healthy and can get by financially, then if you can spend this time on learning something and being creative, being supportive to your friends, putting good into the world, you can make something positive happen. Now we have the time to do that and discover more things about yourself, because you have the time to do it, because we are being forced not to move so fast. I think that's a good thing and I think that's a better way to use your time than to just be binge watching ten different shows in a row. I think some binge watching is definitely good, but I think it should be interspersed with maybe learning a new skill or taking this time and using it wisely for some advantage, because it actually is a rare opportunity. This never happens, when does the world shut down? It doesn't."

The rare opportunity of Judy Carmichael being in one place for so long has yielded "Lockdown Love." However, this is just the beginning with bigger projects in her future. But to support this new vision she hopes to be resuming what was until recently a 200 plus show a year schedule. She already has some dates booked in Colorado and Arizona in the fall. "Hopefully they will happen and things will safely open up all over," she relayed.

Additionally, Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired is celebrating twenty years on NPR stations across the country. Jazz Inspired airs locally Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on WPPB, 88.3 FM.

To view Lockdown Love, visit YouTube.com. For more information about Judy Carmichael, visit www.judycarmichael.com To contribute to Jazz Inspired, Inc. which supports Ms. Carmichael's radio show and educational programs, visit www.jazzinspired.com.

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