AGT's Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. Makes His Own Way in the Music Industry

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 02:54 Written by  Iya Bakare

At first glance, Frank Sinatra probably wouldn’t be a name synonymous with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. That is until you hear the Logan, W. Va. native sing a few chords. As last season’s “America’s Got Talent” winner and with his debut CD That’s Life released in late November, Murphy’s voice is on its way to developing into a household sound that will recapture the hearts of older generations and inspire the younger ones.

“I want to represent for the black community, pay homage to my elders who have nothing to listen to anymore, create new memories and respond to the natural side of art,” says Murphy. “You take Fred Hammond’s voice, mix it with Frank Sinatra and you get me.”

Recently, Chicago welcomed Murphy at the DuSable Museum for The Musical Experience with host and creator Dedry Jones where Murphy shared his journey from working two jobs to support his family to “America’s Got Talent.” He also gave supporters a taste from his new project. The jazz-infused singer says the theme from the television show “Married with Children” inspired him to pursue the genre he’s never been trained to sing, which surprised many before he entered the industry.

“Jazz music made me feel good about music and made me feel great about singing because I wasn’t degrading women or bragging about what I have,” Murphy comments. “It’s a powerful thing what you say on stage because people can take it and act on it.”

As a child, Murphy split his time in Logan and in Detroit. He attributes his grandparents as instrumental influences in his life and musical career. Growing up, Murphy imitated the moves and notes of the late and great Michael Jackson with his brothers and sisters, and jammed to the sounds of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and others who pioneered the Motown sound. As the scope of music evolved, Murphy grew to admire and respect the poetry of the Sugar Hill Gang, Run DMC, N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G. and Common. With these musical influences, Murphy says some discouraged his decision to sing jazz and to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” but he created a niche for himself and a void that needed to be filled in today’s music industry.

“I faced discouragement because people tend to view and judge by what they see and not what’s on the inside,” Murphy adds. “It’s been an overwhelming experience and God has blessed me so much. I’m glad I did it because I’m in a lane of my own.”

With more than he prayed for, Murphy says he plans to continue his career how he started: to walk by faith and not by sight.


Photo Credit: Raymond Boyd

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

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