Scott Bradlee
Scott Bradlee

Scott Bradlee

About Scott Bradlee

Proving that everything new can be old again, pianist Scott Bradlee became a viral pop sensation after creating a series of clips for YouTube that found him and his ad hoc group Postmodern Jukebox reworking 21st century pop hits in a variety of vintage styles. Initially emerging as an online entity in 2009, Bradlee broke wide in 2012 with his '20s-style jazz reworking of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" featuring vocalist Robyn Adele Anderson. More widely shared cover songs followed as the pianist transformed Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" into a '50s-style doo wop number, crossed Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" with Irish folk music, and showed how Ke$ha's "Die Young" would work as a classic country tune. Bradlee eventually collected his cover songs onto the 2014 set Historical Misappropriation, which proved equally successful, hitting number three on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. While Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox remain popular online, they transformed over time into a touring group, bringing their decade-mashing sound to live audiences as captured on 2017's The New Classics.

Born on Long Island in 1981, Bradlee grew up in Pattenburg, New Jersey, where he developed a taste for jazz and classic standards around age 12 after discovering George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." Following his studies at University of Hartford, he rose to a successful career playing supper clubs and night spots in New York City. He also served as musical director for the "immersive theater" project Sleep No More. By his own admission, Bradlee regards most pop and rock tunes as unrefined, but, as he himself put it, "As a relentless devil's advocate, I then found that by simply altering the context of such songs, I could find quite a bit of artistic merit inside of them." In 2009, Bradlee released a digital single, "Hello My Ragtime '80s," in which he grafted familiar lines from 20 pop hits of the '80s into a medley played in traditional ragtime style. He then began experimenting with live mashups; during his weekly appearances at Robert Restaurant in the Big Apple's Columbus Circle, he would perform numbers that interpolated elements from popular tunes both past and present, and recordings of these experiments were compiled into a digital album, Mashups by Candlelight. The performances were popular enough that Bradlee released a second Mashups by Candlelight collection.

Bradlee enjoyed his greatest popular exposure when he began using his ideas as the basis for a series of YouTube videos. In 2012, he got his first taste of viral success when he released A Motown Tribute to Nickelback, in which he and a handful of musicians and vocalists reworked some tunes by the Canadian hard rock act into '60s-influenced R&B arrangements. Becoming more ambitious, Bradlee began working with a rotating group of musicians dubbed Postmodern Jukebox (often featuring vocalist Robyn Adele Anderson), who tackled Bradlee's arrangements that cast contemporaneous pop songs in radically different styles, usually in live sessions filmed with a single camera in Bradlee's home. As Bradlee wrote on his website, "My goal with Postmodern Jukebox is to get my audience to think of songs not as rigid, ephemeral objects, but like malleable globs of Silly Putty. Songs can be twisted, shaped, and altered without losing their identities; just as we grow, age, and expire without losing ours." After Postmodern Jukebox's cover of "We Can't Stop" racked up over four million views on YouTube, Bradlee and his crew became official internet stars, appearing on the TV chat show Good Morning America and being interviewed on National Public Radio.

On the heels of that success, several more digital albums followed including 2014's Historical Misappropriation (which landed at number three on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart) and 2015's Selfies on Kodachrome. In 2016, Bradlee paired with Concord Records to deliver the compilation album Postmodern Jukebox: The Essentials, which featured many of his most popular viral tracks including "We Can't Stop," "All About That Bass," Thrift Shop." A pair of all-new Postmodern Jukebox outings, New Gramophone, Who Dis? and Fake Blues, arrived the following year. Strewn in between these releases was a series of all-instrumental karaoke arrangements titled So You Think You Can Sing?

Beginning in 2015, Bradlee began holding an annual talent search, encouraging vocalists to submit videos of themselves singing along to the tracks, the prize being a chance to record and release a song with Postmodern Jukebox. In late 2017, the band released The New Classics, their first live recording. A compilation, The Essentials II, arrived the following year and featured the group's takes on songs by Halsey, Meghan Trainor, Sia, and others. Throughout 2019, the group issued several albums including Jazz Age Thirst Trap and Throwback Clapback.

  • HOMETOWN
    Long Island, NY
  • BORN
    September 19, 1981
  • GENRE