cover image Outside the Jukebox: How I Turned My Vintage Music Obsession into My Dream Gig

Outside the Jukebox: How I Turned My Vintage Music Obsession into My Dream Gig

Scott Bradlee. Hachette, $23 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-41573-6

This entertaining memoir by music impresario Bradlee tells of his rise from jobless musician drowning in student loan debt to successful entrepreneur. Bradlee grew up in rural New Jersey, finished high school in the bottom half of his class with especially poor grades in science, and realized that “to get accepted to any decent college... I would have to apply with a declared major in music.” He ended up at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford then moved to New York City, where, for a decade, he performed and taught piano. By 2008, he was making ends meet but “artistically, I was suffering.” Deciding to shift gears and work toward a traditional college degree in, of all things, science, Bradlee applied and was accepted to Hunter College. On a whim, he recorded himself playing piano and posted the video on YouTube, and the next phase of his life began. In 2009, he released “Hello My Ragtime ’80s” featuring a mix of ragtime-style piano interpretations of 1980s pop hits; in 2012, he added “A Motown Tribute to Nickelback”; and in 2013, he rose to fame with his music collective, Postmodern Jukebox, a rotating group of musicians who perform jazz, ragtime, and doo-wop covers of contemporary hits. Their YouTube channel currently has over 3.4 million subscribers. Throughout, Bradlee regularly shifts from memoir to something of a self-help tone (“You have to think of yourself as the thing you want to be long before other people think of you as that”). Anyone eager to know more about the man behind the music will want to pick this up. (June)