Josh Kaufman Returns to Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael!
Josh Kaufman & NDOXO: Unplugged
Date // Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021
Time // Doors 5:30 p.m. Showtime 7:30 p.m.
Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael is pleased to welcome back the sixth-season winner of NBC’s “The Voice” and Carmel’s own, Josh Kaufman!
Enjoy a night of songs from his album “NDOXO” (pronounced endo-exo) along with a handful stories and covers in a stripped-down acoustic setting. You can expect a soulful mix of songs inspired by the sounds of ’90s R&B and neo-soul but with a modern twist. This performance is not one to miss!
An American Bistro-influenced menu will be available for purchase up until 30 minutes before showtime. A $25 food and beverage minimum is required per ticket holder. Purchase your tickets at feinsteinshc.com.
Janelle Morrison: You’ve just recently played at the Palladium in Carmel and will be returning for a second performance at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael. What is it about Feinstein’s that is bringing you back to that venue?
Josh Kaufman: I love those kinds of rooms where there’s space to get some people in there but is a small enough space that there’s not a bad seat and you’re kind of within reach of everybody in the audience so that it feels personal and intimate.
JM: Now that you’re able to perform in front of live audiences again, how important is it to have that special “live” connection with the audiences?
Kaufman: It’s funny because I’m naturally introverted and am a keep-to-myself kind of person. And sometimes, I think I could be happy just posting stuff online, making music and putting it out on the internet, but this last year—when everything shut down and all the shows went away for more than a year—it made me realize how much I appreciate that connection [with the audience] and how irreplaceable that is. No matter how much you try to make it personal over the internet, it just doesn’t compare to having a real, live connection in the same room with real people.
JM: Your fans and fans of “The Voice” obviously know a little bit about you. I remember watching you on that show and thinking that of course I had to root for the local guy. I want to go back a little further before you auditioned for that show. I read that you were once an SAT prep tutor. So, how important is education to you to make you want to be a tutor?
Kaufman: Oh, it’s very important. I love studying, learning and teaching. The arts and education in general are very important to me and shaped who I am. I emphasize that a lot to my [five] kids. I enjoy teaching and helping people in lots of different ways. I’ve taught in a classroom, have tutored, and I’ve done voice, music, guitar and songwriting lessons. It’s something that I’ve always gravitated towards.
JM: Speaking of experiences in education prior to your success on “The Voice,” you appeared on “Star Search” and auditioned for “The X-Factor.” How did those experiences help prepare you for when you auditioned for “The Voice”?
Kaufman: I think it was good to have those experiences. I was only 16 when I was on “Star Search.” I was on three episodes and didn’t make it that far, but I had some great experiences there. Years later, I auditioned for “The X-Factor,” and it was such a different experience. I walked into the little booth where I was supposed to sing my one minute of a song, and within three seconds, I could tell the guy was ready to move on to the next person. I was just not the person he was looking for that day.
JM: That must have been brutal?
Kaufman: It was good to learn that it’s not just about if you’re better than this person or that person. There’s A LOT of things that go into it, who are they looking for, are they wanting some variety on their show and things like that. There is some element of luck to it than just being at the right place at the right time.
JM: In addition to the litany of lessons and advice that you have received from your coaches and mentors, is there any specific piece of advice that you were given that resonated with you so much that you pass it along to your students or any aspiring artist?
Kaufman: I pass along to anyone interested in trying to audition for shows like “The Voice,” don’t let this [experience] define who you are or how good you are. There’s lots of different ways to get there, and this [experience] may not put you in the space that you want to be in. And whether it was “your” day or not, neither one defines who you are and what kind of artist you are. You can succeed from a lot of different platforms and in a lot of different ways. You have to know that going into these things.
JM: After winning season six of “The Voice,” you took a nontraditional path with regards to your career path. Rather than heading directly to a recording studio—you hit Broadway. Did you have Broadway on your radar or was that completely out of happenstance?
Kaufman: That was totally not foreseen at all! I was doing “The Voice” tour and a friend of mine who was helping me kind of manage all the stuff that was going on at the time called me. He told me that we had received an email through my website from a Broadway show and he said, “I think it’s real so we may want to get back with them.” And we did. After the tour was over, they flew me out to NYC to see “Pippen” and asked if it would be something I’d be interested in trying. I said, “Yes—I’d love to give it a shot.” So, they brought me back out a few weeks later to audition for a leading player, and in the middle of the audition they said, “Don’t you guys think he would make a great ‘Pippen’? I hadn’t prepared for that role at all, so they had me, on the spot, sing “Corner of the Sky” and do a scene with somebody else, and they ended up casting me for that role. It was an amazing experience, but I definitely didn’t see it coming at all.
JM: In addition to writing and performing your music, what are some other projects that you’re currently working on?
Kaufman: There are too many for me to get done but I always try! I am teaching and have been for the last couple of years. I set aside a couple days a week to do vocal coaching, guitar and songwriting lessons with mostly middle school and high school students, but I do have some adult students too.
I started a podcast that ties together a lot of my interests. My education is in philosophy—I graduated with a degree in philosophy and went to grad school for it as well. The podcast is called “The Pare With Josh Kaufman.” It has a double meaning: It pares or peels back the layers of things that I’m interested in and is an acronym for philosophy, art, religion and ethics—all main topics that I’m interested in and try to tie together with my guests.
JM: After these life-changing experiences, you and your wife, Jennifer, decided to stay in Carmel. What is it about this community that keeps you and your family here?
Kaufman: My wife and I talked about moving to either coast, but having a bigger family, it’s so hard to be in NYC or LA with five kids and having enough space. With the way things are now, it’s so easy to collaborate with people from a distance and go to wherever you need to go, whenever you need to be there in person, so it just seemed to make more sense to be in a place like Carmel where we have a little more stability and calm rather than being in the middle of everything all the time and trying to make it work. It’s not where I was born but it’s definitely home.