Episode 10: Jeudi Cornejo Brealey in Full Bloom with Vintage Music and Fashion
Jeudi is known as a “vintage voiced chanteuse,” who sings salvaged sweet jazz, from a time when the dance floor was the ultimate social platform, and romance was just a Fox Trot, Charleston, or Lindy Hop away.
Her voice conveys the glamour of another era, transporting audiences through song, as “she evokes the old-school thrush, who sings with the band,” refreshing timeless standards and forgotten musical gems with her sentimental and swinging interpretations.
Jeudi took a hiatus from her passion and raised two boys before responding to the calling to return a year ago when she launched “Love Outshines the Moon,” a bimonthly single release series featuring celestial-themed Jazz-Age era tunes, some well-known and others overlooked. Together these songs wax and wane poetic and energetic with timeless heart-felt truths. The release cycle continues through 2021.
I consider Jeudi a real Bloomer, someone who is totally open to learning and expanding her knowledge of promoting herself as a unique indie artist.
You’re invited to learn more about her at Jeudi.biz.
Thanks for listening.
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Sharman Nittoli: 0:00
Welcome to the Live Your Bloom podcast where I interview people stepping out of their comfort zones to fulfill old dream seeds or plant new ones, regardless of age. And I'm always interested in the challenges and successes of these people. My guest today is one of those people, vocalist, Jeudi Cornejo Beasely, who has been called the Vintage Voice Chanteuse. Jeudi has met some challenges in her life. And yet she made a decision to return to her passion and live her Bloom. Hi Jeudi, how you doing?
I'm doing great. Thanks.
Sharman Nittoli: 0:43
And can you tell us what are we listening to right now?
This is Moon Glow, which comes from 1933. It's a standard that was written by Will Hudson and Irving Mills. And it has lyrics by Eddie DeLange, and it's just a lovely tune.
Sharman Nittoli: 0:59
And this is one of your tunes. Am I right?
Yes, I did not write it as I said, but I sing it. And, you know, I think that it's a wonderful romantic song that will make you want to take out your dancing shoes.
Sharman Nittoli: 1:16
Okay, that's great. I wonder if you could give us a little bit of background of your life? Where you've been, where you've lived and what led you to the now.
Wow. And, we have 20 minutes or a little longer that than?
Sharman Nittoli: 1:33
The laser, the laser version?
Exactly, laser version. Let's see, I'm a Latina. I was born in San Diego, California. I'm the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants. My father immigrated to this country from Costa Rica, and my mother she's passed away of Mexican descent and she was the first in her family born in this country. And so let's see, I'm known as the Vintage Voice Chanteuse. And I know you had asked me before how I came to be involved with this type of music, this niche. And I think a lot of it goes back to my parents because I'm the youngest child in the family, and I there's a 10 year span between me and my youngest brother. And so my parents were a lot older when they had me, and my mother was Rosie the Riveter during World War II. And she used to, she was a swing dancer, and she would tell me stories about when she was a teenager she was actually not, she was not the person doing the riveting because she didn't she was only a teenager. she was 15 when she got the job, she was the person who would drive the little, she called it her pot pot, and she would drive the materials to the different women who were actually welding and doing that sort of thing. So she was basically transport for for the airplane factory. But she would tell me about her childhood and her years, you know, going to the USO dances and she would see all the top big bands. And she would tell me about going to see Glenn Miller perform and all these different artists. And so that got me really interested in that sort of music. Meanwhile, my father, he was basically recruited from the US government. He was a tuna fisherman, and he was recruited during the war because there were food shortages, and fishing was a great way of providing protein. You didn't have to feed the fish, so they wanted the foreign fishermen to come here and they offered them a green card, if they would do this. So he and my uncle came and then they brought the rest of the family. And so through him, I learned, you know, my dad would teach me songs from his childhood and, you know, boleros, and that sort of thing. And so there's all that for the music. So all my friends were listening to music, you know, the top 40 and I was listening to like my parents top 40 from from their youth. And additionally, my grandfather, his house was like, he lived in the barrio, and his house was sort of locked in time. And it was locked in time because he had all this old tech because there was no money to buy new things. So there was you know, the singer sewing machine with the foot pedal and there was, you know, the old ice box which was still there, but now it was used as a cupboard. And there was a wood burning stove, and there was...
Sharman Nittoli: 5:00
Yeah, no. Yeah.
There was a Victrola, e had a Victrola with records. A d that was magic to hear t e records on that. And so the e was that. And then I grew p with a player piano, it was t e kind that you had to pump. A d we had all of the roles, and t e roles were all songs from t e 20s and 30s. So, I think maybe a couple beyond that. But so a l of that just drew me right in o that nich
Sharman Nittoli: 5:31
Well, you know, you can't see it, but behind me, I have a treddle, a restored treddle sewing machine, which I use. I put something on top of it, and that's my vanity. And I learned to sew on it when I was 10 years old, in the 4-H, so I'm familiar with that. Plus, we had a bunch of vintage kitchen appliances here. I didn't have a player piano, but I did have a Victrola. We didn't have a TV when I was young, and my mom used to vacuum and put the Victrola on with Bing Crosby singing "Lay that pistol down, babe". And we would be standing there "Pistol packin' Mama", you know, so these songs come back. So that's why when I wrote the song about Miss Kitty, I put "Pistol Packet Mama" in there, because that's my background, too. I knew we had a lot in common when I first heard you - see that?
Well, you know, it's true. And I'll tell you this is that these songs, they're really timeless, because they're so well written. That's why, you know, most of us know them as standards. But what I love to do is I love to find the songs that have been forgotten that are just these gems, and I like to, you know, dust them off for a modern audience. Because some of them, you know, if you're someone who's a collector, well, yeah, you want to go and you want to listen to it on, you know, the original 78, right? But a lot of people, they've never heard these songs, and I want to reintroduce them, because they're too good to be forgotten. And they have a timeless message, you know. I say that I sing swinging and sentimental songs, because, you know, sometimes you want to indulge your emotions, and other times you just want to forget them. And these songs were written usually during really tough times, like, you know, the depression. And, you know, they were songs that were meant to lighten your load. And, you know, well, good.
Sharman Nittoli: 7:33
Well, for our listeners who may be familiar, could you give us a couple of titles of your songs? Because I know, I've heard a couple songs, and I said, I don't know that song. Where did you get that?
Oh, well, you know, one of the ones that I just released a video of is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", and everyone hears that, and they think oh, it's like, you know, the children's -that's it, right. But, you know, it was actually not, it was about, you know, making a wish on a star. And it was used in a in a film. You know, it's kind of like, there was the old Ella Fitzgerald song "A tisket a tasket, my green and yellow basket", right. Kinda' like that, she made it into a swing tune. And, you know, Frank did like a swinging version of "Old MacDonald", right. So it's kind of like that, you know, they would take all these songs that were familiar so that it piques someone's attention, but then they swing it and so that's really fun. And let's see another one, "In the Dim, Dim Dawning"....
Sharman Nittoli: 8:52
That's one I never heard. I remember when you did that, I said, 'Oh, goodness, where's that from?'
Yeah, there's so many just great forgotten songs and you know, pre pandemic I had gone into the studio. I had children who were teenagers who needed their mom around and I couldn't be out playing in the nightclubs all the time. I would do cabaret shows and those were more kind of, you know, one offs. I do maybe a couple performances and then, you know, go away and disappear and then have to like, you know, it's like this big engine, you know, as an indie artists and big engine that you have to rev up again and again. And so I decided that was just too tough. I needed to focus on the future. And so I took a page from my cousin's book, she is the same thing she was she's stayed at home, raised her children, but she was a lawyer and she had a love of cooking and had always taken cooking lessons. And then she started offering cooking classes for kids. And he started setting this up while they were still in high school, so that way, when they graduated from high school, she could kind of hit the ground running, which she did. So that was a great inspiration to me. So I said, 'Okay, I'm gonna do the same thing only I'm gonna do it with my music.' So I started recording a ton of music. And the first thing I did was, I recorded a Christmas CD called "Winter Was Warm", and I call it "Winter Was Warm Swinging and Sentimental Songs of the Season". That one also, I had like a bunch of obscure songs on it, too, that I wanted to bring to people's attention, but then that came out. And at the same time that that came out, I started compiling songs for what I thought would be a Valentine's release. I thought, 'Oh, I'll just do a, you know, three songs for Valentine's EP. And that turned into this body of like, 50 songs. And then we whittled it down, my producers and I, and we ended up recording 32 songs. And so by the time the pandemic hit, I actually had 32 songs mastered and ready to go, which was really strangely fortuitous. Because, you know, I could just keep releasing music by monthly. Since the pandemic, I've just been focusing on the business aspect, learning this business aspect with you in our in our wonderful amplify mastermind. But it's, you know, it's been very little singing, it's been mostly doing the administrative stuff, which is, you know, if you're an indie artist, you're wearing so many hats, you're the graphic artist, you're the PR person, you're management, your, you know, Social Media Manager, you're and it can be overwhelming. But um, now I actually am going to be going into the studio again, the first week in June. So I'm excited to be doing something that's actually music.
Sharman Nittoli: 12:20
I know, I was just talking to somebody before, who made the statement, she said, "I'm always in the alpha state", meaning My mind is going on time, I got ideas, I got ideas, but now that I'm now that I'm an indie, marketing musician, I can't act on them all the time. So I always keep something handy as a writer". And I do the same in my cellphone. I'm like, "Where's my cell phone?" Okay, I put that in there. And then I try to find time to sit with my music. But a lot of my time is spent on indie marketing, and I don't think people realize that we're in such a different world. Yes, we can market ourselves. But it's very time consuming. And every time you get a handle on something, that technology changes, or this thing called an algorithm, which is a new term when applied to marketing, and it changes, and you got to stay on top of it, or else you become obsolete. And it's a challenging thing, you know?
Yeah, it is, you know, and I love that because, you know, you're so inspiring to me Sharman because you just keep learning the new platforms and going ahead and, you've got your podcast, and you've got your music, and you made a film and it's like, wow, you know, those are all goals, right? So I'm very inspired by you.
Sharman Nittoli: 13:42
Oh, well, it's a mutual admiration society right here. But you know, what I do for my Live Your Bloom is help people identify what it is they want to do, and then help them develop schedules. Because it is all in the schedule.
It is scheduling, absolutely.
Sharman Nittoli: 13:57
If you're in a position, some people are in a position where they're still working, or they have responsibilities at home, they may still have someone to care for, or have kids to babysit. I hear this all the time grandparents that do a lot of babysitting, or a lot of support, how am I ever going to work on me. And then what happens with by the time you work on you, you start to find out that you're a little bit afraid, and maybe you build up a wall and so you know, that's something to deal with. So that's I just, I'm not a psychiatrist, I don't offer personal coaching but I can help people with the scheduling and I know about procrastination because I've been there. So you know, I like when I asked you before, "Are you working now?" and you said "Oh, I sure am." I'm a musician. I'm working full time harder than ever right?
I am, because you know it's like I was telling you before we started recording I find myself at this interesting position where I'm like an emerging artists meets encore career because, you know, I love learning. I just love learning and I've been a lifelong student. And I think part of that is because, you know, I look at my father, my father was the most brilliant person I knew. And he was completely self taught. He only went to school up until fifth grade, because his circumstances he had to start working in when he was 10 years old to support his family. So he, you know, came to this country, he didn't speak a word of English, he said that for, you know, the first month, he just ordered spaghetti for every meal, because it was the only thing he knew on the menu. But, you know, he would study the dictionary, and he became totally fluent. And then he became, you know, an entrepreneur. And so I was very inspired by that. And so I've always, but I didn't, you know, I went to college, and then it was like, "Okay, I didn't just go to college, just like I'm gonna go to college and get a double degree." And then "Okay, now I'm going to go to get my masters." And so, Oh, you asked where else I've been so I, you know, I hopped around. I went to school abroad in France, and Paris, and also in on Tebe, through the University of Nice, I took some classes. And then I came back, and I went to school in San Diego, again, at San Diego State. And then I, you know, graduated from there. And then I went to New York, I got into NYU, and I was there and then and then it was like, "Okay, this isn't a good fit." And I was, you know, I went from NYU to Cal Arts, and that's where I graduated from and met my husband. But, you know, by the time I graduated, I was like, you know, late for a student, I was in my 30s. I was, and I just said, "Okay, well, now I'm in my 30s I have to have kids, because if I want to have kids, my timeline is, time is ticking here." Yeah. So then, you know, you have the kids and then, you know, bam, time flies really quickly.
Sharman Nittoli: 17:06
It's like, one week, one month, one year, five years. And next thing you know, like, what happened? Where did that go? You know,
It's crazy, it's like time moves, really. The days, I would say are really slow, and then the years are really fast.
Sharman Nittoli: 17:22
You're right, yeah.
It's like this really strange sort of time warpy thing.
Sharman Nittoli: 17:26
I want my listeners to know, when you perform, you're the you you do the whole the whole trip, the clothes, the image, your style. And how long have you been into vintage clothes?
Vintage clothes has been as long as I've been into anything vintage, you know. Like I say, I would love, I loved everything old. My mom would always tell me "Oh, this is what we would wear when I was a teenager." And I always aspired to have that 40s look, you know, which is so cool. And then, you know, my dad had a friend who would sell things from a state sale. And so he would bring over like, he'd say, "Oh, I you know, I went to this state sale and they had some clothes that I thought Jimmy would like for dress up." So when I was a little girl, I had like this wardrobe of like, you know, tuxedo with tails and, you know, a flapper dress, flapper dresses and, you know, hats and all these things. And so I was and I was very dramatic kid so I was involved in theater. So I was always wearing these, initially, just as for dress up, for playing, then that was kind of became, you know, my thing so it's persisted.
Sharman Nittoli: 18:44
Oh, well, I was a seamstress when I was younger, because I did learn how to sew pretty good. But my girlfriend and I got into buying and selling vintage clothes in New York. Reminiscence, I don't know if they were there when you were there, but and we kept the best stuff for ourselves and I marveled at the structure of these clothes they met were meant to last forever. I just love the clothes from that period. So
Oh, yeah. when my husband and I put together the group Jersey Bounds I don't know if you know that song, 'they got out jersey boun '. So we dressed in those lothes. I already had a ardrobe full of them but then Saturdays we went to estate ales, flea markets, and what th suits and the shoes and the hat and you know, we went down to city and worked, and we did a l music and the style of the M dern Heirs and the Four Freshmen and the High Lows and just had a ball, a lot of work, just a lot of a lot of rehearsing in orde to get that together. I like to take people on a vintage journey, you know, if you're going to come, if you're going to come and see my show, I want you to feel like you've been transported to the past.
Sharman Nittoli: 19:57
That's a swank supper club in Manhattan, or it's a Parisian cabaret, or a London ballroom or whatever, you know, your mind conjures, but, you know, I just, I'm really excited, Sharman, because I just ordered a vintage microphone. Like one of those big round ones, you know, from the 20s with the center, and it picks up, you know, four or five musicians playing simultaneously. So I'm really excited, because that will, I think, help the audience to really visualize that era too.
Sharman Nittoli: 20:34
I can't wait to see it. So that brings me to the, where can people see your streaming or an online concert or get your music? The last thing is if, you know, things are changing so much now with with a pandemic, and things opening up and, and so the best way to stay abreast of information as to go to my website, which is Jeudi.biz And you can go there and, you know, have some fun looking around. I've got a blog there that I write on, and I have my music and I have videos there. And, you know, you can find my music on any of the platforms. My favorite is Bandcamp. Because I don't know if you've mentioned this to your listeners before, but you know, people don't understand the music industry is going through this new, you know, everyone's trying to figure out what the new paradigm is, because it's changing so much. You know, one of the advantages, as an indie artist is that we have all these tools available to us to market our music now, you know. Back, you know, 20 years ago, it was only the major labels who had this opportunity to really put out, you know, their artists music. But now we can do that, but we just have to learn it all, all the platforms. But that count is fantastic, because they don't take as much of a cut of royalties from the payment. And people think that if they go and listen to your song streaming some place that you're getting paid. But the truth of the matter is, you're getting paid pennies on the dollar. Literally. It's like I heard that, um, that song, "Get happy." Remember, that was so popular, it was everywhere, internationally. Yes, I know, nationally, and I heard that he, he like made very little money from streaming for that, and think of how many times that song was streamed? Yeah, you can imagine, yeah.
It's crazy. So, yeah.
Sharman Nittoli: 22:49
I know, I was teaching at the time, and several of the schools I was in used "Get Happy" for their graduation exit. So I'm sure he made money in other ways. But that is true. And I know people don't think it's true. But when you ask someone to say go on Spotify, and pre-save for streaming, you're not really making that much. You're not making much money unless you log in an exorbitant amount of plays. But it's so good for the algorithm, this mysterious thing called the algorithm. Yeah. And being heard and becoming known.
Exactly. You know, so, yeah. We struggle with the technology. And there's a lot of people that even people who like classic music from the 30s, or 40s, are not particular computer savvy. So you know, then I know you're doing it, and I've done it to try to give out videos or directions on exactly how do you do it? And what does this mean? Like, save, subscribe, share, follow... These are all verbs that have an entirely different meaning. you know. Yeah, it's true. It's, you know, and it's a lot, and it can be overwhelming. But you know, I remember it's so funny. Because I never learned how to type, right? My husband plays piano, and he types very fast, and so he's always had a computer. And I remember when we first met, at Cal Arts I had, it was like, it was kind of like a cross between an electric typewriter and a computer. Right? It wasn't quite a computer, but it would save things to a disk, right? And so I would look at his computer, and I get really intimidated. And he's like, "Why don't you just sit down and start doing some tutorials, some video tutorials." And I started doing that. And now it's like, it is just second nature. But you just have to not be intimidated. And there's so many things you can find on YouTube that teach you.
Sharman Nittoli: 24:43
Oh my God. Listen, when I made the movie. Every day, at the end of the day, I would say thank you God for YouTube, because every time I would get stuck on Final Cut, there was somebody giving a wonderful tutorial that would bail me out, you know?
Yeah, Sharing this information because it's so vital, and I think it inspires people. It's like, one last thing I'll tell you about technology. My uncle, my father's brother, he just passed away a couple years ago, but he was in his 90s. And he was on Facebook, posting pictures, and he wrote a book, and, you know, a family history. And he did it all because he just wanted to stay in touch. And if you don't, if you don't learn this, then, you know, progress passes you by.
Sharman Nittoli: 25:34
Yes. And it's, yeah, and there's no excuse not to just put your toe in it. You don't have to get obsessed with it, but just to know what's going on. Because there's a world out there, you can actually see the world through things like YouTube and other sites. And plus, you may have interests that are something that's been burning within you for many years. And so you can virtually explore them, and have that satisfied that you want to learn. As long as you want to learn you should be feeding that, you know, that's how I think I don't that's what I think.
Yeah. You're a lifelong learner, like me. Yeah.
Sharman Nittoli: 26:15
And, you know, after a certain age to when, I hate to use that expression, I could think of a better way but you know, you occasionally deal with health issues, and they can throw us. So but I know for me, whenever I I'm feeling good, I just take that as such a blessing and I just kind of jump right back in but, you know, you can't take for granted that there's always going to be a tomorrow. You just don't know.
That's how I felt last year because, you know, last year is going through, last year at this time, I was just finishing up radiation therapy for breast cancer. And you know, now I'm, thank God, I'm healthy, I'm cancer free. Yeah, everything is is good. But you know, right after that happened, I just thought you know, Carpe Diem. It's like I thought I have all this music ready to release I can either sit on it and wait and see what happens to the pandemic or just do it now. It's like,
Sharman Nittoli: 27:16
There you go.
Do it now because tomorrow isn't promised you know.
Sharman Nittoli: 27:20
So we're in agreement on so many things. Listen, I thank you so much. This has been a wonderful interview and inspirational. And I really, I hope my listeners go check you out because it's an experience going on your site.
Sharman Nittoli: 27:36
It's a total entertainment - you will not be disappointed.
Thank you so much, Sharman. Thank you Jeudi. Jeudi.biz.
Sharman Nittoli: 27:44
You take care.
Sharman Nittoli: 27:47