The sound of a full orchestra began to fill the evening air as he anticipated stepping onstage to establish one of the most defining musical moments of his life. With the house lights going down, followed by the emcee’s exuberant introduction, this entertainer, who was recently endorsed by legendary Latin jazz drummer and percussionist Pete Escovedo, astonished his anxious crowd for the next 90 minutes with his infectious fervor for the Great American Songbook. The world seemed to stop—the crowd was glued to him, relishing in sheer joy the passion that this artist just radiated for his beloved craft.
Meet John Eric Booth. Singer, entertainer, radio personality, producer, devoted dad and lover of life.
That same evening, renowned bandleader Pat Longo, a mentor and friend to Booth, was on stage, astonished by how easily this humble performer awakened his audience. For some listeners, it was more than just his powerful vocals which engraved that headlining moment. Others said his style reverberates the charisma, swagger and precision of a passionate singer of the great standards from back in the day.
One thing was clear though: Booth, or “J-E-B” as he is fondly called, possesses an X factor that fascinated one of the most celebrated entertainers to ever walk the planet. During a sold-out performance of Escovedo’s band near the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the famous Hollywood & Highland Center, Escovedo, smiling, invited him to stand and greet the energized crowd. “I want you to meet my friend. His name is John Eric Booth and he’s recorded an album I want you to hear,” he said.
For J-E-B, being endorsed and recognized by a celebrated entertainer with more than ten successful albums under his own belt was overwhelming… and definitely inspiring.
THE MUSIC: “It Just Fell From the Sky!”
For Booth, this music is more than just a showcase of his talents and an expression of his passion. He considers it as a reflection of his attitude in life. “The Great Standards… are total COOL. The swinging rhythm, mindful lyrics and incredible arrangements put a smile on your face and warms your soul,” he says, grinning. “It owns a lighthearted vibe. Music that keeps your heart young… It’s definitely not simply what I do onstage…. it’s part of my life. It’s a lifestyle — I live it, breathe it, love it.”
Interestingly, he did not actually begin paying homage to the great crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Johnny Hartman, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole until his late 30’s. He mentions that growing up, he primarily listened to pop music, never imagining shining on these great classic singers.
“This music… it just fell from the sky!” he says, laughing. “I began noticing and listening more closely to the greats, along with the modern-day standouts, and I suddenly realized that this music wonderfully filled an empty place. I embraced it joyously.”
Soon after, he was on stage, submerging himself in the artistry of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole and other great classic singers. A debut CD album titled “Alive & Swinging!” swiftly followed, including 15 tracks recorded with big bands and smaller groups.
ON INFLUENCES: “I’m a mashup of my vocal favorites.”
When asked about his influences, J-E-B notes a couple of personalities that shaped him as a singer. From a precision aspect, he considers Sinatra as his major influence.
I constantly aspire to reach that same level of precision. And it really warms my heart when people compare me to Sinatra. IF ONLY! That is super flattering. But as an artist, I’m just being ME. The result of all my classic crooner influences as well as my history in pop and soul music. Once a lady yelled across the room to me “You remind me of a young Steve Lawrence.” I can live with that!
While old-school values also greatly influence him as a person, he emphasizes that in the aspect of music it is paramount to embrace modern flair. This allows him, as an artist who sings classic music, to reach younger audiences.
As an entertainer, J-E-B describes himself as more of a Dean Martin personality. “I take my performance very seriously, but I can be a goof at the same time. I love entertaining my audience with music AND my sense of humor,” he says.
The reality of Booth’s career continued to enjoy escalation when the music video for his critically acclaimed single, the Bobby Troup/Neil Hefti penned classic “Girl Talk” was released to the world. During the 12-hour shoot overlooking the beautiful seaside town of Laguna Beach, California, J-E-B recalled saying out loud to himself, “How in the world did I get here? This really IS happening.” Another dream had come true. “What a great day that was. We had so much fun that day.”
Inspirations to Take Significant Musical Steps
In the past 6 years, his career has soared from singing with background tracks, to performing with some of the most revered musicians in Los Angeles, Hollywood, New York City and Las Vegas. Within this same span of time, he has also gained avid fans from far away countries such as Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Japan and England.
Getting messages from a new fan about how my music has touched their lives is a pulse that keeps me going. It impacts me positively on a variety of personal levels and constantly enriches my life by making a difference in others.
J-E-B considers entertaining his fans as his greatest indulgence as a singer. He says his fans are the spring that propel him to higher musical levels and visions. Part of his plans for 2017 is to further reach out to his new audiences around the world and entertain them with more new music and video productions.