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Exclusive: ‘AGT’ Winner Finds Bigger Prize in Helping Homeless

Read this article online here: www.TheChristianPost.com

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Exclusive: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Finds Bigger Prize in Helping Homeless

 

BY CHRISTINE THOMASOS, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
January 9, 2015 | 8:58 am
The man on the other side of that trigger probably would have killed Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. while stealing his car years ago, but a higher power was at work.

The “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. has spoken about his life, challenges to his faith, and how he has remained rooted in God in the wake of newfound fame.

Growing up between West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan, the 40-year-old jazz singer has been shot at, homeless and felt like he hit rock bottom before he became the season six winner of NBC’s competition “America’s Got Talent.” American voters seemed to fall in love with the story of a car washer on his last dime belting out Frank Sinatra classics, but Murphy’s life did not change in the way some would think when he won $1 million and a contract to headline shows in Las Vegas.

“Being in Vegas was something that I really felt was bad for my soul, so I got out of Vegas as soon as possible after winning ‘America’s Got Talent,'” Murphy told The Christian Post. “I came back home and I started raising money for less fortunate people again, which ended up being to the amounts of $1.3 million for homeless and abused kids and different charities around the states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.”

As someone who once lived out of his car and struggled to secure a solid meal, Murphy has a hard time dealing with the mindset of those catering to famous people when there are people in need who are struggling.

“Being homeless is really weird because when you’re homeless, no one will give you anything but when you’re famous people want to give you steak dinners. That’s just weird to me; it’s so backwards,” he told CP. “I try not to let any of this go to my head and I don’t take anything for granted. I mean I’m the type, give me a steak and I’ll go and hand it to the guy that’s sitting outside begging for it.”

It is this type of humility that pulled at the heartstrings of audiences watching “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, leading them to vote for Murphy to win the competition. Since then, the jazz singer has two albums under his belt and is still enjoying the experience of touring.

Three years after getting introduced to the world through his voice, Murphy’s touring schedule is booked with shows around the country. The singer admits his music career has not been easy to maintain after winningthe coveted talent competition that brought him fame.

“I think God put me in a position, a whole lot of positions where I had to learn on the fly,” Murphy said. “I had to learn to adapt to different environments and different situations without having a vocal coach. It was all a learning process.”

Still, the Christian jazz crooner has not lost his passion for performing and remembers why God gave him the natural abilities to do so.

“[God] putting me on stage to allow me to raise money for less fortunate people was my grooming process. That was my process to get me ready for what I’m doing now,” Murphy said. “Now I just enjoy it. I still get butterflies, I still get nervous when I’m getting ready to go onstage.”

While Murphy is preparing to release his third album later this year, he remembers a time when he and his wife were robbed of everything in their West Virginia home. A talk with God let Murphy know that a bigger platform would be provided to him and then at 37 years old, his entire life changed.

The singer is proof that dreams come true at any age in life and remembers a time when people once doubted his.

“Family, friends, close people around me tried to discourage me from doing what I was doing or pursuing my dreams. But every time I got kicked down, every time I felt like I was slipping off or falling off, I’d tie a knot into the end of that rope and pull myself back up,” Murphy told CP. “God gives us the abilities to do that but it’s up to us as individuals. It’s not up to a teacher or philosopher or anybody that can tell you that, you have to have this in you.”

Murphy continues to hold onto his faith when pursuing his dreams, insisting that when people know their purpose, faith can get them through anything trying to deter them.

“From the time you start breathing, you’re on this planet to serve a purpose. That purpose is to spread the Word of Jesus Christ and let people know that we’re all under the same umbrella,” he insisted. “You’ve also got to have that endurance to know that your faith alone is going to get you through obstacles or anything that this life can throw at you. That’s what I’m always going to hold on to, I’ll never let that go.”

The singer believes that surrounding himself with positive people from all walks of life has made an impact on him and he strives to continue to impact others through his charity work.

“I always was in church, singing and doing little church fund raising events and stuff like that. It just made me better, it made me stronger so I could see what the world was really like and how people really care about other people,” Murphy revealed. “I plan on doing charity forever, that’s what it takes. I’m in a better place, I’m just doing my part.”

The Logan, West Virginia, native notices that while some people changed when he won one million dollars, but he continues to stay rooted in his faith. Murphy’s focus is on more than just his music, but helping the less fortunate beyond the holiday season.

“We’re all under the same umbrella, we all bleed red blood. It’s just sad how society tries to stereotype things or place other people in different categories when we’re all the same,” Murphy said. “Under God, there is no one greater no matter how famous you get, no matter what your status is in this world. We all have to answer to the Almighty.”

For more information about Murphy and his performances in a city near you, please visit landaumurphyjr.com.

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National talent winner to play Stambaugh


 Read this article online here: www.WKBN.com

By Dan Martin

Published: 

Updated: 

 

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Music lovers in the Mahoning Valley will soon have a chance to listen to some classic songs with a new spin.

A one-of-a-kind concert and dinner will double as a fundraiser to help minority students go to Youngstown State University.

When Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. opens his mouth to sing, like at a recent performance in Greensburg, Pa., no one expects what comes out.

“As soon as I walk out, they think they are going to hear hip hop or Motown, but my wow factor was coming out with Frank Sinatra,” Murphy said.

Millions of music fans are already familiar with the crooner. Murphy won season six of “America’s Got Talent” in 2011 at the age of 36. Now 40, he is taking his talents on the road, recording two albums and touring with gifted musicians around him.

Murphy will bring his unique voice and story to Youngstown’s Stambaugh Auditorium in March.

“I saw how many smiles I was putting on people’s faces and audiences were getting bigger and bigger,” Murphy said.

Before “America’s Got Talent,” Landau said he was just a “regular guy,” washing cars and doing charity work in his home town of Logan, W. Va. But it was time spent as a kid on the basketball courts of Detroit where Murphy found his voice.

“A lot of kids were getting killed on the playgrounds because of trash talk and things like that. So, after I dunked on you, or made you feel embarrassed, I would say (sung) “Fly me to the Moon” and it just saved a lot of kids’ lives including my own,” Murphy said.

Before his show in Youngstown, there’s a dinner where YSU will present its 2015 winners of Diversity Leadership Awards and minority scholarships.

Landau said he never graduated from high school, which is something he regrets to this day. Now, he said he wants to be the “Pied Piper” for students to stay in class, saying his life would have been easier had he stayed in school.

Murphy said following his dream and listening to God got him where he is today. Even a million-dollar prize and a Columbia recording contract couldn’t keep him from moving back home to West Virginia. He said it keeps him grounded.

Tickets for the Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. concert and the YSU Diversity scholarship dinner go on sale Friday. The show is March 27. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the concert is at 8 p.m. Tickets are required to attend the concert and dinner.

Find more ticket information here. 

Click here to purchase tickets beginning Friday, Jan. 2.

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Symphony attracts largest crowd of the year with Landau


Read this article online here: www.Herald-Dispatch.com

Dec. 21, 2014 @ 12:01 AM
Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and his 2014 Murphy and Motown Christmas Tour join with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra for a performance on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at the Keith-Albee Theatre in downtown Huntington, W.Va.

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and his 2014 Murphy and Motown Christmas Tour join with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra for a performance on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at the Keith-Albee Theatre in downtown Huntington, W.Va.

 

HUNTINGTON, WV — Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. helped the Huntington Symphony Orchestra attract its biggest crowd of the year Saturday for its “Hometown Holiday.”

The jazz singer from Logan, West Virginia, turned “America’s Got Talent” winner brought along special celebrity guests Glenn Leonard of the Temptations, Joe Coleman of The Platters and Joe Blunt of the Drifters for the show at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Together, they have been touring the country to promote Murphy’s holiday album, “Christmas Made for Two,” on the Murphy and Motown Christmas Tour, which kicked off Dec. 5 in his hometown.

Hogan Haas, CEO and executive director of the symphony, said Saturday’s concert was nearly sold out, not a big surprise given Murphy’s track record with the symphony. In August 2013, he helped sell out a performance at the symphony’s Picnic With the Pops at Harris Riverfront Park.

“This is our largest indoor concert ever,” Haas said, adding that it was the first symphony concert for many in attendance. “I know they’ll come back after they see this. It’s a great show. We have a huge orchestra, a 65-member orchestra, one of the largest ones we’ve ever had, and [Murphy] goes out into the audience and you can’t help but love it.”

The special holiday-sized symphony was directed by Kimo Furumoto and they performed everything from “Get Ready,” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” to “O Holy Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “My Girl,” and the symphony’s traditional last song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Gail Vance, of Ona, attended the show with six of her girlfriends. It was her first time seeing Murphy in concert.

“I’ve just seen him at the mall and was very impressed,” she said. “But this is Christmas music and I love symphonies. It’s just good, quality music.”

Murphy has been on the musical ride of his life since he won season six of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” $1 million, and a Columbia Records contract in September 2011.

He said in an interview with the Herald-Dispatch earlier this week that he is just having fun with it and wanting everybody else to have fun with it was well.

“It is not just my show; when you buy a ticket it is our show and we all become one and part of that special moment from the little kids to the great-grandparents who are there,” he said.

Murphy said his 2014 Murphy and Motown Christmas Tour has already been special as he got to kick it off in his beloved hometown of Logan with a holiday charity performance at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre.

The Huntington concert also had a charitable aspect to it, as the symphony handed out $500 worth of tickets earlier in the week to children at local community centers.

The donation was made possible through the symphony, as well as the Maudella Taylor Endowment administered by the Foundation for the Tri-State Community.

The symphony will return to the Keith-Albee on March 7 for “A River Runs Through It,” with Beethoven’s programmatic “Pastoral” symphony. Tickets are available by calling 304-781-8343, stopping by the symphony office at 763 3rd Ave., Huntington, or online at www.huntingtonsymphony.org.

Follow reporter Kristi Murphy on Twitter, @Kristi_Murphy.

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“Landau giving back, moving forward”

This story is available online at WilliamsonDailyNews.com
By  – klovern@civitasmedia.com – 304-235-4242
Kyle Lovern/WDNLandau Eugene Murphy, Jr. is pictured in the studios of WVOW radio after recording a public service announcement. Landau, a Logan native, will kick-off his nationwide tour in his hometown Dec. 5th.

Kyle Lovern/WDNLandau Eugene Murphy, Jr. is pictured in the studios of WVOW radio after recording a public service announcement. Landau, a Logan native, will kick-off his nationwide tour in his hometown Dec. 5th.

LOGAN – Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. strolled humbly into the studios of WVOW radio in downtown Logan, with his signature dreadlocks, right on time for his 4:00 o’clock interview.

A lot has changed for the crooning performer who won America’s Got Talent back in 2011. Before heading to New York to audition for the reality show, Landau was washing cars at a local car dealership and bussing tables at local restaurants to make ends meet. He had to borrow money to take that fateful trip to New York.

 

He is still the down to earth, southern West Virginia guy, but naturally things are different for him these days.

 

“I personally haven’t changed, but my life has,” Landau said. “With being on the show I’m definitely recognized.”

 

Murphy was wearing a modest hoody with a nice black jacket to protect himself from the unseasonably cold temperatures.

 

The Sinatra style vocalist received national attention for winning the sixth season of the NBC reality show America’s Got Talent (AGT). Fans now come up to him and ask for an autograph or to take pictures with the soulful singer. This is something he has had to get used to.

 

“A lot of people just want to talk to me and tell me how many times they voted for me,” Landau said of his life-changing appearance on AGT. “I appreciate it all and it is very humbling.”

 

Many remember watching the show when he first came out onto the stage. He was nervous, chewing gum. When one of the judges mentioned it, he put the gum in his jeans pocket.

 

Then he simply blew the judges away with his first performance of “I Got You Under My Skin.”

 

He shed tears of joy when judge Howie Mandel told him his “life would never be the same” after that first audition.

 

The rest is history as Landau went on to win the popular reality show on September 14, 2011.

 

“I’m thankful for all of the blessings I’ve had,” Landau said.

 

Landau, known as ‘Dooney’ by his close friends in the Logan area, is now making a living doing what he loves – singing to audiences at a variety of venues.

 

He is literally a rags to riches story, but Landau is giving back. He participates in a variety of charitable drives and organizations around Logan County and southern West Virginia.

 

Every holiday season, Landau is dedicated to helping hometown charities. His tour kick-off show in Logan is no exception. Some of his charities include The Salvation Army, Logan High School Prayer Club’s Canned Food Drive, and the Matt Patterson Christmas Toy Drive. He has also done events for Hospice in the Charleston area.

 

Landau’s life has changed a lot in the past three years.

 

He went from singing in local venues in Logan to performing as a headliner in Las Vegas and other locations across the U.S.

 

“I want to give back,” Landau said, about how things have changed in his life. “There are always good causes out there. It should be an all-around year thing. I’ve been blessed and I’m trying to be a good humanitarian. Hopefully it will rub off on others who can give back.”

 

He can relate to being down on his luck. At one point in his life, Landau had been homeless at age 19, sleeping in his car.

 

Landau knows that the economy is really in dire straits for the coalfields. Many miners are laid off and families are finding it tough to make ends meet.

 

“Murphy’s father was a coal miner. His parents divorced when Murphy was 8-years old. He then moved with his mother and his two brothers and two sisters to Detroit, Michigan. He dropped out of school in the 11th grade to take care of his family.

 

“I just hope I can spread some joy, especially through the holiday season,” he added, “and throughout the rest of my career. That is something I should have been doing anyway, regardless of my situation.”

 

WHAT IS NEXT FOR LANDAU 

 

After his first CD “That’s Life”, he released a Christmas album last year, “Christmas Made For Two.”

 

Half of the proceeds from that holiday release went to the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

 

He will be launching a nationwide tour at the Coalfield Jamboree in Logan on Friday, December 5. Before the performance he will be the Grand Marshall in the Logan Christmas parade.

 

“Kicking it off in Logan will really be fun,” he said. “You’re in front of your hometown and the people who know you.”

 

“It’s funny to look out in the audience and see people who you know and live around. It’s like family and they’re watching you do your show – that’s amazing,” Landau said with a wide smile.

 

After that it will be shows back to back at several locations.

 

Landau will be performing hits from his Billboard No.1 ranked debut CD and his follow up holiday release.

 

He is currently working on a third album.

 

“I am working on the third one,” Landau said with a smile. “We are working out some kinks.”

 

This new CD will have some original songs, as well as going back to the Sinatra style that has made him famous.

 

“I throw some curves in there,” he stressed. “It will be interesting when people hear it. I can really get into it.”

 

There is no release date, but Landau hopes it will be out in the spring.

 

Hollywood beckons too and Landau has been talking to some producers about appearing in a movie.

 

Landau is also working with some local singers and rappers and helping them produce a CD.

 

“I’m helping some of the guys I grew up with,” he said with a laugh. “Doing some rapping and singing – it’s going to blow people away when they hear it. I’m really looking forward to that. There is so much talent in West Virginia. I’ve been around it for a long time. I have a nice little circle of people who are ready to pursue their career.”

 

Landau wants to help them fulfill their dreams.

 

He has people listening to his style known now as “Great American Songbook” music. That was a popular term that refers to the genre of music from performers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others. It was influenced by the jazz, big band and swing styles of that era.

 

“I want to continue to bring back memories for the grandparents out there and also share that music with the younger generations,” Landau added. “You’ve just got to really love it – it’s a package – I try to bring those emotions into those songs. There are some great lyrics, but you have to sing them like they were meant to be sung.”

 

“It’s a part of a team, with the band and everyone coming together,” Landau said of his sound. “You need to connectwith the audience. It’s all fun and I want to continue to do that.”

 

BASKETBALL, HIS FIRST LOVE

 

One release Landau had in the past, when things weren’t always going so well, was playing basketball. He played in church leagues and pickup games.

 

“Basketball was the only thing that got me out of the house and kept me going,” he recalls.

 

He still likes to get out and hit the hardwood when time permits. His hectic schedule will not allow him to play as much as he would like.

 

“I haven’t had the time to play, but when I get the chance, I still like to go hoop,” Landau said. “It’s fun – it is my first love.”

 

HIS POULARITY SOARS

 

After winning AGT, Landau signed to Sony Records and Columbia Records.

 

He performed in LasVegas and had other stops at the historic Apollo Theatre and the DTE Energy Center in Detroit. He has performed with former members of The Temptations and Platters, and has headlined appearances in his home state of West Virginia and across the nation.

 

He made a Super Bowl appearance, had a televised performance at The Hollywood Christmas Parade and a string of sold out headlining shows across the U.S.

 

He also had the television talk show tour which included The Today Show, Anderson Cooper, The View, The Talk, The Wendy Williams Show, Fox and Friends, CNN, The Tom Joyner Show, Scott and Todd on WPLJ, Good Day LA, and many more.

 

He has also sung the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden and at WVU’s Mountaineer Field, prior to a West Virginia University/LSU football game, and also at several other public events.

 

(Kyle Lovern is the News and Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at klovern@civitasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

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Landau Kicks Off His ’14 National Christmas Tour with Charity Performance in His Own Hometown

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Kicks Off His 2014 National Christmas Tour with Charity Performance in His Own Hometown of Logan, West Virginia on Friday December 5th

America’s Got Talent Winner will bring special celebrity guests from Temptations, Platters, and Drifters as part of benefit performance, and be Grand Marshal of City of Logan Christmas Parade

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., the dreadlocked classic crooner vocalist who won season six of NBC Television’s America’s Got Talent, one million dollars, and a Columbia Records contract, kicks off his 2014 Murphy and Motown Christmas Tour in his beloved hometown of Logan, West Virginia on Friday December 5th with a holiday charity performance at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre. Tickets will be available this Monday, November 10th HERE and will soon be available at the Logan County Chamber of Commerce.

Landau will be performing hits from his debut CD “That’s Life” and his holiday release “Christmas Made For Two” and will preview songs from his upcoming third CD slated for a 2015 release. Also appearing with Landau as his special celebrity guests Leonard, Coleman & Blunt, the former lead vocalists of the Temptations, the Platters, and the Drifters, who have sold over 100 million records worldwide and scored dozens of number one hits.

Landau is also sharing the stage with West Virginia Teen Idol’s Shana Nelson and Seth Bunting.

Every holiday season, Landau is dedicated to helping hometown charities: his tour kick-off show in Logan is no exception. The Salvation Army, Logan High School Prayer Club’s Canned Food Drive, and the Matt Patterson Christmas Toy Drive are all receiving benefits and support from Team Landau in Logan. Ticket holders who donate to these charities can attend a special pre-concert VIP reception with Landau and Leonard, Coleman & Blunt to meet the stars, take photos, get autographs, and spread the holiday cheer.

To help coalfield residents of Logan County whose funds may be a bit tight this Christmas season, Logan County School students from kindergarten to 12th grade will receive the opportunity to receive one free ticket with each adult admission purchase.

Landau will also be serving as the Grand Marshal of the annual City of Logan Christmas Parade starting at 6:30 pm. The Murphy and Motown Christmas Concert will begin after the parade at 8:00 pm.

All of the Murphy and Motown musicians will be available after the show to meet with fans and pose for photos. Landau will be autographing copies of his classic hit Christmas album, Christmas Made For Two.

The special event is made possible by:

The City of Logan, Dave Allen Communications,

Mike Ferrell Toyota and the new Mike Ferrell Ford in Williamson,

Gatti’s Pizza, Fountain Place Cinema 8, Logan Bank and Trust, and

Southern West Virginia Community College Foundation Harmony 365

The Hatfield McCoy Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

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Landau Celebrates Sinatra in San Fran Friday December 12th

LANDAU CELEBRATES SINATRA IN SAN FRANCISCO FRIDAY DECEMBER 12TH WITH CITI PRIVATE PASS, ACTRESS/SINGER RENEE OLSTEAD, AND DAVE DAMIANI AND THE NO VACANCY ORCHESTRA

feinsteins-at-hotel-nikko-san-francisco-logo-sm

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is proud to participate in a celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 99th Birthday on Friday night December 12th at Feinstein’s at the Nikko inside the Hotel Nikko at 222 Mason Street in San Francisco, CA. Feinstein’s at the Nikko is an elegant yet intimate 140-seat nightclub operated in partnership with multi-platinum, Emmy and Grammy nominated entertainer Michael Feinstein, the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook. This will mark Landau’s first Bay Area performance, although he did headline the California State Fair in Sacramento in 2012.

Citi card members receive VIP seating near the stage and a meet and greet with Landau and the other performers while supplies last. Go to www.citiprivatepass.com, type in the keyword SINATRA and enter the passcode CITI99 when purchasing tickets. Tickets are also available at www.hotelnikkosf.com/feinsteins or by calling (415) 394-1111.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. won the sixth season of NBC TV’s America’s Got Talent after performing several of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits on his way to the $1 million grand prize and the opportunity to headline a show at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas. Murphy was signed by Columbia Records and released his first CD That’s Life (produced by Grammy winner Steve Tyrell) which debuted at number one on the Billboard Jazz charts. Landau’s follow up album “Christmas Made For Two” and his memoir of his life story “Landau – From Washing Cars to Hollywood Stars” were both huge hits, and his third album was recently completed at Sinatra’s beloved Capitol Records Studio “B.” Landau has performed Sinatra standards and more around the world from The Apollo Theater in New York to the Hollywood Christmas Parade to the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, and for U.S. Troops in Europe via Armed Forces Entertainment.

Renee Olstead is a Warner Brothers recording artist who released her self-titled CD of jazz and pop standards in 2004 which was produced by David Foster whom she later performed with on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Olstead recorded with Trumpeter Chris Botti on his 2005 album To Love AgainThe Duets and his 2006 DVD Chris Botti Live. In 2009 she released her second CD Skylark.  As an actress her credits include the television sitcom Still Standing, The Secret Life of the American Teenager as well as the film 13 Going On 30.

Dave Damiani is an emerging new talent whose debut album Watch What Happens was released last year. He, and the nine-piece No Vacancy Orchestra, is the ideal choice to celebrate the legacy of Frank Sinatra on what would have been the Chairman’s 99th Birthday. Damiani was seen on the CBS drama Vegas; performed for Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Seacrest, David Spade, and Jack Klugman and has been engaged for private events by such corporate giants as Apple, E Harmony, Microsoft, and Monster Energy Drinks. Grammy Award Winning vocalist and Feinstein’s at the Nikko performer Steve Tyrell said: “The future is bright for this up and coming singer.”

Landau added that “it’s a terrific honor to salute the Chairman Of The Board on what would have been his 99th birthday. I owe my career to Sinatra and other crooners who paved the way for me to do what I love, and I’m humbled to be asked to participate.”

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