Close to ten years ago, Jua Howard was making quite a name for himself in neo-soul circles, crooning in velvety tenor tones reminiscent of Luther Vandross and Donny Hathaway in clubs from New York City to London. “Anticipation”, his 2007 self-released debut CD of mostly original ballads, was picking up play on Smooth Jazz and R&B stations. Yet Jua, who uses only his first name professionally (Swahili for “sun”), was having second thoughts about his musical direction. The Chicago-born singer says, “With the R&B neo-soul scene, everything started to sound the same.”

While living in the Washington D.C. area and working for Howard University, Jua gigged as a background vocalist with the legendary Blackbyrds, the band best-known for such 1970s hits as “Walking in Rhythm” and “Happy Music.” “Jazz was clearly a big part of their foundation,” he says of the Blackbyrds.

“Singing with them made me think seriously about pursuing a career in jazz.”

 During the summer of 2009, Jua moved to the San Francisco area and enrolled at Berkeley’s Jazzschooll Institute, now known as the California Jazz Conservatory. As one of the inaugural students in their Jazz Vocals program, he became the first recipient of the Conservatory’s Mark Murphy Vocal Jazz Scholarship, named for veteran poll-winning singer Murphy. Jua also studied privately with vocal coach Raz Kennedy, formerly of Bobby McFerrin’s “Voicestra”, while there.

 In June 2014, Jua emerged as a unique and highly emotive jazz vocal stylist with the release of his sophomore recorded project “Colors of Life.” Jua currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he continues song-writing, performing and working on his next project.

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Performance Calendar

Previous events



Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington, NC

I am honored to return to the JAZZ @ THE CAM Series hosted by the Cameron Art Museum and the Cape Fear Jazz Society in Wilmington, NC! I will be joined by a trio of phenomenal musicians: Andrew Berinson (piano), Lance Scott (bass), Donovan Cheatham (drums).  

$20 - non-members, $12 - CAM/CFJS Members, $10 Students with valid college ID


The Shed Jazz Club

The Shed Jazz Club, 807 E. Main St., Durham, NC

Me and my Trio, JC Martin (guitar), Kenny Phelps McKeown (bass), Donovan Cheatham (drums), will be back at The Shed on Friday November 18th at 8pm. Start your weekend & Holiday season with your soul stirring and your body swaying to LIVE music. A little classic, a little contemporary but ALL LIVE JAZZ! LOOK TO SEE YOU THERE! www.juasmusic.com



The Velvet Note

The Velvet Note, 4075 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA

ATLANTA FAMILY/FRIENDS...I will FINALLY be performing music from my latest CD "Colors of Life" and other favorites of mine in the Atlanta area.  In addition, I will be making my debut at The Velvet Note! There will be two shows offered: 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.  Please come out and share in this monumental evening with me!