Jazz has a handful of reigning families — the Clayton, Marsalis, and Eubanks clans among them — but until recently you'd be forgiven for overlooking the McFerrins. The emergence of Madison McFerrin, an inspired singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, underscores the talent in this new musical dynasty.
McFerrin is the daughter of vocal luminary Bobby McFerrin, and the sister of two talented siblings, the electronic artist Taylor McFerrin and the Broadway actor Jevon McFerrin. When she embarked on her own musical career, it took off a bit faster than expected. With that rise came a stumble, one that almost derailed her dreams, when she botched the national anthem at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally, televised for all to see.
During her visit to The Checkout, McFerrin spoke candidly about that harrowing moment, and performed selections from her new EP, Finding Foundations: Vol. II. She also discussed her path to becoming a solo artist, and the pressures of her family's musical legacy. She describes her sound as "Future Soul," but there's no denying her jazz influence; she says her father helped with the arrangement of her single "Insane."
McFerrin is gearing up for an appearance at SXSW on March 14. Here she is in the WBGO performance studio singing "Can You See," a mesmerizing original that addresses the issue of police brutality.
Video: Chris Tobin
Audio Recording: Corey Goldberg