In the Internet age, musicians can share their work and talent with audiences like never before. Dependence on larger labels for publicity has greatly diminished, and it isn’t unheard of for a home video to launch a blossoming talent into a pop sensation — just ask Justin Bieber. Often, those who hope to attain stardom in the age of the viral video record themselves performing their best versions of already established pop hits. While the performance talent is often apparent, unfortunately these covers can sound like low-quality facsimiles, rarely bringing anything new to the familiar tunes. Scott Bradlee is one incredible musician who has successfully broken out of that mold.
Under the name Postmodern Jukebox, Bradlee transforms and rearranges modern pop songs into vintage-style tunes. While seated at the piano, Bradlee records these unique reimaginings with various guest artists, some as featured performers and others as recurring band members. By taking these popular hits and recording them in a completely different style, Bradlee highlights the emotional turmoil, the struggle against the status quo, the longing of love — in short, the universal experiences within each song that make them timeless.
In the following performance featuring lead vocals by Mykal Kilgore and guest pianist Todd Schroeder, Bradlee takes Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and records it as a doo-wop song in the styles of Jackie Wilson and Frankie Valli. For a song that topped the charts worldwide and is the best-selling single of one of the best female vocalists of our time, it would be nearly impossible for a traditional cover to out-do the original. Rather, by applying the unique twist for which Postmodern Jukebox has come to be known, Bradlee has given the song fresh appeal for a whole new audience. While some YouTube commenters noted that Postmodern Jukebox did not “beat” the original, others who never liked the original had a newfound appreciation for it.
Since it was uploaded on August 6, 2015, the Celine Dion cover has been viewed over 850,000 times and is well on its way to being another one of Postmodern Jukebox’s hits. It is covers like the 1950s-style “We Can’t Stop” (Miley Cyrus), vintage jazz “Creep” (Radiohead) and New Orleans blues “Sweet Child of Mine” (Guns N’ Roses) that have earned Postmodern Jukebox’s YouTube channel nearly 1.5 million subscribers and enough fans worldwide to warrant a tour across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.