Red Hot NYC Jazz Singer Talks About His Gay Dad

How did straight jazz singer Marcus Goldhaber handle his Dad coming out late in life?




Warner: Were there musicians you took to?

Goldhaber: I really took to Sarah Vaughan and Chet Baker. I think between those two, I really had a nice marriage of the great American songbook and the jazz interpretation of it.  Remember, too, I was in high school, so I was still listening to groups like the Goo Goo Dolls, the grunge scene, Pearl Jam, Phish,  even the The Doors and Grateful Dead. But if you listen to those bands, they all had very sophisticated harmonies. I mean, Phish is a bunch of Berkeley jazz guys, so it’s pretty amazing to me how music manifests.  My grandfather was a drum major in the Army. He was a big influence on me. My dad was always sure we had tickets to the Performing Arts Center for the latest shows, my sister was quite insistent that I get into musicals at school. So, I had quite an eclectic mix of music influences in my childhood and that all played into where I am today.

Warner: When did you know it was time to leave Buffalo and head to the big city?

Goldhaber:  I made the move right after college and it was very much a move that evolved from the catch phrase: “Well…. that’s what you do.”  I mean, here I was with a degree in musical theater, and everyone that I had talked to was like, “What’s next? You’re going to New York, right?” I mean, my friends, my parents, my parent’s friends, the dry cleaner [Laughs] all said, “You’re off to New York now?” So, yeah, I did just that.

Warner: What was that transition like?

Goldhaber: I crashed on a friend’s couch until I could get myself settled and started auditioning and trying out for tons of stuff and luckily, I found work right away.  After the shows and rehearsals, though, I would always go out to the jazz clubs just to be around that whole scene, keeping that part of my life alive.  I guess about 5 or 6 years of making a living as an actor, singer, dancer, I realized I was missing something.  I missed it, all those songs were still in my head, and it gave me a connection to…my childhood, my home. That connection is important to me.  So, that’s really where this all began for me.

Warner: Critics have described you as “imaginative” and "exciting.". How would you describe yourself?

Goldhaber:  Wow, interesting question. I’d like to think of myself as a communicator, an entertainer, not just a flashy coat out in Vegas, because for me there are two factors when I’m putting a show together. I’m telling a story and I want to feel like the audience gets it.  I want them to feel something. It’s about the connection, entertaining them. So, that’s what I aim for — telling a story and hopefully a high level of entertainment.

Tags: Music