You don’t have to explain that music is a family thing to the McFerrins. Madison McFerrin is only too happy to take over the baton as the latest addition in the McFerrin Music Marathon. Wondering about the royalty in this family tree? Have a look! And if you like what you see: Madison’s playing at BIRD on 2 May.
Robert McFerrin, Sr.
We go back to 1955, when the first African American performer was offered a contract by the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The name of that opera singer? Robert McFerrin! Grandpa McFerrin had quite the influence on his son and Grammy Award winner Robert McFerrin, Jr.
Bobby McFerrin, Jr.
Bobby ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ McFerrin needs no introduction. He has more than 50 years of experience in jazz-scatting. He explains the big difference between him and his daughter Madison best: “Maddie has built her career on words, and I’ve built it on non-words.”
The musical education in the McFerrin family home becomes clear after watching this video:
Big brother Taylor McFerrin is Bobby’s oldest son (making him Madison’s big brother). He’s a respected artist as well: Taylor is mostly known in the (future) soul scene and as a member of Robert Glasper’s R+R=Now. He undoubtedly inherited his talent from his father, but Taylor developed it slightly differently: he’s a proper whizz-kid, and his language is digital.
And last but not least is Jevon McFerrin. Jevon is the odd one out: he’s the only one in the family who doesn’t have a career as a singer. At least, not like his brother and sister, because Jevon McFerrin chose to be an actor. The musical education he received at home is perceptible as well, because besides small roles in movies, he’s mostly known as an actor and singer on stage. He played Hamilton in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit play.