Seven years ago, Jua Howard was making something of 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.
Jua, uses only his first name professionally. In Swahili "Jua "means "sun". As any musician he was having second thoughts about his musical career and the direction he should take.: "I got tired of what I was doing," and the Chicago born singer added: "With the Neo-soul scene, everything started sounding the same."
During the summer of 2009, after quitting a nine to five job with a nonprofit scholarship program in Washington, D.C., Jua moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and enrolled at Berkeley’s Jazz school Institute, known as the California Jazz Conservatory. During his year there, he became the first recipient of the school's Mark Murphy Vocal Jazz Scholarship, named for veteran poll winning singer Murphy. He also studied privately with vocal coach Raz Kennedy, formerly of Bobby McFerrin's "Voicestra".
Currently dividing his residence between NYC and Raleigh, North Carolina,, Jua, emerges as a unique and highly emotive jazz vocalist.