Jimmie Herrod, veteran singer and America’s Got Talent phenom, dubbed the show’s “best male vocalist” by judge Howie Mandel, performs at the Orinda Theatre on Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. as part of the Live At the Orinda! concert series’ 2022-23 lineup.
Audience members can expect an “eclectic evening that still brings emotional punches,” said Herrod. He plans to showcase around 75 minutes of material, ranging from classic jazz tunes to original songs, accompanied by pianist George Colligan, a long-time collaborator.
Although Herrod is best known for his spirited song covers on the long-running talent show, he said curating a full-length setlist gives him room to share different aspects of his artistic personality. It gives him the chance to not only hit those high notes, but to create more intimate moments with his listeners; something he is sure to achieve in the close-up, cabaret-style Theatre.
“There is nothing more powerful than someone having choice over what they say and what emotion they want to express, and how they want to express it,” he said.
Herrod, 32, was born in Germany and raised in Tacoma, Wash. and has always loved music. While in high school, he sang at retirement homes and rehabilitation centers, and before that, he played the clarinet. Following his passion, he studied music as an undergraduate at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and earned a Master’s Degree in jazz studies from Portland State University.
Over the years he has been in multiple bands, tapping into different music styles. From being a vocalist for the cross-genre, 20-plus-year-old ensemble Pink Martini, to being on the small, disco-fusion group Richie Aldente, Herrod has been an avid explorer. Change can also be seen through his solo discography.
In his 2018 album, Falling in Love and Learning to Love Myself, jazz piano and endearing vocals take the fore. But in his most recent project, Elated, upbeat and mysterious chords blend with Herrod’s seductive lyrics to make for a totally different experience. Yet across his stylistic evolution, the thrill of performance has always been a constant for the experienced musician.
“Music has always been a big part of my life and performing is always another chance to say ‘hello’ to people through music,” Herrod said. “That is definitely what keeps me drawn to it.”
Michael Williams, one of the co-creators of the Orinda Theatre’s Live At the Orinda! concert series, remembers hearing Herrod’s voice for the first time at a Pink Martini show in San Francisco.
“The sound of his voice just triggered my soul,” he said; knowing then Herrod was someone Orindans had to see.
Williams worked with Theatre owner Derek Zemrak to create Live At the Orinda! in 2018. Shutting down during the pandemic, this season is a return to its pre-pandemic operations, Williams noted, with six remaining shows and drinks ready to be served throughout the 170-seat venue. For tickets and more information, visit www.orindamovies.com.
For Williams, it is a welcomed return to normalcy. Orinda’s concert series gives people a chance to meet for a couple hours, enjoy a drink and watch talented people do what they do best, he added.
“It’s about the community. It is about creating a community of music lovers; it is about experiencing these artists and live shows,” Williams said. “You just don’t get it anywhere except [when] experiencing it together.”
Tristan Shaughnessy can be reached at email@example.com.