The founder of New Divinity, Jimy Bleu was born & raised in New York City & has been a professional singer/musician since his early teens.
Throughout his many years around the world on stage, he has backed-up &/or toured with such notaries as Wilson Pickett, Slade, Betty Wright, Aerosmith, Isaac Hayes, J.Geils Band, Joe Tex, Foghat, New Birth, Al Green, Jimmy Castor, The Black Crowes, Don Covey, Brook Benton & Lonnie Youngblood to name a few.
Bleu’s training includes the High School of Performing Arts, Berklee College of Music, The New School, Greenwich House Music School & HB Studio. He was signed to indie label Select Records, then later was signed to Columbia/Def Jam Records. Blending a wide range of strong influences such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Sun-Ra, George Benson, Mahalia Jackson, James Brown & George Gurdjieff, his stage show always delivers an exciting presentation of musical skill & showmanship.
Working as a Columbia studio multi-musician, Bleu played on tracks for such artists as Oran “Juice” Jones, Alyson Williams & Chuck Stanley, earning him favorable reviews for his musicianship by the Village Voice & Daily News NYC publications. This later led to Bleu & his all-female backup band being signed to Columbia/Def Jam with entertainment mogul Russell Simmons as his personal manager.
As a filmmaker & playwright, Bleu brings a transformative vision into storytelling while producing uniquely entertaining presentations. Besides being involved in the musical & visual aspects of New Divinity, Bleu takes special fulfillment in coaching younger talent not only in the entertainment industry but those seeking to enhance their life's journey.
Jimy Bleu Is Part Of A Long Legacy Of Entertainers.
His maternal grandfather Babe Wallace was the true definition of a 'Renaissance Man', being an actor, singer, musician, songwriter & poet. As an actor, Wallace lived in Paris for years, making a name as the first black man to headline at the Folies Bergere, where he appeared with cabaret megastar Josephine Baker. After moving to Hollywood, typical of the period, he was relegated to "race" films for "colored" audiences since at that time those were often the only films that black entertainers were featured in. Ultimately, they were helpful in reaching a wider audience, & Babe Wallace appeared in a handful of them, leaving an indelible imprint on everyone. Wallace captures your full attention in Smash Your Baggage (1932). The Black Network (1936) co-starring Nina Mae McKinney, which is widely regarded as one of the absolute best of the genre. There was also The Devil's Daughter (1939), Rhythm in a Riff (1947), The Fight Never Ends (1949) & the immortal Stormy Weather (1943) in which he played leading man opposite Lena Horne.
Often appearing in films & shorts with The Nicholas Brothers dance team resulted in Babe & Harold Nicholas becoming good friends. The two often double-dated the Dandridge Sisters, with Harold eventually marrying Dorothy & Babe fathering a son with Vivian.
As a singer/songwriter, Wallace has written thousands of songs and poems, some for entertainers like Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway & Billy Eckstine to name a few. When Ella inherited Chick Webb's orchestra after his death in 1939, Wallace who was then dating Ella helped front the band for a short time.
During the 1950s, Wallace moved to Israel where he often sang in Yiddish and enjoyed success as a popular recording artist. He developed a solid reputation all over Europe touring with old friends like Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. In the latter part of his career, Broadway beckoned and he appeared with Robert Guillaume in Guys And Dolls!
In the late 1990s, the Burger King franchise licensed his song “A Chicken Aint’ Nothin’ But A Bird” recorded by both Ella & Cab for their chicken sandwich TV & radio campaign.
Bleu's father Larry Austin was a prolific singer/musician/dancer, close friends with Sammy Davis Jr, who in the 1950s was the featured performer in the first interracial Doo-Wop group, The Four Guys. This group was known for their superb musicianship, outstanding singing as well as the awe-inspiring dancing of Larry & his brother Billy.
Here is the link to a book about Larry & his group, written by one of the group's members:
Bleu's mother Carolyn Wallace was a professional singer who performed in both Gospel & Jazz venues. In the Gospel community, she was well known for her singing & being a skilled coordinator of events. In the Jazz community, she occasionally worked with some of the top names & was the featured front singer for many of their groups. She was also a dancer having been trained at the famed Katherine Dunham School Of Dance & she often performed with her husband Larry Austin.
Carolyn is responsible for Bleu seriously focusing on becoming an entertainer while he was a young teenager & she continues to be the guiding inspiration in his life.