As a professional entertainer Jay White recognizes the importance of presenting a crystal clear image to the public. For his entire career, that image has reflected one of the world's best loved musical treasures with his uncanny physical and vocal likeness to Neil Diamond.
Over the past 24 years, White has gone from a Diamond in the rough to a polished headline performer whose command of the stage and his audience has put him at the top of his craft. He has achieved all the facets of Diamond himself, from the singer's rich baritone vocals and subtle swagger of the hips to that charismatic smile. White’s performance bears such a natural resemblance to Diamond’s, that after having met several of his family members, they were nothing less than amazed by his uncanny depiction and his soft-spoken off-stage demeanor says White: "I’ve been treated with such kindness and acceptance by Neil's mother, son and brother and I’m even more thrilled to have recently appeared on Neil's DVD and CD box set entitled "Stages.”
In 1996 and again in 2002, White met Diamond backstage before his MGM Grand, Las Vegas appearances, where he asked Neil to autograph a photo of the two of them. Neil signed: "Jay, keep singing, so I can stay home and relax, your friend in music." White was extremely flattered and honored.
In a 2002 interview, Diamond was asked about the accuracy and popularity of several tribute acts and he replied, "I've heard a few of them and I'm always complimented by their efforts, but my favorite is a young man from Las Vegas named Jay White."
As for the public, White has performed several corporate events where people have rushed the stage screaming and believing that Neil Diamond was truly there! One woman, after a "Legends in Concert" performance (White was in the Vegas show for nine years), returned to the box office insisting that all the performers that night were impersonators... except for Neil Diamond. Most recently at a Princeton University Reunion, 1,500 wildly enthusiastic student alumni (ages 23 – 63) were convinced they had just seen Neil perform live! Again, White is very grateful that his years of hard work and dedication are both so convincing and so appreciated.
Jay White first became a fan in 1978, singing along with albums like “Love at the Greek” (obtained by White after his first Diamond concert), when he discovered his vocal range and natural sound were very similar to Neil's. Initially Jay performed in musical theatre (The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.) and soon after, sang with a doo-wop group called The Voices. Between 1975 and 1980 his love for the stage increased and by 1981 he was offered a lead vocalist job with a top 40 band where people began to tell him of his vocal similarity to Neil. Unknowingly, these part time opportunities were instrumental in developing his voice and stage presence for the unexpected fluke that would ultimately become a lifelong journey.
In 1982, White landed his first job performing as Diamond at a Supper Club near Detroit. It was here (with the help of the Jazz Singer film and some of Neil’s local concerts) that he studied and worked to capture the essence and charismatic stage presence of this American musical icon. By 1983 he had quit his day job selling insurance, to embark on one of life’s most unstable and yet exciting careers. Concerned about the potential for long term success, this shy risk taker turned a fluke into five solid years of steady work. This eventually led to an offer of a lifetime from a most unexpected place...Las Vegas!
In 1989, White's career and life took an exciting turn when "Legends in Concert" producer John Stuart heard of the singer's talent and asked him to audition. Both producer and performer were thrilled with the results, landing White his first Legends performance for seven weeks as the closing act in a new "Living Legends" show in Reno. Upon its close, Stuart asked White to join Legends at the Imperial Palace as the first "living" legend in the Las Vegas production (the show originally portrayed performers no longer living). A deal was struck and as the decade was about to change, so were the unique opportunities for this mostly shy and introverted singer.
Since 1990, White has performed from Europe to Asia and hundreds of cities across the U.S. and Canada. He played 50 weeks a year at the Imperial Palace for almost nine years, where he became Legend's longest running act in one venue. With a desire to stretch and challenge his stage performance, White decided in 1997 to find an agent who believed in his talent and his new band. Together they headed for the corporate market to introduced their all-new 75-minute show. "The performance is more than the look and sound alone," says White, "from facial expressions and charming wit to audience participation. It all needs to come together to form an exhilarating, emotional experience."
Even though he may in real life resemble Neil Diamond, White says that when he leaves the stage, the persona ends there. "I love performing and I feel blessed to have such a wonderfully supportive family and fan base and yet, I'm thrilled and amazed that I've come so far," he says.
It's no wonder Lezza Gibbons of "Entertainment Tonight" wrote White a letter calling him "uncanny and truly amazing!" and that Jay Leno said, "He does a great job." White has garnered such honors as performing for President and Nancy Reagan and introducing "Waiting to Exhale" actress Starletta Depois at the Miss Universe Pageant, including an appearance with Bob Hope for the American Legion. White has performed for numerous charity benefits sponsored by The City of Hope, Lions HealthFirst Foundation and other non-profit organizations. Since the start of the war in Afghanistan and Iraqi he has also donated his time to sing the National Anthem at professional hockey, basketball and soccer events in Detroit, Tampa, Arizona, California and Las Vegas. His Fan Club president Susan Fry, has a mailing list consisting of several hundred enthusiastic long time ”Diamondheads.”
As a corporate act, he's performed in countless casinos, theaters and 4 star hotels in Las Vegas and worldwide. He's astounded audiences for Toyota, McDonald's, Franklin Life, Epson, Tupperware, the Emergency Nurses Association and dozens more. As a proud husband and father, he resides in Las Vegas with his wife Pam and his two musically talented children, Neil and Stephanie, who occasionally perform on stage in White's show, while his oldest son Jason is a Marine Sergeant who recently returned from Iraq.
Apart from the music, White's first passion was to play professional hockey. As a young boy his goaltending skills developed quickly. By age 21 he had briefly appeared in a few semi-pro IHL games, where he returned in his 30's as the practice goalie for the Las Vegas Thunder during the mid 90s. White is currently an NHL Alumni goaltender for charities and recently Vegas sportscaster Ron Futrell did a story about his unique talents.
As a performer, White's popularity grows by leaps and bounds because his dedication to accuracy, his respect for the singer/composer and his attention to detail from the office to the stage have put him at the top of his class. In the last few years, White has worked and completed a Broadway musical on Neil Diamond’s life. Next step is finding a venue for this musical. There is no doubt about it -- when it comes to the recreation of “The World's Classiest Rock Star,” Jay White is a real gem.
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