Jamie Foxx is back to work and giving away money to average “Jane and John Doe America” and he “loves giving away the networks’ money!” A Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award winning actor and musician, Foxx’ new show, “Beat Shazam” is produced by Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”) and Jeff Apploff (“Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”).
Foxx was recently interviewed by Michael Strahan in New York, as part of the 92Y talk series, and he kept the packed house on the edge of their seats with his stories about his new game show, Hollywood, life, money — and why he’s going back to his stand-up comic roots.
A classically trained musician and singer, Foxx felt that “Beat Shazam” suited his personality.
The talk series was part of his publicity tour for his new show; Foxx made it clear to the audience that his Robin Hood-esque personality is giving away “big brothers’” money to hard-working people, who like him, love music. But expressed that the “Beat Shazam” game show isn’t easy.
On the surface, “Beat Shazam” seems like an easy game; the press notes describe the show as a fun interactive game show that pits teams of two against the clock and each other as they attempt to identify the biggest hit songs of all time. But can the human brain beat the algorithm-based app?
In the end, the team with the most money banked will outlast the competition and go against the world’s most popular song identification app, Shazam, for the chance to win a huge cash prize.
In each round, Foxx will present a choice of two music categories, ranging from ‘80s Favorites to Beyoncé Hits. Teams will hear a song and try to identify its correct title before the other teams. As the rounds progress, the quickest pairs will continue building their banks, while players with the lowest dollar amount will be eliminated until only one team remains. That winning team will play man-versus-machine and attempt to Beat Shazam.
Here is a brief excerpt of the conversation with Jamie Foxx:
LA Sentinel (LAS): Why did you want to come back to TV?
Jamie Foxx (JF): Kevin Hart has a show on TV, I’m jealous. J-Lo (Jennifer Lopez) has a show on TV, I’m jealous. Steve Harvey has a show on TV, I’m jealous. Everybody has a show on TV, I’m jealous. This show, [“Beat Shazam”] is perfect for me because it’s music and it’s giving out money and that’s always a cool thing!
LAS: What do you love about your new show?
JF: For real? I love giving away the networks’ money! There is a million dollars on the line.
The contestants are everyday, working class American people. When you think about, I mean, If I had not made it …. I remember thinking, how could I ever rustle up two-hundred bucks? A hundred dollars — you know — my alternator went out and I was like … ‘Oh no, what am I going to do? You know? I go to Pep Boys [I remember] and [I] try to bargain…Please just give me one that somebody used!’
It’s touching when people win because most said that the money was going to be used to help people that they love. Isn’t that something? One winner said the money was going to help his mother and another man, it really touched me, he’s going to be able to send his kids to college—debt free. Handing student loans — that was a big one.
LAS: What was one of the biggest life lessons that you’ve learned and how did you learn it?
JF: Wow. That is a big one. I learned how to act when things were going my way. After I was nominated for an Oscar® for “Ray” I was wilding out a little too much. The Oscars were in February  but in November I was acting the fool. I was like — “We’re nominated, dog,” and I went to clubs and just [was] really making it sort of bad. I remember, I went to an award show and I was messed up, doing all these crazy poses on the red carpet [laughter]. I was really not representing myself right and my publicist said, “Do you want to take a look at yourself on the red carpet?’ He asked me, “Is this really what you want to do because you are going to blow it.” I said [to my publicist] ‘Come on man, I am just trying to have a good time. We ain’t gonna win that shit, know way better, just have a good time.’ I’m all in Miami, partying, fighting and my publicist said, “I do not think that you understand, you are going to mess around and lose this.”
And I said to him, “Does it really matter?” Then I get a call from Oprah Winfrey. (Mimicking the iconic voice of Oprah Winfrey): “Hi Jamie Foxx, It’s Oprah Winfrey … Jamie Foxx, what are you doing Jamie Foxx? You’re blowing it Jamie Foxx. Listen. You are blowing it. I want you to understand why it’s important for you to win because Ray is a decent character, a redemptive character and we need you to understand how important it is. Listen, I am going to take you somewhere. I will have you picked up in a week, I’ll take you somewhere so you understand the significance.”
And she took me to Quincy Jones’ house. When I walked into Quincy Jones’ house every Black actor — from the ’60s and ’70s — was there to greet me and make me understand how important the moment was. As actors, some had not performing in 20 years. They all said [to me] I’m counting on you.
Then Oprah grabbed my hand and asked, “Do you want to see the person that you’ve come here to see? He’s right there…” [and I turned] and standing there, in a tuxedo, was Sidney Poitier.
And this is what [Sidney] said, “When I saw your performance [in Ray] I grew two inches. It’s important.” And after that night, I got myself together. My little daughter came with me [to the Oscars] and once again, there was Oprah, but her arms were around the whole situation and made it right. I am sitting there with my daughter and just about when they’re going to say my name, my daughter says: “Even if you don’t win dad, you are still a great actor” and they call my name, y’all remember, and Oprah was like “Congratulations, Jamie Foxx!”
LAS: What’s next? We know about musical game show Beat Shazam. What’s next for Jamie Foxx?
JF: I am going back out [to the comedy clubs] for stand up. That’s why I am so on right now. I’ve been in the [comedy] gym so any chance that I get, I share. The stand up performance is being called — “I Got Stories” — and it’s basically all of the stories of [events] that’s happened to me along with some topical stuff that’s going on in my life.
This summer I am going to all of the comedy clubs that I hit when I first started and any pop ups. I do not know how you are in your social media but if you follow me on @iamjamiefoxx. I will say — boom — I will be here in the next two weeks or boom on this day, so I can do this organically.
Beat Shazam on FOX Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT.