Jazzy/soul singer Maysa is not new to the game. At age six, she knew she wanted to sing after her mother took her to see a production of “Purlie” starring Melba Moore. The Baltimore native followed that dream to a degree in classical performance from Morgan State University and a chance meeting with Stevie Wonder.
That led to a stint as part of Wonder’s famed Wonderlove background group and eventually to becoming the lead singer of Incognito, the popular U.K. based jazz/funk/R&B ensemble, appearing on nine releases and moving to London for four and a half years.
By 1995, Maysa was ready for her own CD and has since released 9 solo albums, including 2011’s “Motions In Love,” which Wonder guest starred on. On the eve of releasing her 10th solo project, “Blue Velvet Soul,” we caught up with Maysa to get some insight on her life and music.
Blackamericaweb.com: This release was conveniently scheduled during Black Music Month. Why this project and why now?
Maysa: This is my 10th solo studio project and when they first approached me to do another one, I wasn’t really ready because my mother passed away last August. She was my best friend in the whole world, so I really didn’t have any music. I wasn’t feeling anything. I was quite numb for a long time so I told them I wasn’t ready to do this one. There were a lot of obstacles and blockages I had to fight through to get this record done. But God always seems to bless my music. This time I tried to let go and let the chips fall where they may and it came out good. I think it’s one of my best records so far.
You have almost 25 years in the business and have worked with some great people. Since it’s Black Music Month, what can you tell us about Stevie Wonder?
The first time I met him he brought out in me the kind of perfectionist vibe that my parents instilled in the first place. When you work with Stevie Wonder, you don’t want to be mediocre. You don’t want to half-ass anything. He’s just top-notch. I remember signing on “Jungle Fever” and in that first session for “These Three Words,” I was so worried about my note because I was the new kid on the block. I was practicing my note and I heard Stevie saying “Maysa, you got it, stop worrying about it, you got it!”
You also worked with Incognito, one of the major groups of contemporary jazz. What was that experience like?
It was incredible. I’ve been around the world 3 or 4 times with them. It’s just been amazing. They travel on a consistent, constant basis. I can’t do it anymore. I have to stay home and take care of my son. But just to be exposed to different cultures, it was unbelievable. When you get onstage in different countries and people are singing every word of your songs, that was amazing to me. But that’s what music does.
What do you want your fans new and old to know about this project?
Well, this record is not jazz-influenced at all. I do a little bit of scatting here and there. Most of my records have had a jazz influence. But I find myself leaning more towards R&B music right now and doing it the old school way. R&B, soul music and funk music is in my spirit, it’s in my soul, in my DNA.
Some people want me to go back strictly to my jazz roots, but I’m definitely not there anymore. For people who don’t know my music, I think this record has enough variety on it to reach many people. I try to do my best to do records that are seamless.
I would never do a record with a filler song. Every record I do is carefully planned out with a theme or thought in mind. I hope everybody can find something in this music that is helpful to their life or makes them happy or helps them from a sad time to a happy time. That’s all I want to do in life. That’s my job.
Buy Blue Velvet Soul” here.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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