Maysa Leak + Debra Debs
23 July 2014 Jazz Cafe London
Maysa Leak was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and knew by the time she was six that she would be a musician. “I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie. When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel.” Maysa graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in classical performance, meeting Stevie Wonder while a student. Upon graduating, she moved to North Hollywood to join Stevie Wonder’s “Wonderlove,” with whom she performed for a year, performing on the Jungle Fever soundtrack and such television shows as Oprah and The Tonight Show. In the early Nineties, Maysa auditioned over the phone to become the new lead singer of the acclaimed British jazz/funk/R&B band Incognito, moving to London for four and a half years. She has appeared on over nine Incognito recordings and continues to appear as a featured vocalist with them from time to time.
Maysa recorded her self-titled debut album for GRP in 1995, following it up with ALL MY LIFE in 1999, OUT OF THE BLUE in 2002 and SMOOTH SAILING in 2004. She then made an impact with her interpretations of classic soul music on two acclaimed albums for Shanachie, SWEET CLASSIC SOUL (2006) and FEEL THE FIRE (2007), on which she showed her ability to put her own unique stamp on familiar songs from the 1970s era. METAMORPHOSIS (2008) showed off Maysa’s prowess as a composer and A WOMAN IN LOVE (2010) found Maysa returning to her roots as a jazz singer. MOTIONS OF LOVE (2011) which featured the ballad “Have Sweet Dreams” co-written by Stevie Wonder who plays harmonica and inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and the duet “Flower Girl” showcasing Dwele.
In 2014,for the first time in her 23 year career, Maysa was nominated for a GRAMMY AWARD for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Quiet Fire” a Nancy Wilson remake she recorded on her 2013 release BLUE VELVET SOUL. Blues And Soul Magazine
July is Jazz month in the UK and accordingly Soulgigs is pleased to announced that Maysa Leak will also perform in Sicily on 19th July, Birmingham Jam House on 22nd July and Manchester Band on the Wall on 24th of July 2014.
Talented Cameroon-born, London-based soul singer/song-writer Debra Debs returns with a fresh new album entitled ‘LifeCycles’ – released late November 2013 and rapidly garnering rave reviews within the UK soul and jazz circuit. For music lovers with a penchant for sounds blessed with groove and soul, this is one album that is guaranteed to stay on rotate.
Recently No 1 on the UK SoulCharts and Jazz FM’s January week 3 ‘Album of the Week’, ‘LifeCycles’ blend of “NeosoulfulJazzyRnBAfrosoulThings” and as much of a mouthful that is, the LP is an intricate blend of sounds infused with 90’s RnB, Jazz, Gospel, AfroSoul and skilled lyricism that tend to impart socio-conscious messages or resonate poetic enchantments for those with a weakness at describing seduction and life’s multi-experiences.
There is no mistaking she’s been influenced by the likes of Jill Scott, Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, Sarah Vaughn, Mary J Blige and many other greats. Currently promoting ‘LifeCycles, Debra Debs is impressively one of the UK’s finest emerging artists and certainly one to watch in 2014.
The last 3 years have culminated in an impressive music CV for an unsigned artist. First kicking off with her 2011 EP release ‘WHUMAN’ with it’s socio-conscious liberating track Africa ‘Higher Higher’ reaching 1+ million Youtube hits and being broadcast across Africa and the UK. ‘LifeCycles’ has been on rotation in London’s Soul/RnB/Jazz specialist stations such as Jazz FM, Solar Radio, Mi-Soul, Starpoint etc culminating with a live performance on the Robert Elms show on BBC London 94.9 etc.
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