With a style that is both soulful and sophisticated, vocalist Maysa Leak is known both for an ever more dazzling solo career and a twenty year collaboration with the band Incognito. 2011 promises to be really special for her and got off to quite a start with the February release of ‘The Very Best Of Maysa’ on the N-Coded label. It adds a couple of all new tunes to treasures taken from the three CD’s she recorded for them in the period 2000 – 2004 and when I talked to her recently from her home in Baltimore, MD I was curious to know what she thought about this dazzling retrospective. “To my mind,” she revealed, “a ‘best of’ compilation such as this is a landmark in any artist’s career. I’m flattered that N-Coded should consider my work to be worthy of such treatment. It feels good.”
I queried what else might be on the way. “Well” she replied “I released my recording of jazz standards, ‘A Woman In Love’ in 2010 but for the last three years have been working on a live CD that I expect to complete in the summer and which will be titled ‘Live At The Birchmere’. The Birchmere has been such a great venue for me over the years. I’m producing the album myself, the tracks are all in the can and I just need to have it mixed. I’m also working on an idea for a Christmas collection which will be a blend of traditional songs done in my own way and some new compositions.”
With all this going on I speculated that some live appearances may be on the agenda. “As it happens” she clarified “I am touring now with Angela Bofill. As you might have heard Angela recently had a massive stroke but is now recovering really well. The show, named the Angela Bofill Experience, is based on her life story which she narrates while I do the songs. It’s going incredibly well. In May I will be going out on the road with Jonathan Butler and Eric Darius on what we are calling the ‘Soul Of Summer’ tour. There are already some dates scheduled and more are being added all the time.”
Amidst all this success I wondered what continued to drive her. “Writing and making music is where I want to be” she told me with enthusiasm. “The business side of things is a whole different thing and for that I surround myself with experts.”
One thing is certain, with talent to burn and a focus that is astounding, Maysa can only go from strength to strength. Here’s to the next twenty years.
Check back here soon for a complete review of ‘The Very Best Of Maysa’.