GFM recently chatted with Maysa about her current project Blue Velvet Soul that dropped this past Tuesday June 18th.

GFM: Tell us a little bit about Blue Velvet Soul

Maysa: Blue Velvet Soul is 15 songs which more than half are uptempo dance oriented stuff. I tried to keep it light on this record, I wanted to be not so serious about anything. I’m not in a relationship so there’s no drama. There are a lot great things about the record… initially I didn’t want to do a record with the passing of my mom I didn’t really want to sing. But my mom told me to keep going and not stop, so I’m doing what she told me to do. Basically this record came about because of God’s Grace because I don’t know how I got to the point that I’m happy and dealing because I was struggling to pull it together.

GFM: Has there been a common thread that you can point to that’s been the key to your success?

Maysa: I think I’ve been sharing myself, sharing who I am. Just sharing what I’ve been going through. You know I grew up listening to great music and that music helped me through my life and it helped me to know what my call is in this life. My call is to entertain people and help them through their daily activities and things they go through in life. So the general theme of my music… well musically it’s going to be coming from a jazz, funk and soul orientation and secondly I’m 100% real with it. My music is my version of a reality show. Never anything that’s fake, never anything that I haven’t gone through myself.

GFM: What are some things that you like that are happening musically in 2013 and what are some things you might change?

Maysa: In this contemporary space I think we should go back to our roots, where we come from especially Black Soul Music. It has to return to where it was, not saying that it can’t evolve a little bit because of the world we live in and technology… but it should return to the main ingredient which is: Soul. We’ve got to go back to sharing what we feel. Music is a spiritual experience, period. The person that’s singing and the person that’s listening should be able to relate on a certain level and when you fill the world with… you know right now it’s all gone toward image, vibe and some kind of iconic view of all this. It really should be about the music and what the music does to someone spiritually, it shouldn’t be about all this other crap that we have to navigate in order to get the music out there these days. It’s a struggle for independent artists to get the music out there and a lot of independent artists are going to be the ones not controlled by the majors and the powers that be, they’re going to be the ones putting out the music that’s really from the Soul and that’s what it’s really about.

GFM: Wanted to hear from you your thoughts on mentors and collaborators?

Maysa: I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle and Dionne Warwick and it goes on… Earth, Wind & Fire and all that is inside of me. You take that and mix it all together and make Maysa. You have to start somewhere with someone helping you to find out who you are. When I was in college I did a lot of singing, we went on tour a lot people like my voice. I knew early on in life that people liked my voice, they thought it was unique. At that time Anita Baker was big and I would sing her songs and because we have a similar tone, people would say “Oh my god you sound like Anita Baker!” part of me was extremely flattered, but then another part that said “I want to sound like me!”. What I realized early on is that I couldn’t make a career for myself sounding like Anita Baker because there’s already an Anita Baker. So I need to sound like myself and make my path based on that. You when I start teaching that’s what it would be
all about, developing your own unique sound. You have to have people help you learn that stuff, that’s what mentorship is all about. I would definitely want to be somebody’s mentor and help them navigate this whole thing because it is extremely difficult.

GFM: Using any element in nature describe the sound of Maysa

Maysa: For some reason I’m going straight to water, straight to the ocean. The color blue has been with me my whole life, so with blue being my favorite color, blue water, calming, enjoyable and healing.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.