Fans of good soul music and music that is good for the soul have known and appreciated Maysa Leak for 30 plus years.
We knew and appreciated her even when we didn’t know it. Maysa lent her backing vocals to Stevie Wonder’s “Jungle Fever” soundtrack. We knew her as the best known and best loved of the rotating roster of super talented vocalists who helped create Incognito’s signature jazz/funk throughout the 1990s and into the 21st Century.
Maysa voice – sultry, jazzy and soulful – powered Incognito to international superstardom on a series of albums in the 1990s – “Tribes Vibes a Scribes,” “Positivity,” “Beneath the Surface” and “No Time Like the Future.” Maysa seamlessly made the transition to a solo career that has yielded 14 highly acclaimed albums and sold-out live performances, cementing her reputation as one of the best artists working in the game today.
Now as Maysa prepares to release her highly anticipated 14 th studio album – “Music For Your Soul” the public will see her in a different and fuller light. What’s different? Maysa adds the title of label executive to a resume that includes lead and backing vocalist, songwriter and producer. Maysa established Blue Velvet Soul in 2018 to exercise fuller control over all creative and commercial aspects of music making.
“I wasn’t getting the kind of publicity or marketing backup for my albums that I thought I deserved, and I just thought if they are going to just throw my music out there, I might as well just throw it out there too and own it,” Maysa recalled. “That is what prompted me to start my own record label. I thought why not.”
The learning curve was steep. Maysa knows every aspect of the production side – from songwriting to video production. However, she had a lot to learn about distribution and promotion. Fortunately, a mentor and longtime advisor helped her set up the label. The Blue Velvet Soul Records rollout began in 2018 when she released the songs “You Are Not Alone,” “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” “Loving You is Easy” and “Soft Words” as singles and then as a four song EP titled “The Fab First Four.”
The carefully planned rollout of Blue Velvet Records will culminate with the release of “Music For Your Soul” early next year. Sporting 19 songs, “Music For Your Soul” is ambitious in scope. Maysa worked hard to get these 19 songs ‘in the can,’ and could have easily dropped a couple of EPs on various streaming platforms. That is what many people urged her to do. “My colleagues told me don’t do this,” Maysa recalled. “Don’t put 19 songs on the album because nobody has that kind of attention span anymore.”
Maysa stood firm because her vision for “Music For Your Soul” is rooted in an idea that hearkens back to a time when music was more than a commodity. With Music “For Your Soul, Maysa” seeks to create an experience that will be the soundtrack for cleaning the house on a Saturday morning, musical sustenance for the long-haul trucker driving down a lonely highway or a mood creator for lovers spending a quiet evening together.
While Maysa plans to release “Music For Your Soul” in early 2023, but she’s blessed fans by dropping three singles from the album this year. The single “Whatever” is climbing charts and filling dance floors on both sides of the Atlantic. Aimed directly at the steppers set, “Whatever” is a percolating, percussive, breezy, mid-tempo jam that finds Maysa seductively telling her love interest that she has a single-minded focus on making him happy.
The simmering R&B ballad “Just Stay” finds Maysa taking a conversational but sultry tone that finds her dispensing with all pretenses as she asks her man to follow his heart and surrender to love. The Stevie Wonder ballad “Make Sure You’re Sure” holds a special place in Maysa’s heart. That tune appeared on the “Jungle Fever” soundtrack and Maysa served as a backing vocalist on that project. Maysa showcases her jazz chops on this tune as her torchy vocals and the piano engage in a dance.
Maysa notes that she always loved the album and plays it frequently, However, her decision to record “Make Sure You’re Sure” and include the tune on her new album were deeply personal.
“I went through a little bit of a heartbreak during the pandemic, and that song just jumped out at me, so when I was going through what I went through I decided that I would remake this song.”
Maysa is crafting a masterpiece with “Music For Your Soul,” and the world will see that mastery when the album drops on March 31. In the meantime, Maysa released the latest single, “I Don’t Mind,” to commercial and critical acclaim. The song has been a mainstay at the top of the UK Soul Charts since its January release.
Humble Hill PR