My interview with multi-genre vocalist Maysa who recently released her thirteenth studio album Love Is A Battlefield; a ten song cover collection of reinterpretations that’s sure to satisfy all over again from The Isley Brother’s “Footstep in the Dark”, Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable”, Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” to Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” and more...
Terrance: In your 22 year solo career thus far what has been the single-most greatest highlight achievement?
Maysa: When I got my first Grammy nomination. I’ve been wanting that since I was a little girl so it was great to get that.
Terrance: What has been the key motivation to your consistency in this ever changing music industry where you’ve seen many of your peers come and go?
Maysa: I think because I kind of infused what I trained myself to do and learned to do over the years which is sing Jazz, Funk and scat and kind of incorporate it into more popular, more mainstream sound and keep it soulful at the same time, people like the little mix I put into my brew. That’s my base for all of it. That’s the base for my kick, the whole Jazz, Funk and scat thing and that carries through all the music and I can deal with R&B, Funk, Jazz and all the way though and add all of those elements as well.
Terrance: Got it. So getting into your new album Love Is A Battlefield which is the second all-covers release after the Sweet Classic Soul album, overall what was the inspiration behind this project?
Maysa: It’s just a covers album to pay tribute to the songs I grew up on and taught myself how to sing on. This particular album I chose the time to do this album mostly because I do something on Sunday nights at 7:30 PM on Facebook Live called Karaoke Sundays so every Sunday I sing to people who can’t come see me in my Concerts so this album is like a tribute to that and a tribute to the people who have supported my career all this time and to go back and rework some things and remember some old music and that’s what I wanted to do and do it respectfully and with love. It took me a long time to pick these songs and so I just wanted to take my time and do that.
Terrance: You’ve covered an array of artists on the album from The Isley Brothers, Pat Benatar, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross, Tevin Campbell to Justin Bieber how did you go about selecting the songs?
Maysa: Just by songs I listen to all the time that I really love like the Justin Bieber song “As Long As You Love Me” I chose that because I thought it would be fun and between that and “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar I don’t think anyone would have expected me to do those two songs and so it was fun to stretch out and do something different. I have always loved the Justin Bieber song. I took my niece to his concert and I had such a good time and I was surprised because I took a book with me because I didn’t think I would like it (laughs). So lyrically and melodically I just really loved the song. It’s a really powerful statement of love like as long as you love me I’ll be your platinum, silver and gold and so that is amazing and I just wanted to sing it to show how a woman would say it. And with the Pat Benatar song I wanted to slow it down kind of not so much on romance but on people and how we’re in this battle of good and evil right now love and hate. The good people are trying to win this thing and it seem the evil people are taking over and that’s an illusion but we’re gonna win this thing and that’s why I put this song out there because love is a battlefield and we’re fighting for this.
Maysa: To be able to connect with the audience. It’s a spiritual moment and event and that’s why when people are recording from their phone it kinda kills the spirit unlike back in the day. I can’t connect with you if you’re looking through a phone and plus that moment is for me and you, you paid to come see me and taking it and displaying it all over YouTube you’re basically taping what you paid for and giving it to them for free. But the main thing as a performer is connecting with the audience and having fun and making sure they are enjoying themselves, that’s a big deal to me, that’s important. I want to sing music that makes them feel good, makes them feel better, makes them happy and want to dance because that’s what it is, you came out to be entertained and that’s what my job is.
Terrance: Who are some artists we’d find in your music playlist?
Maysa: I love Fantasia, Avery*Sunshine, Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, Frank McComb. I have a big catalog of music I listen to. I listen to Funk music a lot Parliament-Funkadelic, i’m really big into all of that.
Terrance: If the opportunity presented itself to record an entire duet album with one male artist who would it be with?
Maysa: Wow! Only one (laughs). I don’t know because I really enjoyed recording with Will Downing and I would love to record an album with Jonathan Butler, Gregory Porter, Kem or Charlie Wilson, there’s so many (laughs) I can’t pick just one.
Terrance: What can we look forward to from your upcoming tour?
Maysa: Singing to people with my live band you know and watching us connect on stage and bringing it to everybody out in the audience and meeting people afterwards and getting hugs that’s just a lot of fun. From my music with Incognito to touching on a little from all of my solo albums. And after my shows I have a dance party to just let everyone loosen up and have a good time.
Terrance: Anything not discussed you would like to leave for the readers?
Maysa: If you’re brand new I hope you enjoy my music and if you’ve been around for a long time thank you for my career and supporting me and allowing me to do what I do and it’s a blessing and I would never take it for granted. Thank you so much.