"Maya Rae already has an impressive grasp of the jazz form, and she’s determined to make this
classic style speak to kids her own age."
-The Georgia Straight
One of Canada’s Top 35 Jazz Artists Under 35 (CBC) "…a supremely gifted artist who is able to
phrase like Sarah Vaughan but write a lyric like Joni Mitchell."
Prodigious young talents performing jazz music and the American Songbook have gone back to the
beginnings of the genre – artists like Ella Fitzgerald and even Judy Garland were blowing away
listeners of all ages with their talent, incredible tone and sense of swing from their teenage years
This phenomenon has led to an ongoing output of incredible female singers over the decades, that
continues today with Vancouver-based, 16 year-old singer, musician and composer, Maya Rae.
Maya is inspired by musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and The Beatles, and modern-day artists like Jamie Cullum, Megan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, and Adele.
This is not uncommon with singers today – growing up in an iTunes or Spotify generation, young artists can find themselves listening to a compilation of hundreds of songs from dozens of genres, all in one session. It has led to a generation that is blind to genre or musical confines – the key is to find a balance in these influences, allowing the listener a musical experience and journey in concert that is entertaining and enlightening. In her short career as a performer, Maya has found that balance and is becoming a meaningful storyteller on the stage.
Maya has performed on many stages and venues including The Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary Jazz Festivals, Jazz Vespers, Pyatt Hall and Blue Frog Studios.
She has shared the stage with prominent artists and musicians such as Cecile Larochelle, Tim Tamashiro, Jodi Proznick, Tilden Webb, Luis Giraldo, Jesse Cahill, Eli Bennett, Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, Jaclyn Guillou, Miles Black, Cory Weeds, Andre Lachance, Vince Mai, Joel Fountain, Dave Sikula and many more.
As a part of Maya’s stories to her listeners, there has always been a priority to speak for youth and peers that have faced barriers and personal difficulties in their life.
Maya says, "I am trying to write songs that convey a message of self-love and female empowerment. My songs speak about my experiences throughout high school and as a teenage girl, and the various struggles that adolescents encounter in their daily lives. The main message that I want to get across to my listeners is to promote one’s authenticity and to bring hope and empowerment to those who listen."
Maya’s first album, recorded when she was just 14 and entitled Sapphire Birds, was released to huge acclaim on Vancouver-based, international jazz label Cellar live, in 2017.
She is in studio now, working with her musical director Miles Black and a team of musicians and co-writers to complete her sophomore album for release later in 2018.
2 albums of original songs and fresh arrangements of jazz and pop standards, all by the age of only 16. Maya Rae is an artist who is proving that a jazz artist does not need to be confined by the past, but can use her influences, her own experiences as a young woman, and her view on the world to inform her diverse presentation of soulful music.
"Listening to Maya Rae’s Sapphire Birds, it is difficult to believe
that the singer is just 16 years old. Her vocalizing is versatile
and inventive, her originals are sophisticated, and she sounds
very mature, making her age seem irrelevant."
- Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist & Historian
Photo Cred: Mark Whitehead