Maysa Leak was raised in a warm family setting.Her family has always supported her love for music from the age of three years old.Maysa decided that she was going to be a singer at the age of six,when her mother took her to see Purlie at the Morris Mechanic Theatre.Although most of Maysa's early high school days were taken up with choir and musical theatre,and listening to pop music,a major turning point in the direction she wanted to take her voice was when her uncle introduced her to Al Jarreau and Billie Holiday.
After finishing Milford Mill High School,Maysa attended Morgan State University and majored in Classical Voice Performance.While studying,she toured extensively with the world renowned Morgan State University Choir.Maysa was chosen as one of six choir members to tour East Africa on an Ambassador tour for the United States government.Upon returning to the US,Maysa placed second in Baltimore's first annual Billie Holiday Vocal Jazz contest.So many people disagreed with the judges decision that she was asked to perform her own concert by the city of Baltimore.Also at this time,Maysa co-writes and records her first single "State of Confusion with her first boyfriend,bass player,Jay Holmes.
While a senior at Morgan State,Maysa was given the opportunity to audition for Stevie Wonder.Maysa's friend Kim Brewer recommended Maysa when Stevie was looking for a new vocalist for his group Wonderlove.After passing the audition,Maysa asked Stevie if she could move to California after she finished college.Wonder assured Maysa that her place in Wonderlove would be there when she finished.
CAREER MOVE #1:February 1991
After graduating with a bachelors degree in Classical Voice,thanks to Betty Ridgeway,her vocal coach,Maysa embarked on a move that would change her life in many ways.She moved to North Hollywood California,determined to make her mark.Maysa began her musical career with recording backing vocals for Stevie Wonder on the Jungle Fever soundtrack.Maysa also toured with the group to promote the movie.She appeared on Oprah,The Tonight Show,The Arsenio Hall Show,etc.On her off days,Maysa did demos and voice-over work.She sang jingles for The Bill Cosby Show,NBC's Saturday Morning Cartoons,and Hot Pockets.But Maysa also lived in the real world and she had to work at various jobs to pay her bills.She worked at the
May Co.,The Wherehouse music stores and she taught voice and stage presence to a few girl groups.
CAREER MOVE #2: December 1991
British music producer Steve Harvey forwarded Maysa's name to his friend Jean-Paul(Bluey) Maunick,as a potential singer for his British Jazz-Funk band Incognito.After speaking to Bluey on the phone and singing Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing for him, Maysa found herself living a dream come true.She packed up her apartment in LA and moved to London,England.Maysa didn't know what to expect when she arrived in London,but she knew she had a return ticket(if she needed it)and she didn't look back.....
Maysa recorded the CD Tribes,Vibes and Scribes which was well received.And gave the group a number top twenty hit with Maysa's audition song,"Don't You Worry...."But the turning point for Maysa and Incognito came when they recorded The Positivity CD(released in 1993).The song "Deep Waters" catapulted the group to greater heights.
During this rewarding and busy time,Maysa found the time to record with other artists such as Urban Species,Tony Remy,and Jason Rebello.
CAREER MOVE #3:1994-1996
Maysa gets an offer to pursue her solo career.She moves back to Baltimore,Maryland.And after losing her father ,aunt,grandfather and cousin,Maysa finds the strength and inspiration to write for and record her first CD "Maysa" for GRP/BLUETHUMB.The CD is well received and gave Maysa her first taste of being songwriter,and band leader.The CD also gave Maysa her first "hit" song,with "What About Our Love"charting at #52 on Billboards Top 100 List.Her songs,Raindrops and Can We Change The World still receive heavy airplay around the world.Maysa toured the UK ,Europe and the US ,working hard to promote "Maysa",and still found the time to record with Tom Scott,Gary Thomas,and Ray Hayden.
CAREER MOVE #4:1997
Maysa returns to London to record "Beneath The Surface"with Incognito.The group once again capture the hearts of fans old and new with the single "A Shade of Blue".
Maysa also co-writes and records a song called "Come Here Baby" for a group called Grainger(CD entitled Phase One) which featured Gary and Greg Grainger.
The song was made number one by many radio stations all over
the United States.
This year Maysa also,had the opportunity to work with one of her heroes,George Duke for a Christmas compilation CD called "Tis The Season"for N2K Encoded Music. Recording "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" ,was one of Maysa's favorite studio experiences.
During 1997,Maysa also recorded with Jonathan Butler.Maysa says,recording with Jonathan was an awe-inspiring experience.
Maysa spends most of this year touring with Incognito and touring with her own band,Grainger. She also records with pianist Rachel Z,and trumpet player Rick Braun.
Maysa spends the last year of the millennium recording with drummer Michael White's band Rhytmn Logic,Pieces of A Dream,Innershade,and Incognito's No Time Like The Future CD.
From June until December,Maysa toured the world with Incognito,with one of the highlights being the day members of the group climbed the Great Wall of China together.
CAREER MOVE# 7:1999-2000
Maysa records her second solo CD for Bluey's first record label Rice Records."ALL MY LIFE" produced by Bluey,quickly evolves into Maysa's dream recording.Maysa gets a chance to use her classical roots,
opening the CD with an aria she wrote.The album spans many musical
flavors and is a tribute to many artists that influenced Maysa through the years.
The CD was released in July of '99 in Japan and South-East Asia.The US release is March 21,2000 and the UK in April 2000.
FAMILY MOVE #1:December 6th,1999.
Maysa gives birth to her first baby.She has a boy named: JAZZ.