Lee Hayes

Lee Hayes

BandPopAdult Contemporary



Best known as one-quarter of Canada's top female A Cappella group Malaika, Hayes' performance repertoire is extensive; in the past ten years Hayes has toured across Canada, the US, and the UK, and has been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, CBC, CJOH, BBC, and The Women's Television Network. Steve Baylin of the Ottawa Xpress calls Hayes' debut CD recording, The Secret Life, "An exceptional and long-awaited collection from a first-rate performer."

"Lee Hayes manages to laugh at the world, and herself ... and sounds damn fine while she's doing it." - Alan Neal, CBC's All In A Day


Hayes began her career in Ottawa, singing in local concert halls and folk clubs. Hayes' passionate song writing made her a winner of the 1995 "Songs From the Heart" song writing contest, sponsored by SOCAN and the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. Hayes' forte is her ability to write great hooks and poignant, believable lyrics. Her musical style is a hybrid of pop, folk, with lush waves of torch, and an occasional whiff of country…

"A formidable talent ... excellent original songs ... Hayes' true-life tales and charming stage presence are quite commanding."
- Allan Wigney, Ottawa Xpress


Meeting the other founding members of Malaika (Tanzanian sisters Neema Mugala and Stella Haybuhai, and the late Beth Ferguson) in a backstage green room in 1993 led to the birth of the four-woman vocal group. By 1995, Hayes was touring, writing, and recording with this wonderful ensemble, with concerts as varied as the Peace Prayer Day festival on top of Mount Taos, New Mexico, to the eternal twilight of the Dawson City music festival, to the Spitz Cafe, London, England, and always coming home to play the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Malaika filmed a video of Hayes' song 'What Is Love' in Vancouver in 1996, and to this day it sits on the shelves at MuchMusic. Hayes' song 'When a Woman' inspired film-maker Tracy Bacenas to create a documentary of Malaika, called 'Angel.' This documentary has been aired internationally several times on the Women's Television Network. 'When a Woman' is performed by several women's choirs all over the world.


A night with Lee Hayes is more than a concert; this is an irreverent, seasoned performer who writes across genres, who will fascinate with great music and lyrics. 'I Should Have Been David Duchovny's Bride', a Hayes classic, is posted on countless David Duchovny fan sites and has received fan mail from all over the globe. 'Circus Girl' which will be included on the upcoming CD (2008) will chill you with its kalaedescope of revelations. 'C'est Dommage', Hayes' tribute to the French language and songstress Edith Piaf, is constructed with all 80 French words and phrases that Hayes knows; the result is a silly, entertaining joke of herself and her sorry unilingual state. But that doesn't stop her; Hayes loves the sound of different languages, and with the help of her international garden of friends, has written in English, French, Spanish, and Swahili to date.

Most recently, Hayes is channelling her passion for vocal songwriting and arranging as Choir Master Extraordinaire for 3 adult community choirs in Ottawa; the 40+ person choir Folka Voca, hosted by the Ottawa Folklore Centre, has quickly become one of the most innovative and original choirs around. Hayes also teaches Vocal Harmony group classes at the OFC; The Redemption Choir Xtreme (Sunday Advanced) and Tango On Tuesdays (Sunday Intermediate) as well as one teen vocal group (Half Moon Rising) and one children's choir (the Chelsea Public School Children's Choir).

Hayes is preparing material for her sophomore solo CD, titled 'Circus Girl', to be released 2008.

"Ms. Hayes is destined to be a credit to the great community of Canadian creators." - Charles Sanders, U.S. National Music Publisher's Association

Hayes' musical influences include Ani Difranco, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Joe Jackson, Burt Bacharach, Tori Amos, Jill Sobule, and Sting, as well as many artists she has met on the road. Hayes grew up in Ottawa, Canada, a member of an eccentric and creative family


12 Years Old

Written By: Lee Hayes

I was the youngest in a family of three
My beautiful sisters years ahead of me
I grew up in a small town with city-girl dreams
Then the 1930’s fell apart at the seams

I was a princess in my daddy’s eyes
Married at seventeen to the town’s best prize
Just a year before I was playing in a band
Now I’ve got me a baby and a ring on my hand

When I look in the mirror
There’s a stranger; look nearer
Inside I’m only 12 years old

Well, the 40’s came and took my husband to war
And here I thought that times were tough before
Spent my days making dresses for the town’s who’s who
And my nights taking care of too much to do

Before I knew it, my hair had passed to gray
My children growing, then gone, then far away
I put one foot forward through my joys through my tears
And I sure don’t feel all my 86 years

When I look in the mirror
There’s a stranger; look nearer
Inside I’m only 12 years old

Ooh, when did these lines appear
Wasn’t I a young girl yesterday
Ooh, well, I’ve always been busy
But how did all those years just slip away

Funny how crystal-clear those early times
Almost a century on this face of mine
Now I see my spirit in my great-grandchild
And it’s thicker than water; bless this girl strong and wild!

When I look in the mirror
There’s a stranger; look nearer
Inside I’m only 12 years old


The Secret Life, 2002

UPCOMING: Circus Girl