Maya Azucena

Maya Azucena

 New York City, New York, USA
BandR&BSoul

Inspiring and raw live Soul w Hiphop & Rock: Village Voice said, “armed with a powerfully compelling voice, Azucena just could be the most impressive of the current hip-hop/soul/r&b diva crop.” Her 2008 performance at SXSW prompted Austin Chronicle to declare her the “best pipes” at the fest.

Biography

Award-winning indie star Maya Azucena inhabits a musical world of her own creation. As one journalist put it, "Her seemingly unwavering confidence, relentless work ethic and a voice empyrean, enough to reverb the soul, cemented the foundation of what’s grown into an impressive independent career (BrooklynBodega.com)."

Whether performing before an audience of thousands or writing in solitude, she transcends genres and trends. With Maya Azucena, the worlds of hip hop, soul, jazz, reggae, electronica and pop join forces. Like Lauryn Hill, Corinne Bailey Rae, or Gnarls Barkley, she embodies a singular and finely honed artistry through a combination of profound lyrics, soaring melodies, and irresistible rhythms.

Maya Azucena emerged as a captivating presence on the landscape of popular music following her self-released debut Maya Who?! and the critically acclaimed Junkyard Jewel. Billboard, The Village Voice, and The Washington Post have all heralded her mesmerizing performances in the U.S. while her music's been featured on HBO (The Wire), NBC (30 Rock), and in advertisements for Verizon Wireless and Ford Motors. Her work with Stephen Marley netted a "Best Reggae Album" Grammy and her vocal contributions to an album by Croatian superstar Gibonni garnered two Porin Awards (the top music award in Croatia). As both an in-demand concert attraction and a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S., she's enthralled audiences in places as far-ranging as Honduras, China, Tanzania, Italy, Burma and Slovenia.

It is for those listeners and countless more that Maya Azucena has crafted her new release, Cry Love. An anthem for justice, the title track, produced by Pete Miser, is steeped in Maya's concern for humankind and constitutes the album's core concept. Her desire to inspire, empower, and embolden listeners saturates both the edgy groove of "Warriors" and the sanguine sway of "Near," as well as her gripping duet with distinguished singer/pianist Chris Rob on the Donny Hathaway classic, "Little Ghetto Boy." Taking a page from Maya's own life, "The Half" is a harrowing tale propelled by no less a rock legend than guitarist Vernon Reid. Emerging triumphant from near tragedy, she invites dancehall icon iNi Kamoze aboard for a victory lap on "My Back's Not Up Against the Wall" while the glistening, acoustic qualities of "Belong to the Sun" furnish another standout cut. The songs are all unified by a remarkable depth and stunning musicality.

Threaded throughout Cry Love is Maya Azucena's belief that music is a tool for healing and activism. Parallel to her recordings, she's supported a number of charitable initiatives. She recently performed at the star-studded Thurgood Marshall College Fund 24th Annual Gala alongside Russell Simmons, Cuba Gooding Jr, Blair Underwood, Shirley Caesar and more. She and her band participated in the "Save Darfur Rally" in Washington DC, where she appeared among politicians and celebrities such as President Barack Obama and George Clooney. Maya also co-founded MDGFive.com with Emmy-winning director Lisa Russell. Their multi-media website for maternal health awareness prompted an invitation from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to perform at the United Nation's 2010 MDG Summit. Maya received a Proclamation from the House of Representatives for producing a domestic violence awareness concert, and recently won The Network Journal's prestigious "Top 40 Under 40" Award in recognition of her tireless community work and strong business acumen.

In a career that only continues to move forward, Cry Love is a seminal benchmark. Maya Azucena has bestowed a gift of music that channels the breath of angels. Watch her fly.

Discography

Cry Love (2011). Review: http://www.beyondrace.com/features/maya/1.php

Junkyard Jewel (2007). Music Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnOy2898rR0

Taste This (2008). iTunes release
Maya Who?1 (2004).

Featured on Stephen Marley's GRAMMY-winning "Mind Control," and critic's fav Fitz and the Tantrum's CD, "Picking Up the Pieces." Also, on recent releases by Immortal Technique ("Crimes of the Heart") and Cormega ("I Made a Difference" with Redman, Stic of Dead Prez and Lil Fame of MOP, and General Steele of Smif N Wesson).