May Cheung
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May Cheung

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Folk Acoustic




"Five Reasons To Check Out May Cheung’s New Album, ‘The Departure’"

Vancouver-raised and Brooklyn based artist May Cheung has spent the last four years preparing to release her debut album, The Departure, and we’re happy to say the wait is finally over. Out today, The Departure highlights Cheung’s delicate and consoling vocals while touching on the things that have created a lasting impact on her from the beauty of nature that surrounds her to relationships and the loves she has both lost and found.

We are completely blown away by the masterpiece that is May Cheung’s new album. Stream The Departure and see our five reasons why you need to check out the album below! [inset of Spotify screenshot]

1) What makes The Departure so beautiful is the attention to detail that went into the album. The album was produced by Nir Felder, who NPR called the ‘next great jazz guitarist,’ mixed by The Shins’ Yukki Matthews, and mastered by Grammy Award Winning engineer Chris Gehringer (Katy Perry, Rihanna). The result are ten-tracks, stunning from start to finish, that create a seasoned and dream-like atmosphere for the listener.

2) As a graduate of McGill University in Jazz Voice and having previously studied with Juno Award winner, Ranee Lee (hailed ‘The Next Ella Fitzgerald’ in the Vancouver Sun), Cheung has spent years crafting her sound. Pulling inspiration from a variety of genres including soul, R&B, folk, and experimental music.

3) Though Cheung’s sound is very true to herself, it is reminiscent of artists like Norah Jones, Jane Siberry, and Katie Melua. Upon first listen to the album’s title track, I was hit with the realization that Cheung’s stunning vocals would be perfect for the big screen. Whether it be a heart-breaking scene in a drama or a solemn scene in a romantic comedy, Cheung has such soothing and gentle vocals that would simply resonate with both the character and the viewer.

4) The Departure is an album that will resonate with the romantics. Take the track “Stargazer” for example, which touches on unrequited love and the idea of one day finding your prince charming. On the other hand, you have the album’s closing track titled “Two Little Birds” which touches on how we fall out of love, but rather than focusing on the pain, focusing on the idea that life will continue on and you’ll find peace in all that surrounds you.

5) Cheung will be hitting the road next month, performing tracks from The Departure live, and it’s sure to be an experience you won’t want to miss. The full list of tour dates can be found below!

October 8th - Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, New York, NY

October 9th - Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

October 15th - The Outer Space, Hamden, CT

October 17th - Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, Greenfield, MA

October 18th - Resonance Cafe, Montreal, QC, Canada

October 20th - Burdock Music Hall, Toronto, ON, Canada

October 21st - Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa, ON, Canada - Huffpost

"PREMIERE: Get lost in the beauty of “The Departure” from May Cheung"

There is a beauty to the music May Cheung creates that helps to soothe the heartache often found in her songs. Describing it is next to impossible, but the it’s something like an intangible sense of hopefulness that stands defiant against a world that seems set on making bringing us down. With all the chaos pouring into our eyes in ears from the news as of late there may have never been a better time for her music than right now.

With this in mind, Substream is thrilled to host the world premiere of “The Departure,” May Cheung’s latest single and music video. The song is the title track from Cheung’s upcoming debut album and the perfect antidote for whatever ails you today. You can experience the video at the top of this page.

May Cheung has been sitting on her debut record The Departure for nearly four years. The record was co-producer (and features the guitar work) of Nir Felder, who NPR called “the next great jazz guitarist” (who you met with monogem). The record SOUNDS perfect, being mixed in Seattle by Yukki Matthews (The Shins) and mastered by Grammy Winning Chris Gehringer (Katy Perry, Rihanna) at the world-renown Sterling Sound here in New York. It also features Rob Ritchie (Dolores O’Riordan) and record with Dan Rieser (Norah Jones), Zachary Lober (Chet Doxas), Jesse Fischer (Ropeadope).

The Departure will arrive in stores and online September 29. To celebrate, May Cheung will be embarking on a short fall tour. Dates are as follows:

Tour Dates:
10/8 – Rockwood – New York (Stage 3)
10/9 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
10/15 – The Outer Space – Hamden, CT
10/17 – Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center – Greenfield, MA
10/18 – Resonance Café – Montreal, CAN
10/20 – Burdock Music Hall – Toronto, CAN
10/21 – Black Squirrel Books – Ottawa, CAN

Be sure to follow Substream on Twitter for additional news and features related to May Cheung. - Substream Magazine


Artist: May Cheung
Hometown: Richmond, BC
Latest Album: The Departure
Personal Nicknames: Maymay, Mayday

What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended?

How many unread emails or texts currently fill your inbox?
Inbox: 3,000+

How many pillows do you sleep with?

How many pairs of shoes do you own?


If you were going to buy a famous musician’s pair of dirty socks off of eBay, whose would you buy?
I would buy Dolly Parton’s “dirty” socks. She sweats glitter.

What’s your favorite vegetable?
My favorite vegetable is the parsnip.

Fate or free will?
Free will, dude!

Sweet or sour?

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset - Bluegrass Situation

"TOP 30 UNDER 30"

A little encouragement can go a long way. May Cheung was only 13 when she asked her high school music teacher Spencer Bach to listen. Singing Roberta Flack’s classic song “Killing Me Softly,” she looked for a reaction. Try singing jazz, she was told, and check out these recordings. With new confidence she began performing regular gigs in and around Richmond. Cheung, now based in Brooklyn, New York, is still at it today. A graduate of McGill University in jazz voice, Cheung landed on her sound listening to an array of jazz vocalists and a deep variety of music. In 2007 she sang across Canada. Two years later Canada Council for the Arts awarded her a study grant to live in New York City and further develop her craft. She’s been playing to Big Apple crowds ever since at renowned venues such as The Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall and Caffe Vivaldi. Her dad was also a big reason for her passion. He was a “hi-fi junkie,” which allowed his daughter to hear a wide spectrum of music, from jazz and classical to rock and pop. Sometimes she’d stay up until 2a.m. with dad and his friends just listening to music. Cheung spends her days performing, writing music and teaching. She continues to set the bar higher, but is already a success: doing what she loves to do in a city with an ear for it. Her debut
album is expected later this year. Inspiration? “My peers inspire me the most because their accomplishments give me a sense of what can be achieved in my own career as a professional musician. The amount of support that one can obtain while living in a mecca that harbours many creative entities is astonishing and overwhelming.”

Proud of? “I am most proud of the fact that I was able to perform at The Living Room, a venue in which Norah Jones got her start before she really took off . Ever since I moved down in 2010, it was a dream of mine to play there. When it materialized into reality, I had to pinch myself. This was hard evidence to myself that hard work pays off .”

Advice? “The three P’s: Persistence, Perseverance and Patience.”

—Matthew Hoekstra - Richmond Review

"Jazzy Nights at Chez Oskar"

By Peter Moskowitz

The food at Chez Oskar is French, but the music is definitively American, at least on Wednesday nights. The restaurant has hosted musicians for years, and last June owners decided to add big band-style Jazz into the mix. One of those bands, The Smoke Rings, which includes pianist Alex Levin, bass player Steve Whipple and drummer Ben Cliness, joined May Cheung, who subbed in for the band’s regular singer, Sarah King, to entertain locals.

Together they played classics like “Just Squeeze Me” and “Exactly Like You” to a packed restaurant last night. While some patrons listened intently and sipped red wine, others conversed with each other while the music played in the background. Every audience is different, Mr. Levin said, but it doesn’t matter to him whether they are paying attention.

“Sometimes it’s really loud in here and people are shouting, and sometimes people listen and clap,” he said. “I’ve learned, over time, to pay attention to the music.”

Catch more Jazz performances by The Smoke Rings at Chez Oskar, located at 211 DeKalb Avenue, on Wednesdays between 7 and 9 p.m. - NY Times Fort Greene Local

"Montreal International Jazz Festival 2011: Kenny Werner and the John Benitez Group at Upstairs; June 29th & 30th 2011"

Irwin Block’s review of two shows at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill:

The most memorable and meaningful jazz experiences can often be found not at the main and much bigger jazz festival venues, but below-ground, in the intimacy of Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill on Mackay St.

On Wednesday we heard the keyboard poetry of Kenny Werner. He is wise and lyrical, whether transforming standards (Sound of Music, What is this Thing Called Love) into something unique and personal, or roaming the piano in free improv, expressing a positive, but never schmaltzy worldwiew.

Alto sax master Rémi Bolduc sat in for a couple of tunes, including a gorgeous You, and the Night and the Music, and stayed on to take part in the late-night jam with Jeff Johnston at the piano. There is nothing like a jam session in an intimate setting, ‘round about midnight’, to stimulate musicians and enthrall a core audience. We heard the inventive trombonist Mike Fahey (Darcy James Argue Secret Society), up and coming vocalist May Cheung and Israeli expat Tevet Sela blow challenging lines on his tough alto sax.

The session was so strong that Upstairs boss Joel Giberovitch extended the jam session to include Friday July 1 and Saturday July 2.

On Thursday night, we discovered the John Benitez Group, featuring Cuban-born alto saxophonist Yosvany Terry. In a two-hour set, the group – led by bassist Benitez, with his son Francis Benitez Martinez (drums), Manuel Valera (piano), Tom Guarna) guitar), Manuel Valera (piano) – performed with passion and Latin verve a program of originals in multi-genre styles.

We heard montuno and rock rhythmic patterns, bebop and post-bop lines, modal development and extended solos that were virtual compositions. Most impressive were pianist Valera, who roams the keyboard with apparently effortless ease, weaving captivating melodies and textures. Guitarist Guarna is a marvelous soloist who plays everything from bebop to fusion with confidence and breathtaking skill.

This group deserves the highest profile in contemporary jazz, and at future festivals.

Irwin Block
- Montreal Gazette


'The Departure', LP, September 29th, 2017.

'Thoughts and Verses', EP. 2011



For the past five years, May Cheung has been honing her craft in the New York music scene while pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter. Born in Calgary, Alberta, May grew up listening to LPs with her father as a toddler. Imbibing a broad spectrum of music, she was influenced particularly by her high school teacher, who encouraged her to pursue music actively. In 2003, May was accepted to McGill University's Jazz Performance program, where studied under the tutelage of Ranee Lee, C.M. and 2010 Juno Award Winner. in 2009, May received a prestigious Canada Council Grant to study with New York Voices leader Peter Eldridge.

Hailed as "stunning from start to finish" by The Huffington Post, May Cheung's debut album 'The Departure' spotlights the glimmering combination of Cheung’s tranquil and consoling vocals and refined engineering of the record. 'The Departure' thrives on a remarkable attention to detail at the hands of a meticulously selected production team. Produced (and featuring the guitar work of) NPR’s “next great jazz guitarist” Nir Felder, mixed by The Shins’ Yuuki Matthews and mastered by Grammy Award-Winning Chris Gehringer (Katy Perry, Rihanna) the record creates an undeniably atmospheric environment for the listener. Available now on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp.

Band Members