Tamara Mayers
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Tamara Mayers

Lansing, Michigan, United States | SELF

Lansing, Michigan, United States | SELF
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"Jeff Shoup Quartet featuring Tamara Mayers"

The Jeff Shoup Quartet promises to move moods, stir the senses, and mix it up. From bouncy light-hearted beat of big band influence to the jazzy contemporary sound of “now” to the melancholy muse that sings to your heart, the Jeff Shoup Quartet will swing and swoon crowds at this year’s JazzFest.
This fun, approachable foursome engages a diverse audience and is fast-becoming a recognizable name with a devout following in the Lansing region. Bandleader Jeff Shoup calls himself a “non-traditional” MSU student at age 37, and has performed with Jim Alfredson at Mumbai. Since late last year, this quartet has played at local venues such as Leroy’s and Stober’s.
At this year’s JazzFest, the Jeff Shoup Quartet features the silky resonance of recent MSU jazz program graduate Tamara Mayers on vocals. Known for her multi-genre-infused jazz compositions and arrangements, Mayers strikes a genius balance to keep crowds singing and dancing to her unique beat and vocals.
“Music should be fun. You should be able to dance and sing along with it,” says Mayers.
Endearing audiences to this recognizable, yet unique mix of style, the Jeff Shoup Quartet featuring Tamara Mayers promises to entertain and satiate.
“We’ll deliver a balanced set of traditional jazz standards, a good element of swinging tunes, and Tamara has a terrific medley of contemporary jazz, so we’ll have something for everyone,” Shoup says. - JazzFest 2011 Lansing


"Tamara Mayers"

The sweetness of Amel Larrieux mixed with the subtlety of Jill Scott and the earthy
throatiness of many great soul singers is just the tip of the iceberg in describing
Tamara Mayers. She is simply outstanding. This was the first reaction I had upon
hearing Michelle N'dgeocello's album, "Individuality: Can I Be Me?" It was sheer and
unexpected delight! Her music takes you to another place. That is what great music is
supposed to do.

Tamara exposes us to the wide range of her influences which include, Thelonious
Monk, Fela Kuti, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Charles Mingus, Bobby McFerrin, Donny
Hathaway, Marvin Gaye and Sarah Vaughan. I love "Easy Conversation". It's so light
and relaxing. This song's simplicity allows you to appreciate the beauty of her vocals
even more. She gives us the highs and lows, soft and sweet and colorfully shrill.
Tamara Mayers is one of those artists that touch you on the inside. Sit down for a
minute, relax and let her voice take you away.

Tamara Mayers- My ultimate goal with music is to bring all of my life experiences thus
far into my compositions and performances in hopes that they will help or inspire
someone else. If one person decides to pursue their passion as a result of listening to
my music, then I feel like I've done my job. - I Am Entertainment Magazine


"Tamara Mayers Fuses Stories, Standards, and Soul-Baring Jazz"

Tamara Mayers, 30, a recent graduate of the Michigan State University (MSU) Jazz program, spends most of her time composing and arranging jazz fusion songs. From blues and reggae to funk and Afrobeat, she seems to find a way of melding her favorite sounds into one.

"I really like the whole dancing element of jazz; that's why I bring in my Caribbean roots," Mayers said. "It makes it more danceable — music should be fun. You should be able to dance and sing along with it."

She said having a large melting pot of influences will make it hard to classify her upcoming debut album, set for an early 2012 release. Even she is unsure of where it will end up at a record store.

"Honestly, with the way things are going, it could end up in jazz or the world music section," Mayers said. "Simply because I love to listen to jazz that's influenced by different cultures. I try to bring that into my compositions and my arrangements. Essentially, it's still jazz music, but it's infused with different genres."

Mayers spent her childhood in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, which provided her with an early firsthand experience with Caribbean music. After attending high school in Miami, she studied classical music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

In 2008, after deciding to fully pursue jazz vocals, she moved to East Lansing and enrolled in the MSU Jazz Studies Masters program. Now that she's graduated, she said she's completely focused on performing and recording.

Locally, Mayers often plays at Leroy's Bar & Grill, Mumbai and The Green Door, where she's built a reputation as a fearless stage performer who sings the standards and is also able to fly off into improvisations.

Jeff Shoup, a Lansing-based jazz drummer and fellow MSU jazz student, performs live with Mayers, billed as The Jeff Shoup Quartet Featuring Tamara Mayers.

"I can tell she has a great love and respect for the standards, things considered to be in the Great American Songbook, but she's also into more current styles," Shoup said. "She's written some tunes of her own that takes what she's learned from the old school and has applied it to what's happening in music today."

Mayers said her shows feature her original songs as well as her unique take on classics.

"I try to mix it up a bit," she said. "I always try to include originals, and when I do standards I tend to put my own touch on the arrangement. One of my favorite covers that I do is ‘God Bless the Child' because I love Billie Holiday. I try to bring out the power of the lyrics and the music."

The power of lyrics is a focal part of Mayers' song crafting. She tries to connect with her audiences in a way that legends such as Nina Simone did: through powerful words.

"They weren't just singing a song; they were telling a story," Mayers said. "Those stories could be personal, cultural or social, but they had something to say. For me, it's not just a matter of singing a tune. It's all about expression and being able to bring everyone into your world."

"Crumble," an original song penned by Mayers, showcases her ability to sing about personal heartbreak in a positive light.

"The song is about being in love with someone, giving your all and then things don't work out," she said. "But rather than being angry and bitter about how the relationship ended, you're essentially thanking the person for the experience of loving them — and also having the experience of them loving you. It's about choosing to see the good."

Shoup, who will perform with Mayers at the 2011 East Lansing Art Festival on May 21 and the Lansing Jazz Fest on Aug. 5, said he shares a similar sentiment about jazz.

"It's all about the emotional capacity of the music," Shoup said. "It's saying something. When you're playing jazz, you're expressing your humanity. It's real. I don't get that when I turn on commercial radio and hear some over-processed song that was carefully sculpted second by second in a recording studio."

"Jazz is immediate, it's an addictive thing," he added. "When you go see a master jazz musician play, there's magic to it that's absent in many other types of music."

For more information on Tamara Mayers, visit tamaramayers.com. - Revue Mid Michigan Magazine


"Jeff Shoup and Tamara Mayers get jazzed up"

On Saturday, Leroy’s switches gears with a performance by jazz drummer Jeff Shoup and vocalist Tamara Mayers, both Michigan State University graduates.
The pair will be backed by Hammond organ virtuoso Jim Alfredson.
Shoup has performed with some of Lansing’s most popular groups, including Root Doctor, Organissimo and the Old Town Blues Band. Mayers is a jazz vocalist, composer, and arranger originally from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. She combines jazz, classical and blues, even reggae, funk and Afrobeat. - Lansing City Pulse


"Music at Mumbai"

Tamara Mayers brings her vocal jazz stylings to Mumbai for a second performance at this venue. - CityPulse


"MSU Graduate Jazz Student Tamara Mayers Performs"

MSU Graduate Jazz Student Tamara Mayers Performs - Impact 89FM Exposure


Discography

"The Truth" - Mkklain feat. Tamara Mayers - Music on the Move
"Only You" - Mkklain feat. Tamara Mayers - Music on the Move

Photos

Bio

Tamara Mayers is a jazz vocalist, composer, and arranger originally from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Her style of music ranges from jazz, classical, and the blues to reggae, funk, and Afrobeat. In some of her compositions and arrangements, you will hear a taste of the caribbean in the syncopated bass lines or the driving beat of the drums.

Prior to jazz performance, Tamara performed as one of the soloists in the Aviano Gospel Choir that toured Italy from 2000-2001. She also studied classical music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville where she received her B.A. in Music. She is now in her last year of the Jazz Studies Masters program at Michigan State University and is ready to embark upon her musical career.

Tamara's greatest musical influences include Thelonious Monk, Fela Kuti, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Charles Mingus, Bobby McFerrin, Jill Scott, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Amel Larrieux, Sarah Vaughan, and a host of others. Her music is a huge melting pot of every sonic experience that she's ever had, blending roots and funk, jazz and classical, Afrobeat and soul.

Tamara has performed with an elite list of jazz musicians, such as Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Rodney Whitaker, Sean Dobbins, Perry Hughes, Wes Anderson, Ron Blake, Jim Alfredson, Etienne Charles, Diego Rivera, Steve Ritchko, Paul Keller, and many more throughout her jazz career. She also had the honor of workshopping with Grammy Award-winning artist, Esperanza Spalding. Tamara can been seen performing in local venues in the Lansing area and Detroit, such as Mumbai, The Green Door, Leroy's Classic Bar & Grill, Gregory's, Cliff Bells, and Bakers. She has also performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and in the East Lansing Jazz Festival and the Detroit International Jazz Festival in 2009 and 2010 with the Mack Avenue All-Stars and the MSU Bebop Spartans respectively.

Most recently, Tamara received an "Outstanding Soloist" award at the Elmhurst Collegiate Jazz Festival. Tamara's sound is a blend of her jazz and classical roots with an earthy, yet modern twist that is sure to be an exciting experience for any audience.