«I definitely feel responsible for putting out music that helps people,” shares the humble, stunning and down to earth Grammy nominated singer Maysa. “That is my calling in life and that is what God put me on this earth to do.” Maysa has remained one of the most instantly identifiable voices in R&B and Jazz over the past 25 years by staying true to her musical vision. Stevie Wonder declares, „Maysa is WONDER-ful“ Maysa launched her musical career as a member of Stevie's Wonderlove and has enjoyed the spotlight as the long-time front vocalist with the explosive UK Jazz/Funk sensation Incognito. The Soul Train Award winner has recorded 13 solo albums and her latest, Love Is A Battlefield, is arguably her best. Maysa explains, “Love Is A Battlefield is my political cry and hopefully many people will understand what I'm trying to say through the words of those writers. Love Is A Battlefield features ten tracks of mostly R&B gems, with two tracks delving into the Rock/Pop arena. Drawing inspiration from such diverse artists as The Isley Brothers and Natalie Cole to Pat Benatar and Justin Bieber, Maysa’s true artistry shines as she demonstrates her unique ability to transform virtually any song into her own unique work of art. As much as anything, Love Is A Battlefield is an oasis and a sonic journey capable of uplifting us all. It is also a testament to Maysa’s resilient spirit. “I choose to be happy deep inside my soul no matter what goes on around me. Even when life kicks my ass I try to return to that center, my peaceful place.”
Love Is A Battlefield prophetically speaks to the enduring power of love and faith and the importance of human connection. “I look for soul in a song. I sing mostly positive, uplifting, loving music and lyrics,” explains Maysa, who joins forces with a trio of hit-making producers: Chris „Big Dog“ Davis (Kim Burrell, George Clinton), The Heavyweights (All For One, Regina Belle, Wayne Brady) and Jason Miles (Miles Davis, DJ Logic, Grover Washington). “All of my producers brought their A games to this project,” confides the consummate artist. “They each allowed me to express myself freely.” Love Is A Battlefield opens with the devotional and tender “The Things We All Do For Love,” originally sung by Marvin Gaye’s daughter. “The moment I hear this song,” shares Maysa, “I hear romance. When I heard the sweetness of Nona Gaye’s voice I instantly fell in love with this song.” Maysa takes on Babyface’s hit first recorded by Tevin Campbell “Can We Talk.” “Tevin Campbell put his heart and soul into it and it comes across instantly. I really enjoyed recording this one.” Maysa’s own signature honey-toned vocals, agile and smooth riffs, flawless intonation and free- flowing swing will no doubt cause some to fall in love.
What Maysa and the Heavyweights do on the album’s title track will leave you breathless. Who knew an 80s rock cult classic could morph into such an intense soulful ballad?! Pat Benatar's Gold-selling hit in the hands of Maysa yields another winner. “The reason I chose Love Is A Battlefield,” explains Maysa, “has more to do with the way the world is today and all the things that we are going through as a people. We are all surrounded by people who are not choosing love first, instead they choose money over love and compassion. Love Is A Battlefield is a battle to allow love to reign over everything.” The Heavyweights also produce a sterling version of Justin Bieber’s hit featuring Big Sean, “As Long As You Love Me.” “The lyrics and melody are the kings and queens of this whole process,” expresses Maysa. “Bieber’s ‘As Long As You Love Me’ resonates with me so deeply because these are the words that are like a mantra in my life. All I have ever wanted was a love that was strong and true because „as long as you love me — I can do a lot. I can make things happen!” Maysa’s crystalline, bluesy and soulful vocals cut through the guitar-accentuated track and create pure bliss. Luther Vandross was without a doubt one of R&B’s greatest storytellers. Maysa brings to life Vandross’ 1980s classic, “Because It’s Really Love,” as she sings about the joy of finding true love. Switching gears, Maysa revs it up a notch and takes us to the dance floor as she delights with the 1977 Odyssey hit and anthem for undying love, “Inside Out.”
Natalie Cole made her studio debut, Inseparable a little over 40 years ago. Maysa recreates a gorgeous rendition of her #1 hit “Inseparable,” featuring saxophonist Carl Cox. She shares, “I chose this song because of the loss of the beautiful Natalie Cole. She was one of my voice teachers growing up. Not literally, but I listened to her music so much, in a sense she was a teacher.” Maysa floats atop an insatiable groove curated by the Isley Brothers and updated with fat modern swing courtesy of the Heavyweights on the classic “Footsteps In The Dark.” The results are superb. Jamie Jones of All For One adds a second voice to the track as well as additional keys. Love Is A Battlefield also features Atlantic Starr’s wistful “Am I Dreaming” and the Larry Weiss/Jerry Ross R&B ballad originally sung by Jerry Butler and covered by Dusty Springfield, among others, “Mr. Dream Merchant.”
Maysa Leak was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and knew by the time she was six that she would be a musician. “I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie,” she recalls. “When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel.” Maysa graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in classical performance, meeting Stevie Wonder while a student. Upon graduating she moved to North Hollywood to join Wonder’s Wonderlove group, with whom she performed for a year, appearing on the Jungle Fever soundtrack and such television shows as Oprah and The Tonight Show. In the early Nineties, Maysa auditioned over the phone to become the new lead singer of the acclaimed British Jazz/Funk/R&B band Incognito, moving to London for four-and- a-half years. She has appeared on over nine Incognito recordings and continues to appear frequently as a featured vocalist. Maysa recorded her self-titled debut album for GRP in 1995, following it up with All My Life in 1999, Out Of The Blue in 2002 and Smooth Sailing in 2004. She then made an impact with her interpretations of classic soul music on two acclaimed albums for Shanachie Entertainment, Sweet Classic Soul (2005) and Feel The Fire (2007), on which she showed her ability to put her own unique stamp on familiar songs from the 1970s era.
Metamorphosis (2008) showed off Maysa’s prowess as a composer and A Woman In Love (2010) found her returning to her roots as a jazz singer. Motions Of Love (2011) was highlighted by the ballad “Have Sweet Dreams,” co-written by Stevie Wonder (who plays harmonica on the track) and inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as “Flower Girl,” a duet with Dwele. Blue Velvet Soul (2013) scored Maysa’s first Grammy nomination, for her performance of the song “Quiet Fire.” “Earning a Grammy nomination has been one of the highlights of my career. I had dreamt about this moment since I was a little girl.” A Very Maysa Christmas (2014) delighted fans as the dynamic artist released her first ever holiday album and Back 2 Love (2015) was yet another tour-de- force that further solidified Maysa's place as one of the greatest singers of our time. With Love Is A Battlefield Maysa concludes, “I am an artist who enjoys being close to the people who support my music. It’s not about ego or being a superstar it's about the connection to people and helping someone circumvent the craziness of our world.”