Maysa’s triple-threat headliner status at the 30th Anniversary Berks Jazz Festival in Reading, Pennsylvania, landed her on the cover of the 2021 program playbill. With over 30 years of experience as a solo artist in her rearview mirror, the Baltimore native was a special guest vocalist with Pieces of a Dream on the opening weekend and is scheduled to perform twice more the second Saturday on WHUR Day.
As a senior at Morgan State University and member of the Morgan Choir, Maysa caught the attention of Stevie Wonder, who offered her a job after an audition the year before she finished her degree in classical vocal performance.
She promised her parents she wouldn’t leave for California till she finished college, and Stevie held her position as a member of Wonderlove, Stevie’s backup ensemble, as her first professional gig. A telephone audition with Bluey Maunick of Incognito years later landed her the second breakthrough gig as the lead vocalist of the best funk and fusion jazz international band, which has historically used the Berks as a launching pad for years of U.S. tours.
Maysa as the featured vocalist completed Incognito’s soulful sound and spent the next 29 years performing a string of signature hits starting with “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” in 1992 followed by “Still a Friend of Mine” and “Deep Waters,” which brought the house down with Pieces of a Dream the opening weekend.
When the COVID pandemic prevented the UK group from touring, Maysa fell back on her tried and true “Maysa’s Kitchen Karaoke Sundays” via Facebook Live, which she started in 2016. Now the show has over 100,000 viewers!
“It’s an honor being in your presence,” she shared with the near full house at the Double Tree as Pieces of a Dream performed their first live show since February Leap Year in 2020. And keyboard band leader James Lloyd and sax giant Tony Watson Jr. welcomed the band’s newest 17-year-old member, Justin-Lee Schultz.
Maysa will be the featured vocalist on WHUR’s “Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder!,” with Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Rick Braun, Nick Colionne, and the Fresh Wind Gospel Ensemble August 21, 2021. The same night she will close out the WHUR Night of Music with Eric Darius, Kim Waters, and Alyson Williams at the Double Tree Grand Ballroom.
Superstar trumpeter Chris Botti opens Berks Jazz Fest review by Malcolm Lewis Barnes