Prodigious young talents performing jazz music and the American Songbook have gone back to the
beginnings of the genre – artists like Ella Fitzgerald and even Judy Garland were blowing away
listeners of all ages with their talent, incredible tone and sense of swing from their teenage years
This phenomenon has led to an ongoing output of incredible female singers over the decades, that
continues today with Vancouver-based, 16 year-old singer, musician and composer, Maya Rae.
Maya is inspired by musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and The Beatles, and
modern-day artists like Jamie Cullum, Megan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, and Adele. This is not
uncommon with singers today – growing up in an iTunes or Spotify generation, young artists can find
themselves listening to a compilation of hundreds of songs from dozens of genres, all in one session.
It has led to a generation that is blind to genre or musical confines – the key is to find a balance in
these influences, allowing the listener a musical experience and journey in concert that is entertaining
and enlightening. In her short career as a performer, Maya has found that balance and is becoming a
meaningful storyteller on the stage.
Maya has performed on many stages and venues including The Vancouver Jazz Festival, Jazz Vespers,
Pyatt Hall and Blue Frog Studios. She has shared the stage with prominent artists and musicians such
as Cecile Larochelle, Tim Tamashiro, Jodi Proznick, Tilden Webb, Luis Giraldo, Jesse Cahill, Eli
Bennett, Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, Jaclyn Guillou, Miles Black, Cory Weeds, Andre Lachance, Vince
Mai, Joel Fountain, Dave Sikula and many more.
As a part of Maya’s stories to her listeners, there has always been a priority to speak for youth and
peers that have faced barriers and personal difficulties in their life.
Maya says, “I am trying to write songs that convey a message of self-love and female empowerment.
My songs speak about my experiences throughout high school and as a teenage girl, and the various
struggles that adolescents encounter in their daily lives. The main message that I want to get across
to my listeners is to promote one’s authenticity and to bring hope and empowerment to those who
Maya’s first album, recorded when she was just 14 and entitled Sapphire Birds, was released to huge
acclaim on Vancouver-based, international jazz label Cellar live, in 2017. She is in studio now,
working with her musical director Miles Black and a team of musicians and co-writers to complete her
sophomore album for release later in 2018.
2 albums of original songs and fresh arrangements of jazz and pop standards, all by the age of only 16.
Maya Rae is an artist who is proving that a jazz artist does not need to be confined by the past, but can
use her influences, her own experiences as a young woman, and her view on the world to inform her
diverse presentation of soulful music.