Jazz artist Maya Rae (photo © Maya Rae Music)
Jazz artist Maya Rae has a busy week ahead. Tomorrow night, Nov. 30, she takes part in Temple Sholom’s Fall Fest Fun-raiser, after a benefit concert earlier in the day at Brentwood Presbyterian Church called Socks for Souls. On Sunday, Dec. 1, she is among 11 bands that will perform in Jazz Walk at the Shadbolt. And, on Dec. 4, she is at the Vancouver Playhouse, participating in the show Strings and Jazz.
“Definitely this time of year is very busy when it comes to gigging and playing shows,” Rae told the Independent. “Because it’s surrounding the holidays, people are needing musicians for lots of things, so there are more opportunities to work right now. I’ve also been lucky enough to have played numerous shows throughout the years, so people are reaching out more now, hiring me for future gigs as well.”
One of the highlights of Rae’s past year was a trip to the southern United States.
“I went to Nashville last March to record my album and that was definitely one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far in my career,” said Rae.
The album, which will see its release in April, is the young musician’s second.
“Every song on it was written by my brother and myself, so the whole project is composed of originals,” she said. “My debut album, Sapphire Birds, is made up of some jazz standards, rearranged pop tunes and a few originals as well. The upcoming album, Can You See Me?, focuses on my original music from the past year, a lot of it reflecting on what I’ve learned and experienced. The music is incredibly personal, but I’m super-excited to share it with the rest of the world.”
Most of the songs on the new recording were inspired by things that have happened to Rae or to people close to her.
“I graduated high school back in June, and so a lot of the songs are about what I experienced throughout that journey,” she explained. “For example, ‘Can You See Me?,’ the title track of the record, is about removing the mask that hides one’s true self and not being afraid to be who you are. I found that, throughout high school (and outside of it), people try so hard to fit a certain box and be who they think they should be rather than who they really are. This song is about removing that façade and being OK with showing your true colours.
“‘Sun Will Come Out Again’ is another tune on the record that I wrote with so many people in mind. So much of the time, when we’re stressed, sad, angry, or any other uncomfortable feeling, it feels like the end of the world. This song is about how, no matter one’s current situation, whether it be big or small, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. That dark, upsetting feeling will not last forever.”
For more information on Rae’s music and upcoming performances, visit mayaraemusic.com.
The Fall Fest Fun-raiser (templesholom.ca/fall-fest-fun-raiser) on Saturday starts at 7 p.m. and also features Annette Kozicki and Friends and Tal & Yael’s Israeli dance, while Strings and Jazz on Dec. 4 includes Sinfonietta, VSO School of Music’s honour jazz combo (vsoschoolofmusic.ca).
The Dec. 1 Jazz Walk is a daylong event, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the Shadbolt Cenre for the Arts. The scheduled lineup includes Rae, Dave Robbins Sextet, Lucine Yeghiazaryan, Dawn Pemberton Quartet, Brad Turner Quintet, Grant Stewart Trio, Cory Weeds Quintet featuring Roy Mccurdy, Steve Kaldesta, Grant Stewart, Alyssa Allgood, Stephen Riley, Chris Hazelton, Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra and Ernest Turner. It also includes roundtable discussions with various people in the field, such as archival record producer Zev Feldman of Resonance Records in Los Angeles. Tickets and more information can be found at shadboltcentre.com.