Maya Azucena inhabits a musical world of her own creation. Whether performing before an audience of thousands or writing in solitude, she transcends genres and trends. Her progressive yet accessible style is shaped by an expansive vision that unites genres. With Maya Azucena, the worlds of hip hop, soul, jazz, reggae, electronica and pop join forces. Like Lauryn Hill, Corinne Bailey Rae, or Gnarls Barkley, she embodies a singular and finely honed artistry through a combination of profound lyrics, soaring melodies, and irresistible rhythms.
Cry Love is the artistic statement that Maya Azucena has sought to make since day one. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter’s impressive versatility unfolds over ten original compositions plus a dramatic interpretation of “Little Ghetto Boy.” Executive-produced with her longtime collaborator Christian Ver Halen, and released on her new imprint label, Azucena Songs, Cry Love represents a powerful journey that distills the universal themes of love, survival, and hope into 50 unforgettable minutes.
Maya Azucena emerged as a captivating presence on the landscape of popular music following her self-released debut Maya Who?! and the critically acclaimed Junkyard Jewel. Billboard, The Village Voice and The Washington Post have all heralded her mesmerizing performances in the U.S. while her music’s been featured on HBO (The Wire), NBC (30 Rock), and in advertisements for Verizon Wireless and Ford Motors. Her work with Stephen Marley netted a “Best Reggae Album” Grammy and her vocal contributions to an album by Croatian superstar Gibonni garnered two Porin Awards (the top music award in Croatia). As both an in-demand concert attraction and a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S., she’s enthralled audiences in places as far-ranging as Honduras, China, Tanzania, Italy, Myanmar, and Slovenia.
It is for those listeners and countless more that Maya Azucena has crafted Cry Love. An anthem for justice, the title track, produced by Pete Miser, is steeped in Maya’s concern for humankind and constitutes the album’s core concept. Her desire to inspire, empower, and embolden listeners saturates both the edgy groove of “Warriors” and the sanguine sway of “Near,” as well as her gripping duet with distinguished singer/pianist Chris Robon the Donny Hathaway classic, “Little Ghetto Boy.” Taking a page from Maya’s own life, “The Half” is a harrowing tale propelled by no less a rock legend than guitaristVernon Reid. Emerging triumphant from near tragedy, she invites dancehall icon iNi Kamoze aboard for a victory lap on “My Back’s Not Up Against the Wall” while the glistening, acoustic qualities of “Belong to the Sun” furnish another standout cut. The songs are all unified by a remarkable depth and stunning musicality.
Threaded throughout Cry Love is Maya Azucena’s belief that music is a tool for healing and activism. Parallel to her recordings, she’s supported a number of charitable initiatives. She performed at the “Save Darfur Rally” in Washington DC, where she appeared among politicians and celebrities such as President Barack Obama andGeorge Clooney. She co-founded MDGFive.com with Emmy-winning director Lisa Russell. Their multi-media website for maternal health awareness prompted an invitation from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for Maya to perform at the United Nation’s 2010 MDG Summit. Maya’s also received a Proclamation from the House of Representatives and recently won The Network Journal’s prestigious “Top 40 Under 40″ Award in recognition of her tireless community work and strong business acumen.
In a career that only continues to move forward, Cry Love is a seminal benchmark. Maya Azucena has bestowed a gift of music that channels the breath of angels. Watch her fly.
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