HER NEW EP FEATURES SIX POWERFUL ANTHEMS
FFO: Janelle Monae, Yebba, Adele, Lenny Kravitz
Award-winning indie recording artist Maya Azucena now brings us her new EP “I Am Enough” as a follow-up to the title track release of September. This EP stands as a passionate, eloquent, and infectiously joyous affirmation of self-worth and acceptance. It also serves as a refutation of anybody, or anything seeking to devalue people or break their spirits.
In a world where people are constantly besieged with circumstances that degrade them, the inspirational and life-giving anthems heard on “I Am Enough” capture the fierce urgency of the moment. “I Am Enough,” the lead single, came into the world on September 23rd to critical praise. Now, Maya emerges with “I Am Enough” the 6-song EP to be released on October 21st, a jubilant birth out of her recently successful Kickstarter campaign.
“I Am Enough” possesses an unbridled energy that allows Maya’s inspirational messages to go down easily. The hats of activist and entertainer fit comfortably on her head because Maya is both conscious and self-aware. She knows that the message will be lost if the music’s not good.
Needless to say, the message is received and the music on “I Am Enough” is very, very good.
Maya states her purpose with first song and title track “I Am Enough,” a tune that incorporates the rock background of producer Timo Ellis (Mark Ronson, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto and Joan As Policewoman) with Azucena’s love and knowledge of Black spiritual and funk music. This is an artist who grew up listening to Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire and those influences come through powerfully on the EP’s opener.
“I Am Enough” is a song about the importance of knowing your worth and when Maya declares “I won’t ask you/I’m already enough/You don’t have to approve/I’m already enough” she sets the tone of radical, defiant self-acceptance and love that flows through every track.
“Alley,” the second song on the EP, sports a deep groove that fuses a funky bass line with warm, rousing synthesizers, serving as a solid foundation for Maya’s range and emotive vocals. Maya sings of navigating her way through the snares laid by so-called loved ones who turned out to be foes and eventually face the consequences of their actions.
Billboard Magazine once described Maya’s music as an enthralling combination of “storytelling lyrics and soulful, soaring vocals.”
Maya displays all those virtues on “Chameleon,” a cut where she fuses the percussive Afro-Caribbean music that she heard growing up in Brooklyn, to create a bumping and inspirational dance track encouraging people to embrace their authentic selves. “Chameleon” tells the story of her transformation from hiding in plain sight by perfectly fitting in, to becoming a person who celebrates her voice by embracing what makes her unique and dynamic.
Maya proves that she can rock with the best of them on the banger “Death is Dancing,” featuring guitar icon Vernon Reid (Living Colour, The Roots). Her voice moves between angelic and urgent on a track that finds her soaring above slashing guitars and kicking drums on a track where she implores listeners to embrace life to its fullest, even in face of the sorrow and destruction waiting outside our door.
In a way, the funky anthem “Warrior” may be the most personal song on “I Am Enough.” Defiant in tone, Maya announces her intention to take on all challengers on this rocker. She powerfully exorcises self-doubt as well as the judgements of the external doubters. A survivor of domestic violence, Maya’s “Warrior” comes from a very personal place. The tune can be viewed as her clap back against anyone in her past who meant her harm, and perhaps the negative forces that had her considering walking away from music.
Fortunately for us, the love and support of her circle served as confirmation that Maya was made to make music. “Music is plan A,” she said. ‘And there is no plan B.”
“You’re Not Alone feat. Jay White, Joseff McKenneth, Honey LaRochelle, Chris Rob,” her final a capella track, is the one song produced by Maya, and features a rousing choir of voices. Maya’s writing here draws from ancestral gospel spirituals, leaving the listener with an important reminder: “your burden can’t be too heavy, ‘cause it’s not you lifting alone.” It is not surprising that Maya would create a work of art that is simultaneously praise song and polemic. Over the course of her career, she’s used her art and activism to uplift, empower and educate humanity.
Author, music critic, journalist and filmmaker Nelson George described Maya as an artist who is constantly… “electrifying audiences with her emotive style and vocal…delivers with heart and soul every time you see her.” In addition to releasing three critically acclaimed albums, Maya’s boundless energy and four-octave vocal range make her an in-demand collaborator for any artist seeking to bring unabashed honesty, passion, and soulfulness to their projects.
Azucena earned a Grammy Certificate for singing the duet “Let Her Dance” on Stephen Marley’s Grammy Award winning album “Mind Control.” Maya’s latest March 2022 Marley collab, “Mr. Bojangles”, can be heard on Celebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute to Nina Simone. Maya has toured over 40 countries and, in her role as a cultural ambassador for the United States State Department, 12+ of these were Humanitarian tours sponsored by American Embassies. In March 2022, Azucena represented America as a performer at the International Expo in Dubai. In 2019, Maya embarked on a 17-country European tour as lead singer for HipHop-Rock group, Brass Against. She also performed in festivals in Indonesia, South Africa, Croatia, Brazil, and Haiti, among others.
Ebony Magazine noted that “Maya Azucena brings activism back to the Arts, ala Nina Simone.”
Like The High Priestess of Soul, Maya has a deep passion for social justice and humanitarian causes, with a particular focus on issues dealing with women’s and youth empowerment, plus combatting domestic and sexual violence. For her work on these issues, she has received awards, including a proclamation from the U.S. House of Representatives for producing Hope Night, an awareness building event held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. – Written by Howard Dukes
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