Urban-jazz pianist Kayla Waters has everything it takes and more to be a successful artist. She is strong, confident, grounded, focused on her gifts, and translates it all beautifully through her music. Kayla is enjoying the success of her sophomore album “Coevolve” and feeling the love with her second consecutive Billboard No.1 single “Zephyr.” This week, her latest single, “Full Bloom,” is No.2. Waters took an eight-month hiatus from social media to focus solely on her music and her connection with God. The fruits of doing so was the creation of “Coevolve.” It tells the story of two things: first is life of a plant and how it grows; second is Kayla herself and how, like the plant, she, too, is growing and blossoming. Essentially, Waters is telling her life story in every song. Additionally, she collaborated with Michael Broening on the single “Full Bloom.” She is currently working on her third album, touring, and preparing to launch her own production company. She’ll be sharing the stage with her father, saxophonist Kim Waters, on December 6th in Charlotte, NC at the Mcglohon Theater.
One of the most exciting and visionary urban-jazz artists to arrive in recent years, pianist Kayla Waters (www.iamkaylawaters.com) is touring in support of her sophomore album, “Coevolve,” which spawned her second consecutive Billboard No. 1 single, “Zephyr.” The creative and energizing force of substance and style plays the McGloghon Theater in Charlotte on December 6.
Waters, an award-winning musician, songwriter and producer, crafted “Coevolve” that she describes as a collection of “rich polyphonic textures, unique sounds, tones, impromptu melodic, harmonic and rhythmic nuances that justly epitomize the aeolian cycle of God, music and natural life.” That description alone reflects the depth of her recordings. Waters masterfully deploys alluring melodies and enveloping grooves while presenting scholarly, divine concepts that stimulate contemplation. Her earthy and organic aural palette incorporates soulful R&B, improvised modern jazz, freeform indie sensibilities and celestial inspirational music that touches hearts, minds and souls. And she has only begun to scratch the surface of her artistic gifts and vision.
“Coevolve” follows Waters’ 2017 debut disc, “Apogee,” an enchanting flight far beyond the borders of contemporary jazz powered by the Billboard No. 1 single, “I Am,” a confident introduction to a compelling and charismatic artist who is making the music genre refreshing for the stalwarts and appealing to young millennials through her recorded offerings and by her powerful presence. Both the breakthrough single and album ended the year on Billboard’s yearend charts.
The Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Foundation honored Waters with their Rising Star in Jazz award and the Washington, DC-based artist was named Best Jazz Artist at the Wammies. Waters has performed at major festivals, theaters and clubs around the globe with the upcoming tour stop part of a busy concert itinerary.
On a recent pleasurable visit to Blakeslee Recording Studio in Burbank, California, I sat down with studio owner Raphael Saadiq to discuss his latest project “Jimmy Lee.” Saadiq shared glimpses of his childhood growing up in Oakland, California and his emergence as an artist, songwriter, and producer, as well as the creation of what the world now knows as the album “Jimmy Lee,” named aptly for his brother. It is a collection of songs that most can relate to in one way or another. Raphael is candid, humble, and brilliant. His artistry has touched and crossed over a multitude of facets in the entertainment industry including movies and television. The first single from the album, titled “Something Keeps Calling” featuring Rob Bacon, came in recently at no.1 on the Urban Contemporary/R&B chart.
Enjoy my conversation with Raphael Saadiq at Blakeslee Studio where his hits come to life: