Evenings of Intimate Jazz featuring Tatiana ‘Ladymay’ Mayfield
When: 8 p.m. March 18
Where: The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SE, Gainesville
More info: 770-534-2787 or www.theartscouncil.net
With tunes and melodies surrounding her from a young age, it came as no surprise when Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield decided to pursue music.
The only slight oddity is the musical genre the Texas native picked as her passion.
“I just found myself in jazz,” the now international singer said. “It keeps me going.”
Mayfield began her professional music career at the University of North Texas where she formed her first band, Intonation with pianist Erskine Hawkins III. Intonation developed into The Tatiana Mayfield Quintet and got its start by performing at area jazz festivals, clubs and restaurants.
Mayfield later stepped into the international spotlight after a song from her first album, “A Portrait of LadyMay,” landed the No. 1 spot in the United Kingdom Soul Chart. Now, her fanbase continues to grow worldwide with listeners from Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria, Brazil and France.
Mayfield will be in Gainesville to deliver her unique combination of jazz and soul sounds during the Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center. She will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at 331 Spring St. SW in Gainesville.
Tickets are $30 for individuals, but are sold out, according to The Arts Council website at www.theartscouncil.net. Additional seats are available in the atrium the night of the concert and a waiting list has been started. Interested parties must call 770-534-2787 to be added.
Mayfield spoke to The Times about her her journey and experiences as a jazz vocalist.
Question: At what age did you start singing?
Answer: I started singing as a little girl, and I think my parents realized I had some type of talent for it when I was about 6. But there was a jazz camp I went to when I was 13 years old that changed my life. In a sense, it made me realize I wanted to do music for the rest of my life.
Q: How has music and jazz in particular impacted your life?
A: So many ways! I found out that I could really express my artistry and freedom in music through jazz. You can do that in any music, really, you just have to find whatever works for you. For me, it was jazz and the improvisational aspect and feeling of creativity the music brings and the soul of the music.
Q: Where did the name LadyMay come from? The flower in your hair?
A: The nickname actually came from a good friend of mine. He’s a pianist here (in Texas). He started calling me that one day, and it sorta stuck and spread to music community because he sorta knows everybody. I dig that though. I kept it and ran with it after that.
Recently, I was looking back at pictures of myself when I was little, and my mom said, “You know you’ve been wearing flowers since you were 5.” So, I’ve just always loved flowers. And, of course, I get a little Billie Holiday feel.
Q: What have been some of the most memorable parts of your musical career?
A: Last year, I had the most memorable experience thus far. I got a chance to perform with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The first performance I did with them was for a tribute to African-American women called “I Am Every Woman” and I got to perform with two incredible vocalists. Then, I did a patriotic show for Independence Day as well.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you as a musician?
A: The biggest challenge for me has been to get my music out there to more and more listeners and people who are appreciative of the music that I do and performing in new places, in that we continue to move forward in trying to balance the music life on top of personal life in addition to getting out to new audiences.
Q: What do you think is in store for your career?
A: In hope, a lot of great things. I’m in the middle of finishing my third album called “The Next Chapter.” I’m hoping to finish it this year by spring. Having that album and doing more performances like the one I’m doing for The Arts Council. I’m looking forward to that actually. I’m looking forward to performing more after my album is released.
Q: You’re are a trombone player. Do you have any hobbies or lesser known talents like that aside from singing?
A: Oh yeah, I played trombone all through middle and high school; I’m trying to pick it back up. I don’t know about “lesser known talents,” but I love reading, as far as hobbies go. I have a large library. And I play piano a little bit, but I mean, you have to if you’re singing jazz.