The band warms up with some typical jazz standards to get the room ready for the Star of the evening. General chatter blends in with the clicks and clacks of forks, spoons, and plates as patrons enjoy their evening out for some excellent food and live music. Unassumingly sitting at a table near the stage sits Jazz Royalty, dressed modestly, and looking quite younger than her twenty-one years of age. Usually sitting with her Daddy, Joe Belardo, who is likely her biggest fan (next to her mother, Kyma Belardo, of course), she appears to be nothing more than a patron herself.
Oh, how looks can be deceiving!
From the stage, the host announces the performer who will grace the stage.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Miss Maya Belardo!”
The audience may half pay attention because they have no idea of the blessing they are about to receive.
MAYA begins to sing.
A hush comes over the crowd.
The first time I heard Maya was at a The Philadelphia Jazz Summit where pianist Luke Carlos O’Reilly accompanied her. Having known Luke for some years, I was so pleased to see him on the piano bench. However, the sweetest confection of my evening was to hear The Princess sing!
Man! I WAS NOT READY!
To further paint the picture, imagine the smooth strokes of “My Funny Valentine” in blue, “The Way You Look Tonight” flowing in ice cream green and (my personal favorite), “Blue Skies” gently and romantically brushed in sunshine yellow. Don’t look for the belting out of notes, but a gentle surf of high tides that gently tap the shore, rather than splash it. Her well-trained and robust delivery of Jazz favorites takes you on an unexpected trip of Jazz infused with love, blues, and romance. Maya Belardo is worthy of her bejeweled crown. To hear her sing is like hearing a bird’s first song of spring.
To greet Maya off-stage, she is the same modest, sweet, soft-spoken gem that you witness on the stage. For her age, I am so sure that this young woman carries an old soul of some juke joint jazz or blues singer in her spirit. What a joy it will be to see how this blooming vocalist grows in the years to come!
Please don’t take my word for it. Google Maya's name or look her up on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.
I had the honor to speak with Maya about her journey for Muzilog Magazine. Please check out the link and support this fantastic artist, “The Delaware Princess of Jazz,” Maya Belardo!
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Visit Maya Belardo Website.