1.) FIRST BRITISH-INDIAN FEMALE TO BE SIGNED TO A MAJOR LABEL DEBUTS FIRST CLUB SMASH OF 2010, WITH SUPPORT FROM URBAN SUPERSTARS N-DUBZ
It’s a milestone that’s been a long time coming - but it’s easy to see why Jaya is blazing the trail for British-Indian artists, with radio already in rapture about her debut single release ‘DJ Do It Again,’ via All Around The World / Universal Music.
‘DJ Do It Again’ is a commercial pop record of immense proportions; perfectly capturing the excitement of hearing a favourite song on the radio, it’s an irresistible synth groove with dancefloor-friendly beats and a monster chorus. Jaya says: “It’s about those moments when it doesn’t matter how tired you are, how much your feet hurt - you just want to get up and dance and have a good time.”
Following a hugely successful support slot on their most recent tour, Jaya has already found her own set of celebrity fans in the form of urban pop leaders N-Dubz. So much so that the band has remixed Jaya’s single, with Fazer offering his ‘80s inspired beats and Dappy his expeditious rhymes to remodel the song into an urban anthem, further broadening Jaya’s mainstream appeal. Dolce & Gabbana and Reebok have also taken notice of her potential, already offering exciting partnership deals for 2010.
Articulate, determined and charming - with songs that combine R&B and electropop, Jaya is a hugely appealing pop package. “Confident, creative, sexy and larger-than-life” is how she describes herself - and she’s not wrong. It’s why she’s attracted so many big names to work on her debut album, set for release in late 2010: she will collaborate with producers such as Hawkeye (Raghav, Kardinal Offishall) Jonas Jeberg (Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears) and Parker & James (Chipmunk ‘Oopsy Daisy’). “It’s going to be a feel good album,” she says. “Every track will be different, but I want people to be able to listen to it as a whole too.”
The daughter of a Hindu Priest, Jaya’s trailblazing status as the first female pop artist of Indian heritage to be signed to a major label is also very dear to her. “It’s hard to take in,” she says. “I always wanted to be the first to do something positive - to make history, even in a small way. When people think of a famous Asian woman, I want to be the name that comes to mind - for good reasons! And I really want to put Indians on the map in a commercial way, so people are more aware of who we are and what we do.
2.) Jaya is known in the Philippines as the Queen of Soul or Soul Diva (Soul Goddess). Born Maria Luisa Ramsey on March 21, 1969 in Manila, Philippines, the name Jaya came from an American producer when he signed her to a record deal in the U.S. in 1989. Her mother is comedienne-singer (Queen of Comedy and Queen of Rock&Roll) Elizabeth Ramsey, who is of Afro-Jamaican. She has three siblings: Ike, Anna, and Susan.
She started in show business at the age of 10 as a back-up dancer to her mother. At 13, Ramsey became the undefeated champion in the GMA-7 noon show, Student Canteen, and joined the Opera House. Jaya started doing solo performances in 1982, using the name Louise Ramsey. (Louise was re-christened Jaya after she signed up a record deal in the US in 1989; the name came from her American producer).
Jaya barely knew her father. He and her mother separated after a seven-year relationship. Jaya also was not able to finish high school in the Philippines because of her busy lifestyle as a young performer. However, she got high grades in school and became a class president. Her father, a Jamaican, was very strict but Elizabeth never wanted to go to school and yet she stayed in grade six for two years.
Her mother decided to leave for the U.S. in June 1985 and brought Jaya with her. Young Jaya continued her solo singing stints there, performing with other Pinoy artists like Tillie Moreno, Eddie Mercado, Lerma dela Cruz, and the veteran duo Reycards.
Life in the U.S. was likewise difficult for both Jaya and her mother. They stayed in different cities in California. She went to Marshall High School in Los Angeles, a school with a large Filipino American student population. She ran away from home in 1988, after finishing high school. She went to New York with a friend and landed a job as a back-up vocalist to the group of musician Stevie B.
1989: US debuts
After one year, Jaya moved to Florida. She was offered an opportunity to finish an album that had already been started by another artist. In February 1989, she signed a record deal with LMR Records (New York). Later that year, her first self-titled debut album was released in the U.S. The first single, “If You Leave Me Now”, was a hit in the dance clubs and was subsequently released to Top 40 radio. Produced and co-written by Stevie B (who also sang some of the backing vocals), the single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October 1989. It eventually peaked at number 44 in February 1990 and remained in the Top 100 pop singles chart for 26 weeks, an unusually long chart run for a single that peaked outside the Top 40. According to playlists submitted to Billboard magazine by American radio stations at the time, the song was a top 20 hit on dance-pop stations in various large markets, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. The song features a strong vocal performance by Jaya as well as many elements associated with freestyle music, which in the late 1980s was beginning to reach a wider audience in the U.S. “If You Leave Me Now” also gave Jaya the opportunity to work across the US with top artists like Stevie B, MC Hammer, Milli Vanilli, James Ingram, The Jets, and many more.
In 1990, Jaya released her second single, “One Kiss Per Minute” which peaked at #36 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart.
Jaya didn’t get in touch for four years: no phone calls, no letter, no nothing. One fateful day, her older brother heard Jaya’s song, the one that made it to the top forty on the radio. Her mother cried after listening to the song.
After spending four years in Florida, Jaya went back to California to be closer to her mother. She continued to perform music there for the next few years, primarily for the Filipino community.
1996: Philippine debuts
1995 was a turning point in Jaya’s musical career. Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corrales noticed her voice after Jaya did an opening act for Corrales, Carmen Soriano, the late Bert “Tawa” Marcelo, and Elizabeth in the U.S. Corrales then asked Jaya if she would come to Manila and record an album. Jaya went back to her native land and signed a record deal with Viva Records in March 1995 and completed her first local album. Five songs were recorded in the US while the rest were done in the Philippines.
Jaya is Philippine Music Industry’s Female Record Holder of an 7 times platinum album. She was a big hit when Pinoys first get to hear her belt out soul ditties in 1996. Her winning the 1996 Metropop Song Festival via Danny Tan’s “Sometimes You Just Know” made her the biggest star on the rise at the close of the last century. Her first album under Viva Records hit an all time high of 8 times platinum closely followed by Jessa Zaragoza 2 years after.
In 1997, she released her third album In the Raw, (second in the Philippines) the follow-up to her massive-selling 1996 Philippine debut album, Jaya, which sold a remarkable nine times platinum, (360,000 units; platinum is 40,000 units sold).
She also won as Best Interpreter at the Asia Song Festival held in Hong Kong in February 1997 for her rendition of the song “You Lift Me Up”, composed by Danny Tan with lyrics by Dodjie Simon. This composition also received the grand prize, the Best Song award. If anything, In the Raw is an even better set than Jaya. Jaya sings throughout In the Raw with indelible self-assurance and relaxed confidence-she sounds like a person who’s had a hit album, and is ready for more.
Where 1996’s Jaya was dominated by passionate, easy-listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, Jaya tackles a wider variety of music on In the Raw, including more moderately upbeat numbers than before. The album still has many easy-listening love songs, and none of the songs are at a sustained fast tempo, but Jaya’s approach is certainly more daring this time out.
She adorns, “Magpakailan pa Man” (Up to the End), for example, with soulful, Toni Braxton-styled flourishes, and renders the upbeat, “Together” with panache and verve. Her assured handling of the delicately nuanced, “Sana’y Mauli Muli” (Hope It Happens Again), is a tour de force. In addition, she has the ability to make a relatively minor song sound good, delving into the lyrics and melody and bringing them to full bloom. The album sold quintuple-platinum (200,000 units sold).
She released a Christmas album, entitled Kung Kailan Pasko which contained traditionals and original composition of Christmas carols, including a Jazz version of The Christmas Song.
In 1999, PolyMax Records, a label of then-PolyGram Records Philippines (now an affiliate of Universal Records), released Jaya’s A Love Album, first released in 1992 in Japan under the same title. The album consists of songs taken from an earlier Jaya album, also called A Love Album, released in the United States (Jaya is U.S.-based) in 1989, as well as songs recorded specifically for the 1992 Japanese release. In 1992, while touring Japan as a backup singer and keyboardist for American R&B artist Stevie B., Jaya was approached by the Japanese label Toshiba/EMI to make an album for Japanese release. A Love Album was released in Japan in conjunction with Jaya’s American label, LMR Records, which still owns master rights, and from whom PolyMax obtained permission to release the album in the Philippines (according to Kazu Watanabe, managing director of PolyMax Records). A Love Album is exquisitely produced, and Jaya acquits herself well on the album’s upbeat R&B/dance-styled tunes and soulful ballads.
In 1999, Jaya released, her fifth album released in her native country since 1996, entitled Honesty originally done by Billy Joel, was also her carrier single.
Honesty differs greatly from Jaya’s two previous major albums released in the Philippines, 1996’s Jaya and 1997’s In the Raw. Though, as before, Honesty contains mostly passionate, easy-listening love songs, this time out her approach is more intimate. She doesn’t add many soulful flourishes as before, nor does she allow herself to soar passionately to the heavens, which she often did on her previous albums.
Another major difference is the inclusion of three modern, rhythm’n’blues-styled songs, including, “We Thang,” “Tear to Fall” and “In My Dreams.” These songs are far more contemporary and have much more international appeal than the easy-listening love songs which dominate Jaya’s music.
After five years in the recording scene, she released her first greatest hits album, entitled Five featuring a duet version of “Habang May Buhay”, with Regine Velasquez and “Kung Wala Ka” from the “Abandonada” soundtrack.
1999, Jaya faced a big challenge when she did her first musical, entitled “Rama at Sita” led by Lani Misalucha. Everyone still remembers her showstopping performance where she had to do naughty songs and move like she’s never moved before. She’s very grateful to SK Entertainment for giving her the role of the villainess in the musical.
2000: Unleashed and Concert Scene
In 2001, Jaya released her sixth Unleashed album. Jaya sings in a relaxed, confident manner, and performs middle-of-the-road songs that mostly have depth and quality. Jaya mostly foregoes the soulful embellishments that were plentiful in her first two albums, 1996’s Jaya and 1997’s In the Raw, although every so often she adds a few unwritten notes in a passionate, soulful manner. She approached her last album, 1999’s Honesty, in the refined manner that she furthers on Unleashed. Jaya covers Roy Orbison’s “Love Hurts” and John Lennon’s “Love” in an understated, yet enjoyable manner. Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly” features an imaginative, bass-heavy arrangement.
2001, she released her first ever live album, entitled, Jaya Live at the Araneta. The album is dominated by performances of American hits. For example, the album starts with a rousing performance of Aretha Franklin’s great ’60s hit “Respect”, and also includes LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and Roy Orbison’s “Love Hurts.” She performs several of these ballads here, including her first hit in the Philippines, “Dahil Tanging Ikaw” (Because It’s Only You). Several guest artists also have spots, including Regine Velasquez, who performs Abba’s “Dancing Queen”; boy band Jeremiah, who accompanies Jaya on remakes of songs by American boy bands, including Westlife’s “Swear It Again”; and male singers Wency Cornejo, KC Montero, and Rivermaya’s vocalist and songwriter, Rico Blanco.
After 4 years of hiatus in the music scene, Jaya is back with her seventh studio album entitled, Fall in Love Again, with a carrier single “Di Na Ba Kita Mapipigilan” composed by Vehnee Saturno.
2007: New label
2007, she released her eighth album Cool Change under her new label, GMA Records, featuring covers of international hit songs including Donna Summer’s “On the Radio” and the Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire”. All of the songs were presented with new arrangements in various musical genres. The first single was “Is It Over?” originally sung by Ronnie Milsap which received Platinum award in 2009.
After her Platinum Record solo album, “Cool Change, ” Ramsey released her ninth studio album entitled, Real.Love.Stories. It contains 14 love songs carefully picked and beautifully revived by the Philippine’s Queen Of Soul, such as Breathe Again originally sung by Toni Braxton ; Old Friend by Phyllis Hyman and Save the Best For Last by Vanessa Williams.
The concept album will be released initially on a limited edition micro secure digital format and after two weeks, it will be available on physical CDs and digital downloading.
Jaya is also part of Kaya Natin Ito single cd. The said project will be supported by Gawad Kalinga to help the Ondoy and Pepeng victims in the recent disaster that killed more than half a million people all over the country.
2010: New beginnings
On March 1, 2010, Jaya will star in her first soap opera as a supporting role in a new primetime offering of GMA Network for their 60th Anniversary titled “Diva (TV series)” with Regine Velasquez, Mark Anthony Fernandez and Glaiza de Castro.
Her BandaOke show was aired on October 25, 2009 and will end on March 21, 2010 and will be replaced by reality comedy sitcom entitled Pepito Manaloto.
She will also be one of the main hosts of the new GMA-7 variety show entitled “Party Pilipinas”.
Jaya was reluctant to act before but she’s now enjoying playing the role of Barang, Regine Velasquez’ friend in “Diva.” And GMA management must see something effective in her acting as they offered her a new acting job even before Diva. She will play as Helen de Herenes as a nosey landlady in Kaya ng Powers a new sitcom starring Joey Marquez and Rufa Mae Quinto as a couple from outer space.
Jaya bagged the Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist for the song “Hiding Inside Myself” at 23rd Awit Awards last September 30, 2010.
3.) Jaya is also the name of a progressive trance group consisting of Calum MacLean and Barry Fraser. Jaya had several releases on Platoon Recordings and Inversus Records during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Edited by LondonOwl7 on 25 Jun 2011, 20:39
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