WHEN you go to North Coast Jazz tomorrow expect to hear one of the local music scene’s newest voices: Mya Scott. This is the event's third year of highlighting local artistes. It will take place at Sir Solomon Hochoy Park, Blanchisseuse.
This year's concert is dedicated to the late Winston "Shadow" Bailey. Named Outta De Shadow, it will also feature Shadow’s son Sharlan Bailey among the performers..
Last Thursday evening, Newsday got an opportunity to check in on a rehearsal at Studio 3 in Port of Spain where Scott was rehearsing with the band Dean Williams and Friends. Scott and the musicians were tightening up on several songs which included R&B and calypso.
The organisers want each performer to do a song from Shadow’s catalogue.
Judging from Thursday’s rehearsal, Scott intends to put (her) a very nice take on the Shadow song she chose.
Scott, 21, from Mt Hope began singing in church. As a child she sang in the choir and played instruments like the piano.
She received the usual compliments: “Don’t stop. You have a talent. It is great.”
The turning tide for Scott, that made her look at music as a career, was when she sang Lulu’s To Sir With Love at Bon Air High’s graduation ceremony. After her performance people were stunned: “What?” they said in amazement. And seeing them cry after her performance was a true eye-opener for her as she “never took music seriously” before.
Singing at her graduation was confirmation for her and so she then enrolled at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) Bachelor of Fine Arts programme, specialising in music.
She is soon to graduate in November having recently done her final recital.
“Singing and being able to have that degree is now something under my belt that has enhanced my ability,” she said to Newsday in a phone interview.
Scott said before studying, she never sang classically before.
“I never sang Broadway. I never sang anything of the sort, it would just be the typical R&B. The typical jazz stuff and then after going down that lane and learning those types of music, it really opened my eyes to the amazing things that you can actually do with music.”
As a vocalist, she believes that many people can relate to her instrument. While they might be unable to another instrument but Scott is sure people can be reached with voice and words. “It is the use of real raw expression and one would be able to resonate in those aspects.”
It is this use of her “real raw expression” that landed her a spot at North Coast Jazz.
She had a performance at a National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) event at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) and one of North Coast Jazz’s director and radio announcer John Gill happened to be at that performance.
Scott opened the event and after the show there was a “small meet and greet” for the patrons to interact with the artistes. Gill she said then approached her during that time and said he needed her contact since she needed to be at North Coast Jazz.
She was amazed. Louis Lee Sing, former Port of Spain mayor and another of the event’s directors, was there as well and he spoke to Scott and also took her contact information.
Some weeks after they contacted her, telling her, “we weren’t joking We would like to have you at the event.”
Scott has also performed at Women in Jazz held at Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain. She performed there two years ago.
She was asked to perform there after having done a small feature at a friend’s event. That for her was an “amazing experience.” It was “quite the experience” for the then 19-year-old as it was her first “on a stage like that.”
Originally, music was not what Scott saw herself doing for the rest of her life.
She was and still is a self-described “fitness freak.”
“In secondary school, I did physical education and I was really in love with it. I am still in love with it to this day and I was like ‘I want to be a fitness teacher and a physical education lecturer'.”
But when she sang she realised that singing was the thing for her.
“Having the physical education as a part of me, I thought that that would have been the route I would have taken. But then the music kinda hits you so hard, where it allows everything else to become nothing.”
She then took music and ran with it.
She has had full familial support; with her mother Rebecca Scott preparing all of her gowns, dresses and outfits and her three brothers and eight sisters also being there for her: whether it is to comb her hair or be at events to support her.
As a musician she looks up to gospel singing duo Mary Mary (Trecina and Erica Campbell) and India Arie. She admires their music, their love for the craft and their spirituality. “The fact that they acknowledge God and that aspect of things. There are a lot of musicians who do not believe in God at all and just believe in the power of music.”
Being a Christian is an important part of Scott as a musician.
After attending the UTT and being a part of Dr Leah Brown’s production called Jumbies she realised Theatrical Music and singing is where her music career is heading. She has since been trying to make connections since she is sure this is what she wants to do.
At North Coast on Saturday expect to get “an experience” as Scott showcases all that she is.
Scott will perform alongside 3canal; Kashiff Wilson Kwartet; Gates Praise; Natasha Joseph, Sharon Phillips and Bailey; all backed by Dean Williams and Friends.
The event will have a park-and-ride system which begins at 10 am from the Paddock at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. The buses are expected to begin returning to Port of Spain from 9.30 pm.
Parking will be available at Blanchisseuse Primary and Secondary schools for those who choose to go with their cars. Those who park there will be shuttled from the schools to the grounds. Food, drinks and craft will be on sale.
Legendary mas man Peter Minshall will also be doing a pre-show from 3.30 pm while the jazz starts at 4 pm.
Tickets for the show and park and ride are being sold at NLCB outlets.
With reporting by Gary Cardinez