Michael Mayo (voice)
Andrew Freedman (keys), Kyle Miles (elec bass), Robin Baytas (drums)
Born and raised in L.A., but a diehard New Yorker for the past five years (drawn by “the music, art and energy, its motivating factor”), 28-year-old Michael Mayo finished work on his debut solo album Bones, on the Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, just before COVID hit. The tracks were cut live with his band — keyboardist Andrew Freedman, bassist Nick Campbell and drummer Robin Baytas, all of whom he’s played with since high school or college — at Figure8 Recordings in Brooklyn. Eli Wolf, a veteran Grammy®-winning producer of albums by Al Green, Norah Jones and The Roots, did the honors behind the board. “Being from L.A., I really know how to chill, but coming to New York has really kicked me into gear,” says Mayo.
The son of “first-call” session and touring musicians, Michael Mayo’s dad Scott Mayo was a saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, among many others, and is currently the musical director for Sergio Mendes, while his mom Valerie Pinkston, now a back-up vocalist for Diana Ross, also sang with Beyoncé, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and even alt icon Morrissey.
Bones is Mayo’s first full-length album under his own name after studying at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute — now named after Herbie Hancock, who mentored Mayo, helping him discover the link between sound and technology through a looper pedal, and showcased him as a featured vocalist on a tour of South America in 2018.
“Self-transparency is important to me, not trying to placate the expectations of other people,” he says of his genre-defying, highly personal debut. “I wanted to find the things that resonated musically with me, working with people who can bring that vision to life.”
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