Michael Mayo on “Bones,” a Sterling Debut Album and Radiant Song by Himself

Earlier this month, Michael Mayo finally took the plunge as a solo recording artist – with BONE, its auspicious debut on Mack Avenue. But before that, this talented singer and songwriter had something to do.

At 29, Mayo had already joined some of our favorite artists on tour and in the studio: Kneebody, Jacob Collier, even Herbie Hancock. Still, something had made him wait before making the first full statement under his own name.

“After I left the tour with Herbie, I had concurrent accomplishments – one is ‘I finally want to make an album’ and the other is ‘I have to get out’,” Mayo recalls on The Checkout. “I don’t want my first album to be that I don’t live authentically. An artist speaking authentically is one of the greatest acts of service we can do.”

From a certain point of view, I’m glad that Michael Mayo waited while cutting his teeth with some of the best in music, including making his “college jazz boy dream” come true on Ben Wendel. High heart, with Shai Maestro, Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders and Nate Wood.

Music on BONE is polished, fully realized and mature – a rewarding experience with a few unexpected turns along the way. “Stolen moments“, which spans 250 tracks in depth, is as complex as they come, while” The Way “could be programmed for pop radio – in a good way, meaning it has hooks for days.

Michael Mayo – The Way (Official Music Video)

As our podcast progresses, Mayo recounts the occasional discomfort of dating his parents and fans, and what it means to be a bisexual black man singing jazz today. “There are all these things that have their own social and micro-dynamics,” he says. “Coming out isn’t one thing; you do it multiple times in a lot of different situations, which sucks it’s like that right now.”

Michael Mayo performs at Rockwood Music Room Tuesday June 29. BONE is available now from Mack Avenue.


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