Though only in his mid twenties, Michael Mayo has already earned his stripes as a jazz artist. As an up-and-coming jazz vocalist, composer, and arranger, Mayo’s voice is an elegant balance of charisma, confidence and an approachable vulnerability that draws audiences in. Whether with straight tone or vibrato, on standards or new music, Mayo’s talents can draw the jazz purist and the curious novice to the same venue.
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Mayo recently received his Masters of Music from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles after receiving his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Voice Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC). Mayo has performed on many nationally and internationally recognized stages including at the White House, Kennedy Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Hollywood Bowl. Mayo has also performed and recorded alongside music giants like Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, and Usher, and has recorded at Capitol Records. Most recently, Mayo was chosen to perform and teach master classes at the 10th Annual Panama Jazz Festival in 2013.
Mayo is currently in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble, only the third vocalist to be accepted into this elite Institute in its nearly 20-year history. He has performed on stages in the United States, France, Morocco, Chile, Australia, Brazil, and Panama. While at NEC, he studied with lauded musicians and educators Dominique Eade, Ken Schaphorst, Jerry Bergonzi, Miguel Zenón, John Lockwood, Donny McCaslin, Carmen Lundy, and Jason Moran. While at the Monk Institute, Mayo had the opportunity of working with jazz greats such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, John Pattitucci, Luciana Souza, and Jimmy Heath, among others.
Also an accomplished composer, Mayo writes original pieces of music, which in 2013 and 2014 won him acceptance into the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, which has given rise to such talent as Jason Moran, Nate Smith, Reuben Rogers, and Aaron Parks. In 2011, The Boston Jazz Blog wrote that Mayo “ … had the maturity of composers twice his age. Mayo’s vocal lines, both scored and improvised, were interesting and sophisticated.”
Mayo’s musical versatility also expands to the recording industry, television and film. He has performed live with recording artists Usher, the All-American Rejects and Matchbox 20. He recorded with Michael Jackson, Korn, and can be heard on the soundtracks for Hairspray: The Movie, High School Musical 3 and The Polar Express.
He also performed on various television programs including Home for The Holidays, VH-1 Awards and An Evening of Stars: A Tribute to Quincy Jones.
Most recently, Mayo was selected as one of four young jazz vocalists to participate in a Master Session with Dianne Reeves as part of the Kennedy Center’s American Voices Festival. Mayo and another fellow participant were chosen among these four singers to sing in the Festival’s Gala performance.