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Weekend Intermission: Introducing Maya Blandy (Portugal/UK) – B.I.B. (single)

Weekend Intermission is our regular feature where we look at an artist or band not from the Nordic countries, just to mix things up a bit.

I have to hand it to Maya Blandy; she’s got the gift of the gab that I thought belonged in Blarney Castle. When she wrote to me asking for an interview and I wrote back that we are mainly a Nordic music site so she came straight back at me with “I am based in the north tho! I’m in Manchester – studied and am living in Manchester city so I am a Nordic artist ahah.”

Precious. And she won the argument.

She is a Portuguese/British singer-songwriter (Portugal being an honorary Nordic country for tonight at least) currently working on her first album, ‘Stardust’ with Jake Wherry, the founding member of the hip hop pioneer band the Herbaliser. She says the album is a fusion of jazz and 70s disco and soul and her influences run to The Emotions, Dusty Springfield and Donny Hathaway, as well more modern RnB such as Erykah Badhu and Cleo Sol.

She adds that “being a beginning independent artist is never easy ahah.” So many Nordics will know that too. Even A-ha had to start right at the bottom, Maya. Ahah.

‘B.I.B.’ is her third single and the most recent. It came out in November last year and as I’ve pointed out before we usually don’t go that far back but as there is a forthcoming album in the offing I’ll make an exception.

‘B.I.B.’ (‘Bitch In Black’) started life with the beat written for a rapper and inspired by early 90’s ‘Golden Era’ Hip-Hop and with that beat underpinning 1930s style jazz music, to which Maya added her own melodies and lyrics.

It represents “the dysfunctional dynamics of a woman madly in love, willing to do anything to have that love reciprocated.” I say, old girl, steady on. A sort of reverse Madeira Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester.  

Another reason for making an exception for Maya is that this is a bloody good song. Dark, moody, sexy, a bit dirty. And that’s just the opening bars. Not to mention lines like “I shall hunt you down/Beware my baby/The bitch is back in town.”

We don’t really get that sort of thing from our play-it-carefully, don’t upset anyone, home-grown songwriters these days and we haven’t done, in this style at least, since the days of Shirley Bassey and latterly Amy Winehouse. Indeed Maya does have a flavour of Camden’s finest in that vocal, one that is augmented by the same horn flourishes that Winehouse employed, and courtesy here of Trevor Mires (trombone) and Ryan Quigley (trumpet).

It’s that Latin temperament what does it. It just oozes out of her.

I can’t help thinking this could be a Bond song. For a reprise of Casino Royale perhaps.

And I thought the Portuguese only did Fado.

It occurred to me that Maya is a little fair skinned for a Portuguese lady but it turns out that she was born in Australia and then raised in Madeira which she seems to share as a home with Manchester. Chalk and cheese or what?

And she’s part German, to boot.

In fact in one promotional shot, which unfortunately I can’t reproduce here, she’s a dead ringer for Taylor Swift. Can I register as the first Blandy-y?

Find her on:





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