|Birth name||Maria Luisa Ramsey|
|Also known as||Soul Diva, The Asia's Queen of Soul, The Philippine's Queen of Soul|
|Born||March 21, 1969|
|Genres||Soul, pop, adult contemporary, R&B, rock, hip hop, OPM, jazz, gospel, scat, funk, freestyle, dance|
|Occupations||Singer, rapper, actress, dancer, musician, record producer, TV host|
Universal Records (2011-present)
Jaya (born Maria Luisa Ramsey on March 21, 1969) is a Filipino soul music singer, rapper, dancer, record producer, TV host and actress of mixed Filipino and Jamaican descent. She is dubbed as the Soul Diva and The Asia's Queen of Soul and is currently a contract artist of GMA Artist Center. She is the first Filipino recording artist to chart in the United States, as her debut single "If You Leave Me Now" peaked at 44 at the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Early life and discover
Jaya is known in the Philippines as the Queen of Soul or Soul Diva(Goddess). Born Maria Luisa Ramsey on March 21, 1969 in Manila, Philippines, the name Jaya came from an American producer when he signed her to a record deal in the U.S. in 1989. Her mother is comedienne-singer (Queen of Comedy and Queen of Rock&Roll) Elizabeth Ramsey, who is of Filipina descent. She has three siblings: Ike, Anna, and Susan.
She started in show business at the age of 10 as a back-up dancer to her mother. At 13, Ramsey became the undefeated champion in the GMA-7 noon show, Student Canteen, and joined the Opera House. Jaya started doing solo performances in 1982, using the name Louise Ramsey. (Louise was re-christened Jaya after she signed up a record deal in the US in 1989; the name came from her American producer).
Jaya barely knew her father. He and her mother separated after a seven-year relationship. Jaya also was not able to finish high school in the Philippines because of her busy lifestyle as a young performer. However, she got high grades in school and became a class president. Her father, a Jamaican, was very strict but Elizabeth never wanted to go to school and yet she stayed in grade six for two years.
Her mother decided to leave for the U.S. in June 1985 and brought Jaya with her. Young Jaya continued her solo singing stints there, performing with other Pinoy artists like Tillie Moreno, Eddie Mercado, Lerma dela Cruz, and the veteran duo Reycards.
Life in the U.S. was likewise difficult for both Jaya and her mother. They stayed in different cities in California. She went to Marshall High School in Los Angeles, a school with a large Filipino American student population. She ran away from home in 1988, after finishing high school. She went to New York with a friend and landed a job as a back-up vocalist to the group of musician Stevie B.
1989: US debuts
After one year, Jaya moved to Florida. She was offered an opportunity to finish an album that had already been started by another artist.
1996: Philippine debuts
1995 was a turning point in Jaya's musical career. Asia's Queen of Songs Pilita Corrales noticed her voice after Jaya did an opening act for Corrales, Carmen Soriano, the late Bert "Tawa" Marcelo, and Elizabeth in the U.S. Corrales then asked Jaya if she would come to Manila and record an album. Jaya went back to her native land and signed a record deal with Viva Records in March 1995 and completed her first local album. Five songs were recorded in the US while the rest were done in the Philippines.
Jaya is Philippine Music Industry's Female Record Holder of an 7 times platinum album. She was a big hit when Pinoys first get to hear her belt out soul ditties in 1996. Her winning the 1996 Metropop Song Festival via Danny Tan's "Sometimes You Just Know" made her the biggest star on the rise at the close of the last century. Her first album under Viva Records hit an all-time high of 8 times platinum closely followed by Jessa Zaragoza 2 years after.
In 1997, she released her third album In the Raw, (second in the Philippines) the follow-up to her massive-selling 1996 Philippine debut album, Jaya, which sold a remarkable nine times platinum, (360,000 units; platinum is 40,000 units sold).
She also won as Best Interpreter at the Asia Song Festival held in Hong Kong in February 1997 for her rendition of the song "You Lift Me Up", composed by Danny Tan with lyrics by Dodjie Simon. This composition also received the grand prize, the Best Song award. If anything, In the Raw is an even better set than Jaya. Jaya sings throughout In the Raw with indelible self-assurance and relaxed confidence-she sounds like a person who's had a hit album, and is ready for more.
Where 1996's Jaya was dominated by passionate, easy-listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, Jaya tackles a wider variety of music on In the Raw, including more moderately upbeat numbers than before. The album still has many easy-listening love songs, and none of the songs are at a sustained fast tempo, but Jaya's approach is certainly more daring this time out.
She adorns, "Magpakailan pa Man" (Up to the End), for example, with soulful, Toni Braxton-styled flourishes, and renders the upbeat, "Together" with panache and verve. Her assured handling of the delicately nuanced, "Sana'y Maulit Muli" (Hope It Happens Again), is a tour de force. In addition, she has the ability to make a relatively minor song sound good, delving into the lyrics and melody and bringing them to full bloom. The album sold quintuple-platinum (200,000 units sold).
In 1999, PolyMax Records, a label of then-PolyGram Records Philippines (now an affiliate of Universal Records), released Jaya's A Love Album, first released in 1992 in Japan under the same title. The album consists of songs taken from an earlier Jaya album, also called A Love Album, released in the United States (Jaya is U.S.-based) in 1989, as well as songs recorded specifically for the 1992 Japanese release. In 1992, while touring Japan as a backup singer and keyboardist for American R&B artist Stevie B., Jaya was approached by the Japanese label Toshiba/EMI to make an album for Japanese release. A Love Album was released in Japan in conjunction with Jaya's American label, LMR Records, which still owns master rights, and from whom PolyMax obtained permission to release the album in the Philippines (according to Kazu Watanabe, managing director of PolyMax Records). A Love Album is exquisitely produced, and Jaya acquits herself well on the album's upbeat R&B/dance-styled tunes and soulful ballads.
In 1999, Jaya released, her fifth album released in her native country since 1996, entitled Honesty originally done by Billy Joel, was also her carrier single.
Honesty differs greatly from Jaya's two previous major albums released in the Philippines, 1996's Jaya and 1997's In the Raw. Though, as before, Honesty contains mostly passionate, easy-listening love songs, this time out her approach is more intimate. She doesn't add many soulful flourishes as before, nor does she allow herself to soar passionately to the heavens, which she often did on her previous albums.
Another major difference is the inclusion of three modern, rhythm'n'blues-styled songs, including, "We Thang," "Tear to Fall" and "In My Dreams." These songs are far more contemporary and have much more international appeal than the easy-listening love songs which dominate Jaya's music.
After five years in the recording scene, she released her first greatest hits album, entitled Five featuring a duet version of "Habang May Buhay", with Regine Velasquez and "Kung Wala Na" from the "Abandonada" soundtrack.
1999, Jaya faced a big challenge when she did her first musical, entitled "Rama at Sita" led by Lani Misalucha. Everyone still remembers her showstopping performance where she had to do naughty songs and move like she's never moved before. She's very grateful to SK Entertainment for giving her the role of the villainess in the musical.
2000: Unleashed and Concert Scene
In 2001, Jaya released her sixth Unleashed album. Jaya sings in a relaxed, confident manner, and performs middle-of-the-road songs that mostly have depth and quality. Jaya mostly foregoes the soulful embellishments that were plentiful in her first two albums, 1996's Jaya and 1997's In the Raw, although every so often she adds a few unwritten notes in a passionate, soulful manner. She approached her last album, 1999's Honesty, in the refined manner that she furthers on Unleashed. Jaya covers Roy Orbison's "Love Hurts" and John Lennon's "Love" in an understated, yet enjoyable manner. Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly" features an imaginative, bass-heavy arrangement.
2001, she released her first ever live album, entitled, Jaya Live at the Araneta. The album is dominated by performances of American hits. For example, the album starts with a rousing performance of Aretha Franklin's great '60s hit "Respect", and also includes Labelle's "Lady Marmalade, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Roy Orbison's "Love Hurts." She performs several of these ballads here, including her first hit in the Philippines, "Dahil Tanging Ikaw" (Because It's Only You). Several guest artists also have spots, including Regine Velasquez, who performs Abba's "Dancing Queen"; boy band Jeremiah, who accompanies Jaya on remakes of songs by American boy bands, including Westlife's "Swear It Again"; and male singers Wency Cornejo, KC Montero, and Rivermaya's vocalist and songwriter, Rico Blanco.
After 4 years of hiatus in the music scene, Jaya is back with her seventh studio album entitled, Fall in Love Again. Friends, old and new came out in full force to help Jaya put the album together. One of these is Ogie Alcasid, who composed and produced "Ako'y Sa'yo" later revived by Regine Velasquez, "Maging Akin Ka Lamang" and their duet of "Bakit Di Mo Sabihin". Another one is Vehnee Saturno, who wrote and produced most of Jaya's early hits. His contributions are "Pagkukunwari" and "Di Na Ba Kita Mapipigilan", which is the albums first single release.
2007: New label
2007, she released her eighth album Cool Change under her new label, GMA Records, featuring covers of international hit songs including Donna Summer's "On the Radio" and the Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire". All of the songs were presented with new arrangements in various musical genres. The first single was "Is It Over?" originally sung by Ronnie Milsap which received Platinum award in 2009.
After her Platinum Record solo album, “Cool Change, ” Ramsey released her ninth studio album entitled, Real.Love.Stories. It contains 14 love songs carefully picked and beautifully revived by the Philippine’s Queen Of Soul, such as Breathe Again originally sung by Toni Braxton; Old Friend by Phyllis Hyman and Save the Best For Last by Vanessa Williams.
The concept album will be released initially on a limited edition micro secure digital format and after two weeks, it will be available on physical CDs and digital downloading.
Jaya is also part of Kaya Natin Ito single cd. The said project will be supported by Gawad Kalinga to help the Ondoy and Pepeng victims in the recent disaster that killed more than half a million people all over the country.
2010: New beginnings
On March 1, 2010, Jaya will star in her first soap opera as a supporting role in a new primetime offering of GMA Network for their 60th Anniversary titled "Diva (TV series)" with Regine Velasquez, Mark Anthony Fernandez and Glaiza de Castro.
Jaya was reluctant to act before but she's now enjoying playing the role of Barang, Regine Velasquez' friend in "Diva." And GMA management must see something effective in her acting as they offered her a new acting job even before Diva. She will play as Helen de Herenes as a nosey landlady in Kaya ng Powers a new sitcom starring Joey Marquez and Rufa Mae Quinto as a couple from outer space.
Jaya bagged the Best Female Vocal Performance for the song "Hiding Inside Myself" at 23rd Awit Awards last September 30, 2010 beating up some of the younger local singers of today.
2011: All Souled Out
Ramsey released an album under Universal Records entitled All Souled Out, a CD album containing 12 tracks of all revival songs. It was her third cover album, containing classic R&B and jazz songs that she grew up listening to. The album received a critical response, after experimenting with a variety of sounds in her previous outings, "Jaya comes to terms with what she is really all about as a singer in "All Souled Out." She triumphs in making the material sound genuine, largely because it is perfect for her. And her voice is a thing of wonder. There is warmth, power, and vulnerability in her renditions, making listening to the entire album a breeze—perfect for long drives or for those lazy weekends."
In 1998, Jaya married musician Andrew Buffington, whom she met in 1995. After three years of marriage, she filed for divorce. Jaya married her second husband Gary Gotidoc and at the age of 36 she gave birth to her daughter Sabriya. On July 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center. The baby was named Dylan and weighed 8.2 pounds.
Jaya's voice is classified as Contralto, a dramatic soprano, widely known for her dark, low registered as low as A2 , big voice, and belting as much as Ab5 in her rendition of "Through the Fire" even as high as Bb5 in her version of "High Energy".
|Gandang Gabi, Vice!||2012||ABS-CBN||Herself as guest|
|Bantatay||2010–2011||GMA Network||Jaya the Labrador (voice)|
|Kaya ng Powers||2010||GMA Network||Helen de Herenes|
|A fantasy/situational comedy television program that is produced by GMA Network, starring Rhian Ramos, Sheena Halili, Elmo Magalona, Joey Marquez and Rufa Mae Quinto.|
|Party Pilipinas||2010–present||GMA Network||Main Host|
|The Philippines' new television concert variety show|
|A Philippine musical dramedy television series, dubbed as GMA's first-ever "KantaSerye", this show is developed by Don Michael Perez and directed by Dominic Zapata.|
|BandaOke||2009–2010||GMA Network||Main Host|
|A Philippine game show. Bandaoke opens with a grand number showcasing the two game masters jamming with a band especially formed for the show. The number leads to three rounds of liveband-videoke singing showdown between two teams of celebrity players each headed by a celebrity bandmaster. Members of the winning team of rounds 1 to 3 will then face-off in One-on-One-on-One round to determine the jackpot player. The jackpot player advances to one final round where a 1-million pesos cash prize is at stake.|
|One Proud Mama||2008 to 2009||Q-11||Host|
|It is a talk show which features successful personalities with their equally supportive mothers.|
|Pinoy Pop Superstar||2004 to 2007||GMA Network||Judge|
|A Philippine television show featuring a year-long talent search for the best Filipino amateur singers. It is broadcast every Saturday evening on GMA, The Kapuso Network. Grand Prize winners include Jonalyn Viray in 2005, Gerald Santos in 2006, and Maricris Garcia in 2007.|
|All Star K!||2002 to 2009||GMA Network||Main host|
|A Philippine videoke game show. There are seven contestants which sing a total of seven blanks in a song in each round. The song is chosen by the Giant Jukebox with different categories.|
|SOP (Sobrang Okey Pare)||2000 to 2010||GMA Network||Main host|
|A Philippine noontime musical variety show of GMA Network that airs live every Sunday at noon-2 p.m. from the Studio 3 of the GMA Network Center. It features livewire concert performances by the hottest concert artists and young stars today in the Philippine showbiz industry.|
- Pangako... Ikaw lang (performer: "Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang")(4 July 2001)(Stars:Aga Muhlach, Regine Velasquez and Bobby Andrews, Robert Arevalo, Sherilyn Reyes, Bojo Molina, Charlie Davao, Evangeline Pascual, Ricci Ocampo, Lui Manansala, Dencio Padilla Jr., Marie Barbacui, Rufa Mae Quinto, Jaya)
- Abandonada (performer: "Kung Wala Na")(29 November 2000)(Stars:Maricel Soriano, Edu Manzano and Angelu De Leon, Jay Manalo, Ynez Veneracion, Perla Bautista, Maureen Mauricio, Mel Kimura, Tita De Villa, Gigette Reyes, Bernard Palanca, Jim Pebanco, Tony Mabesa, Angelo Macam, King Alcala)
- Dito sa puso ko (performer: "Dito Sa Puso Ko")(1999)(Stars:Judy Ann Santos, Wowie De Guzman and Eric Quizon,Troy Montero, Vanessa Del Bianco, Gina Pareno, Caridad Sanchez, John Lapus, Eagle, J.R. Trinidad, Aiza Marquez, Archie Adamos, Eugene Domingo, Mel Kimura, Ai-Ai de las Alas)
- Dahil Ba Sa Kanya (performer: "Dahil Ba Sa Kanya")(13 May 1998)(Stars:Aga Muhlach, Mikee Cojuangco and Onemig Bondoc, Tessie Tomas, Candy Pangilinan)
- Wala na bang pag-ibig (performer: "Wala na bang pag-ibig")(22 October 1997)(Stars:Angelu De Leon, Bobby Andrews and Joel Torre, Mel Martinez, Evangeline Pascual, Maureen Mauricio, Mariel Lopez, Ramon Recto, Mon Castro, Katya Santos, Iwi Nicolas, Barbie Puzon, Apreal Tolentino, Ramon Mateo, Lui Manansala)
- Laging Naro'n Ka (performer: "Laging Naro'n Ka")(9 April 1997)(Stars:Angelu De Leon, Bobby Andrews and Eddie Arenas,Kim de los Santos, Mandy Ochoa, Gloria Romero, Red Sternberg, Noel Trinidad, Mitch Valdez)
- Hanggang Ngayo'y Mahal (performer: "Hanggang Ngayo'y Mahal")(1997)(Stars:Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon and Antoinette Taus)
- Dahil Tanging Ikaw (performer: "Dahil Tanging Ikaw")(1997)(Stars:Donna Cruz, Ian De Leon and Jao Mapa)
- Rama at Sita
- "Jaya Album & Song Chart History: Bllboard Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
- Elizabeth Ramsey: A Thousand Laughs In A Lifetime
- Jaya - Bio, Albums, Songs and Lyrics - OPM Filipino Music
- Mega Producer - Jaya Cool Change
- In the Raw by Jaya - Download In the Raw on iTunes
- Kung Kailan Pasko by Jaya - Download Kung Kailan Pasko on iTunes
- Honesty by Jaya - Download Honesty on iTunes
- Jaya's concert series starts July 16 - SATURDAY SPECIAL (July 10, 1999)
- Jaya Live at the Araneta: Information from Answers.com
- Fall in love again with Jaya
- NINA Soul SIREigNs Thread 7.5 and Everywhere You Are There We'll Be - Page 237 - PinoyExchange
- GMA Records
- Kaya Natin Ito!
- GMA-7’s first Kantaserye airs tomorrow | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online
- iGMA: Jaya talks about SOP and Party Pilipinas - Entertainment - GMANews.TV - Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs - Latest Philippine News
- GMA-7's KAYA NG POWERS - PinoyExchange
- The 23rd Philippine Awit Awards
- Jaya To Divorce U.S. Drummer
- Jaya Artist Page - Trivia Listing - The Online Resource for Filipino Songs
- Jaya Gave Birth to a Healthy Baby Boy | Philippine News on Grabeh.com
- GMA Telebabad powerhouse in 2010
- BandaOke on iGMA.tv
- Elizabeth Ramsey & Jaya "Rock & Soul Tour 2008" | Feb. 8 - Los Angeles | Feb. 10 - San Francisco
- Jaya - IMDb