For a musical style that has historically placed so much
weight on lineage, the passing of more and more of
the old masters poses a dire question: What is the future of
the blues and who will lead the charge?
Well, for blues fans in the Northeast United States, that
question is routinely answered every night Mikey Junior
hits the stage. His infectious personality and absolute
command of his medium leave little doubt the blues is in
Self-taught from his impressive collection of blues vinyl,
Mikey was a full time musician before he even graduated
high-school. By the time he was in his early twenties,
seasoned players were taking notice and it wasn’t long
before one blues society after another scrambled to get
him to their stage. Before long, Mikey was a staple of the
summer blues circuit on the East Coast.
So it came as no surprise that his newest release found its
way into the eclectic and youthful roster of the VizzTone
Label Group. Traveling South reveals a young blues artist
at the top of his game, telling stories we can all relate to,
while drawing us deep into the roots of blues music via his
utter mastery of the diatonic and chromatic harmonicas.
Produced by Dave Gross, this album has a level of depth,
maturity, restraint and musicality that reaches the soul
through his impassioned vocals, bringing a whole new
dimension to his already impressive catalog. Well-written
originals and choice covers are brought to life with a vision
that truly separates Mikey from his contemporaries.
A diva (/ˈdiːvə/; Italian: [ˈdiːva]) is a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and by extension in theatre, cinema and popular music. In Philadelphia, a city known for providing the world of music with knockout talent, another yet unforgettable legendary diva in the making is unquietly emerging. Tanqueray Hayward is exploding on the Philadelphia music scene and is claiming her seat at the highly coveted table.
Born in Philadelphia in 1978, music was calling Hayward’s name from a very early age. Getting her first taste for the musical spotlight, Hayward started singing in church. After taking a leap of faith and resigning from a medical career, Hayward’s vocal potency landed her the opportunity to record background vocals for pop star Pink and open for internationally-acclaimed gospel artist Marvin Sapp in Philadelphia. In addition, Hayward has shared the stage with Carol Riddick, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Cedric Napoleon (Pieces of a Dream), Mozaic Flow, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s, The Joy Boyz and Shawn “Coco” McMillan just to name a few!
Currently, Hayward is enjoying the experience of performing to sold-out crowds at renowned music venues throughout Philadelphia. Hayward’s vocal ability and stage presence are potent for all who dare to experience it without a filter.
With Hayward serving in the United States Navy, she learned valuable life lessons of self-discipline and an incredible work ethic which has naturally flowed over to her rising music career. As her fan base continues to grow, Hayward has her eyes set on the big picture. “I want to bring back the music that’s been missing, the music I grew up on! Good soul music” she said. “I have a passion for performing and I am working very hard at my craft...”
Tanqueray Hayward’s artistic impact and contribution to the musical landscape of Philadelphia is now becoming undeniable. Currently recording her highly anticipated debut album, Hayward is working tirelessly to prove herself worthy to be mentioned in the company mentioned above. “One day soon” Hayward added. Well, that day is arriving real soon.
Najwa Parkins is a Philadelphia-based vocalist, songwriter/composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator. Helping aspiring jazz vocalists to develop strong musicianship, vocal technique, creativity, and confidence is a passion of hers, and she learns a great deal about herself as a performer and educator from teaching.
Najwa graduated from Temple University with a B.M. in Jazz Studies and Vocal Performance. As a trombonist and vocalist for the Temple University Big Band, under the direction of Terell Stafford, Najwa performed at various prestigious venues and festivals. After graduating from Temple, Najwa released her self-produced debut album, Not the Next Someone Else in 2011. She has shared the stage with a wide array of artists including Benny Golson, Larry McKenna, Bob Dorough, Nellie McKay, Donn T, Houston Person, Nicholas Payton, Phil Woods, and Branford Marsalis. Performing as both a vocalist and trombonist, Najwa has been a member of Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra. She is also the featured vocalist on the 2013 release, New Celebration, with that group. Najwa currently leads her own groups in Philadelphia. In 2013, she became the new vocalist for Hot Bijouxx, which performs an “energetic mélange of Prohibition-era jazz, French gypsy swing-waltz, and Brazilian bossa nova.” In the winter of 2016, she toured nationally, portraying Rosa Parks in the Mad River Theater Works production of Walk On: The Rosa Parks Story. Najwa graduated from New York University with a M.S. in Professional Writing in May 2016.
She returned to Temple University in the fall of 2016, this time, as an adjunct faculty member in the vocal jazz department. In the fall of 2017, Najwa also became the vocal jazz instructor at Moravian College. She is currently recording an album comprised entirely of her original music and lyrics, In 2017, she recorded as the featured vocalist with the South Philadelphia Big Band for their Christmas album. As an artist and performer, Najwa believes in the importance of connecting with the audience by telling stories through music. She draws on life experiences in writing her own music and lyrics,as well as in her interpretation of the music and lyrics of others.