A hometown artist keeping jazz alive and well
On a July day in 2013, Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, a 26-year-old native Texan, stepped off of an airplane and found herself in the London Heathrow Airport. It was hard for her to believe. Surreal even. But hard work and pure talent had paid off. A Kickstarter campaign. Countless concerts and gigs as fundraisers. Constant plugging of her latest album, A Portrait of LadyMay, as one of the songs, “Real,” number 1 slot on the UK Soul Chart. It was time. Tatiana Mayfield had arrived. LadyMay’s devotees describe her sound and persona as refreshing and beautiful. And jazz lovers relish in the fact that LadyMay seems to be keeping the genre alive and well. When the budding jazz artist was in her middle school band, she learned to play trombone and took piano lessons after school. She also was getting an informal musical education singing during church services at her church. One of her biggest turning points was attending a jazz camp at the University of Texas at Arlington when she was 13. “I felt so musically and creatively liberated! I had fallen in love with jazz for the first time. I remember I was the only girl, only trombone player and only vocalist at the camp” she said. Just four years later, her first big break came after auditioning for the Showtime at the Apollo Tour when it came to Dallas. She made the show, and the exposure put her on the radar of the show’s executive producer who asked LadyMay to come to New York as part of the Apollo’s famous amateur night to be recorded for national television. After graduating from Fort Worth’s Brewer High School, she continued to hone her skills studying jazz piano and voice at Tarrant County College, where she also played trombone and sang for TCC’s lab band. She continued her music education at the University of North Texas in fall 2005. Her first band, Intonation, morphed into The Tatiana Mayfield Quintet and they recorded their first album during her junior year at UNT. It received positive reviews by JazzTimesmagazine and jazz journalist writer Scott Yanow. The next year, LadyMay was chosen to be one of the 12 semi-finalists in the Thelonious Monk Competition at the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American. She sang before an all-star vocal jazz panel of Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kurt Elling. She also has opened for artists such as Kirk Whalum, Randy Brecker, Dave Valentin, Bobbi Humphrey and The Main Ingredient. LadyMay can be heard at various area venues, including The Scat Jazz Club in downtown Fort Worth and the Dallas Museum of Art. She teaches voice and piano lessons to children and adults when she’s not performing. LadyMay still plays trombone on occasion, writes songs, loves playing with her dog, Sweet Pea, and is working on her next album. LadyMay will perform at the Levitt with the UTA Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Tim Ishii.
Concerts are family-friendly and free, except for the Barenaked Ladies concert, which requires a ticket purchase. The Levitt Pavilion is located at 100 W. Abram St. in Founders Plaza on the corner of Abram and Center streets. For directions and parking, please see Directions & Parking. The Levitt is an open-lawn seating, outdoor concert venue. Visitors to the FREE concerts should bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Picnics and coolers are welcome to the FREE concerts. Please do not bring glass containers to the Levitt. Concessions are sold at the Levitt, including beer and wine. For additional information, please visit our FAQs, call the 24-hour information line at 817.543.4301, or email [email protected].