Maya Yianni at McQueen
A handful of people collect around a dim stage; it’s early, a Wednesday night, and people sip their drinks nonchalantly. Maya Yianni fits effortlessly into the crowd, seemingly inviting them up on stage with her as she steps up, casually and without nerves, chatting into the microphone with as much ease as if she was standing right here, beside you. It is the same effect when the first notes begin to spiral out, not the notes that might be expected of a 5’2″ petite blonde. They are not sweet notes, they are not small notes; this is a big voice that zaps the nonchalance from the room within two bars. It’s a voice that fills the room, and yet remains exquisitely unimposing, paired with only a bare minimum of acoustic that allows every syllable to shine, every lyric to hit with equal notice.
The twenty minute set is a blend from quick to slow, jazz and soul and folk mixed into one voice that scales through an immense range with as much ease as if she had just got up on stage for a quick chat. Highlights included Foolish and He said; both tunes with realistic overtones, lyrics that tell a story about a common friend, that ease you into conversation.
Now is the time to catch this girl before the quiet venues get too cramped, as her voice is one that draws in the outsiders, will eventually draw in a big crowd. Simple and yet silencing, Maya Yianni sings with no pretension, as if she is just waiting for you to be there to listen, so she can say hello.
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