Monday, June 2, 2008

Jaya ("The Fillipina Queen of Soul")

Jaya (born Maria Luisa Ramsey on March 21, 1969 in Manila, Philippines) is a Filipino soul singer, actress, record producer and presenter.  Her stage name was given to her by her American music producer after she signed a record deal in the United States.

While she is quite well-known in the Philippines, in the United States during the late '80s\early '90s, she was well-known as a freestyle\dance music singer & becoming the first Filipino recording artist to chart in the United States.

She is the daughter of singer & comedian Elizabeth Ramsey and Reynaldo Kagahastian. Her parents separated when she was a young girl and her father migrated to the United States where he now resides in Canada.

Jaya first started out in show business when she was 10 years old as a backup dancer for her mother. She was also the undefeated champion while singing on the GMA Network noontime variety show "Student Canteen" and later joined the Opera House.

In 1982, Jaya began performing under the name "Louise Ramsey". In 1985, she moved to the United States with her mother where they lived in different cities in California. She attended John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California.

After completing high school, Jaya ran away from home and moved to New York with a friend where she landed a job as a backup vocalist for freestyle\dance music singer Stevie B's group of musicians.

After spending a year in New York, Jaya moved to Florida where she was given the opportunity to complete an album that had already been started by another artist. In February of 1989, she signed a record deal with LMR Records.
During that same year, Jaya released her self-titled debut album. It's unknown how or if the album made the Billboard charts at all.
Her debut single "If You Leave Me Now" first became a hit in the dance clubs and was subsequently released to Top 40 radio where it managed to peak at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1990 for a total of 26 weeks (which was an unusually long chart run for a single that peaked outside of the Top 40), making it her only highest charting song in the United States to date.

It also peaked at #25 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and was a Top 20 hit on dance-pop radio stations in large area markets such as New York City , San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The success of the single gave Jaya the opportunity to work across the United States with artists such as Milli Vanilli, James Ingram, the Jets and MC Hammer.
Her follow-up single, "One Kiss Per Minute" peaked at #36 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart in December of 1990, but missed the Hot 100. After living in Florida for four years, Jaya moved back to California to be closer to her mother where she continued to perform music for the next few years, primarily in the Filipino community.
In 1995, Jaya returned to the Philippines where she signed a record deal with Viva Records and completed her first local album (five of the songs were recorded in the U.S. while the rest were recorded in the Philippines). The album reached multi platinum status, selling more than 360,000+ copies in the Philippines.
In 1997, she released her third album "In the Raw" which was given multi-platinum status, selling over 200,000 copies in the Philippines. 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".

In 1998, Jaya released her fourth album (and first Christmas album) "Kung Kailan Pasko" which was certified Gold, selling over 20,000 copies in the Philippines.

During that same year, Jaya married musician Andrew Buffington (whom she met in 1995). They divorced after three years of marriage.  In 1999, she performed in the musical "Rama at Sita" and also released her fifth studio album "Honesty."
In 2001, Jaya released her sixth album "Unleashed" which was certified gold and sold over 20,000 copies in the Philippines. During that same year, she released her first live album "Jaya: Live at the Araneta."
In 2005 (after taking a four-year hiatus from the music scene), she released her seventh album "Fall in Love Again."
Two years later in 2007, she released her eighth album "Cool Change" under her new record label, GMA Records which featured cover versions of international songs by artists such as Chaka KHan and Donna Summer. It was later certified platinum.
In 2009, Jaya released her ninth album "Real Love Stories" which contains cover versions of love songs sung by artists such as Toni Braxton, Vanessa Williams & the late Phyllis Hyman.

She was also part of the Kaya Natin Ito single CD which was a project that helped the victims of the tropical storm Ondoy. From October 2009 to March of 2010, she was the host of a Philippine game show called "BandaOke."

In March of 2010, Jaya starred in her first television soap opera on the GMA Network series "Diva" and was also the main presenter of the GMA-7 variety show "Party Pilipinas." Her other television credits include Philippine shows such as "Biritera," "Dwarfina," "Bantatay" and "Kaya ng Powers."

In September of 2010, she won the award for "Best Female Vocal Performance" at the 23rd Awit Awards for the song "Hiding Inside Myself."
In 2011, Jaya released her tenth (and latest to date) album "All Souled Out" which contains cover versions of classic R&B and jazz songs. She was also one of the judges on the GMA Network musical variety show "Sunday All Stars."

These days, Jaya continues to be an active performer in music & television in the Philippines. She is also a married mother of two children as well.

To see Jaya's Facebook page, go to:

To follow Jaya on Twitter, go to:

To see the music video for "Shadow Love," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "If You Leave Me Now," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "One Kiss Per Minute," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "You Lift Me Up," go to:

To see the music video for "Hiding Inside Myself," go to:

[updated on September 22, 2017]

1 comment:

souljaz69 said...

L O V E your playlist!