May 26th, 2022 7pm Stage 3
"Her singing is heartfelt and honest. She sings with depth and passion. What a joy to hear her"- Sheila Jordan -
"Erika's voice is filled with sentiment and warmth. She integrates both passion and gentle emotion into her lyrics" - Dr. Lonnie Smith
"Obsession is a promising debut...beautifully produced, finely performed"
- All About Jazz
New York-based, Japanese jazz vocalist, Erika Matsuo, burst onto the international jazz scene in 2010 with her self-produced album, "Obsession" (ErikaJazz), a sensual sojourn through American, Brazilian and original songs, which was hailed by All About Jazz as "a promising debut, beautifully produced and finely performed." She had previously self-produced a single, "Close My Eyes" (ErikaJazz) in 2007.
A protege of the great Sheila Jordan, Erika studied classical piano as a child and, in her late teens, joined an all-girl rock group, the Tear Drops, which won first prize in the Yamaha Teen Music Festival in May 1994. A chance meeting with jazz pianist Yusuke Hirado led to her being invited to record and perform in New York as lead singer with his band. It was the beginning of her love affair with New York. Erika soon relocated, studying for a BFA in jazz voice at the City College of New York and immersing herself in the city's jazz scene - exploring everything from straight ahead to Brazilian jazz.
After graduating from City College, where she was also awarded the prestigious Pro Musica award, which is given to graduating music majors for distinguished service to the cause of music at the college, Erika went on to win first prize in the highly prestigious Asakusa Jazz Contest in Japan and, in 2007, was featured in Coca Cola's So-Ken-Bi Cha TV commercial, becoming one of the most recognized voices in Japan.
Based in New York, she has performed at many of the city's top venues, including BB Kings, Sweet Rhythm, the Kitano, S.O.B.'s, and the Blue Note, and regularly tours Japan.
In March of 2012, she did a guest performance for Monday Michiru at the Long Island Jazz Festival. She followed up this to be featured for her "caressing vocals" on the acclaimed trumpeter from the Duke Ellington Orchestra, James Zollar's 2013 album " All Good People".
Also in 2013, Erika released her second album, "True Colors". This Album was picked by the prestigious Japanese jazz website. Jazzpage.net as "Finest Vocal Album of 2013", and awarded her first place on the Jazz Page Readers Poll.
In 2015, Erika, inspired by the people she had met and worked with during her many tours of Japan and in NYC, over the past ten years, produced her third album "Nostalgia". This album features four achingly beautiful original songs which represent the four seasons of the year and describe the nostalgia of some of these encounters.
The album includes magnificent performances by Dr. Lonnie Smith, Gil Goldstein, Romero Lubambo, Dana Leong, Gregoire Maret, Juancho Herrera, Yosvany Terry, Helio Alves, Paulo Levi, James Zollar, Jorge Continentino, Garrett Fishbach, Meg Okura, Essiet Essiet, Leo Traversa, Willard Dyson, Keita Ogawa and jazz pianist Yusuke Hirado of Quasimodo, with whom she co-wrote the original song "Gekkoh". All provide the perfect support for Erika's beautiful voice, which the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith has lauded as "filled with sentiment and warmth [integrating] both passion and gentle emotion."
While back in Japan in August of 2015, Erika appeared on the popular national TV show, Woman on the Planet, and was featured on a recording session and ''behind scenes'' shooting of a video with a Japanese supermodel/celebrity, Rola.
In 2017, Erika came out with her latest album, "Reflections" in which she songs written for her by Monday Michiru and Yusuke Hirado. She had over 14 different musicians record with her on this album including Steve Wilson, David Gilmore, and Johnathan Blake. The album is scheduled to be released in both Japan and the U.S. on October 11th, 2017.
Erika also did a guest performance on Stacey Kent's album "I KNOW I DREAM"
During the year, Erika did a few guest performances for Yusuke Hirado's new project " Yusuke Hirado Prospect". She performed for his first song in that album at the Tower Record's Instore Live event that was shown simultaneously at five Tower Record locations. She also performed for him on a performance on the Nagasaki NBC TV station, as well as a guest performer with his band at the Nakazu Jazz Festival. Also at the Nakazu Jazz Festival, she performed with Yusuke Hirado and Motoharu of Sax fame.
In October 2017 she was named Lifetime Ambassador of Tourism in her native Miyama city, Fukuoka. She was also featured on the cover of the city Council Newsletter. She has appeared on many radio shows in Japan.
Erika has been performed at Blue Note New York, Rockwood Music Hal, and Jazz at Kitano for over 10 years.
Erika did also guest performance on
the great bassist, Leo Traversa’s new album, is scheduled to be released in 2022.
Erika did crowdfunding and made her 6th album Here And Now. It’s the celebration of her living in NY for 20 years. It was released in Japan on August 22 and it was released on all digital platforms on September 22, 2021.
Here first holiday song " The Christmas Song" was released on all the platforms including Itunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and Pandra on
December 17th, 2021.