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Maya Days:
Woman On A Mission...

When Maya Days says that in five years she wants her career to take her "everywhere," you believe her. In addition to being an accomplished theatre actress with credits in "Rent" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," her collaborations with dance music sensation The Tamperer ruled dance floors around the world as recently as last year. Days is young, beautiful, motivated, and on the move. Fortunately for YourMVP readers, Editor-in-Chief Paul E. Pratt caught up with the budding diva during her run on "Superstar"--while she was on the road after a grueling day under the lights of Broadway.

It's past 8 p.m. Pacific time, but pushing midnight in New York City. Maya Days has just spent several hours in front of Broadway audiences playing Mary Magdalene, the fallen woman in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar." And she's hungry.

In the background she can be heard directing someone--an unknown driver--to pull over at the first opportunity. She apologizes, the sincerity obvious in her voice, then explains. "I want Burger

Days singing her ballad "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar

King," she says, laughing into the phone.

Her laugh is sultry and somewhat dark, yet full of life--which is easily the way the stunning brunette could be described. Her sexy, caramel appearance, the result of a mixed Portuguese and African-American background, curvaceous body, and incredible voice have landed her roles as "bad girls with a heart of gold" in two of the most critically acclaimed Broadway musicals of all time. Now she is preparing for a little time out of the limelight.

"I'm going to have two days off--I might have a Whopper," Days shares, saying that, with her schedule, two days off is a luxury. One might not expect such dietary indulgences from someone whose career calls for her to be in the spotlight--literally and figuratively--six days a week. But Days is far from typical, as her appearance--and, soon enough, her demeanor--would attest.

Days is focused and ambitious, honest and straight-forward. And she makes no bones about her career agenda. "I see myself going everywhere," she says with confidence. "I am ready to make a big impression on the world in terms of music."

She realizes that it's going to take hard work, but that is something her stage career has prepared her for, she says. "Being on stage eight times a week--especially as Mimi (from "Rent")--is no joke! That's hard work." Playing an HIV-positive, drug-addicted dancer would wear anyone out, and Days played the character on the show's "Angel" national tour, in London, and for a stint on Broadway. It's easy to imagine that Days' recent Broadway run as Mary Magdalene is an equal challenge physically and mentally. It is, she says, but confesses her heart belongs to Mimi. "[Mimi is] hands-down the most amazing role I've ever played. I get off on that character."

If Days is ready to "make an impression" on music, she appears to be on the right track. After all, she's already made one on the world's dance floors with dance music mavens The Tamperer. After hearing "Drop a House," Days' attitude-filled collaboration with the techno outfit Urban Discharge, European group The Tamperer contacted the young vocalist. They decided to rework the piece, add a sample from the Jackson song "Can You Feel It," and have Maya rerecord the vocals. The result: "Feel It." a track that launched "The Tamperer featuring Maya" to the top of dance charts and the "Billboard" magazine EuroCharts.

"Performing those [songs] is like an aphrodisiac to me," Days says, laughing again. She has enjoyed the international success, the travel and the opportunity to entertain people in so many countries. "It was really wonderful. You travel all over the continent [Europe]. The bottom line is a smile and a gesture of being pleased the same everywhere."

Without doubt, "Feel It" and the follow-up "If You Bought This Record Your Life Would Be Better," which heavily sampled Madonna's "Material Girl," were pleasers. "When people would hear those songs--especially 'Feel It'--they would lose their minds," Days says, "It was very gratifying."

To listen to Days, moving beyond club and international success will be incredibly easy. "Vibing with people and knowing what it is you want to sing is the biggest part of the deal," Days says. "Once you

find who you want to express yourself with, the rest just happens."

And, apparently, Days found that "vibe" with the people at Jive Records. She is signed with music's hottest label, the same company that represents pop uberstars The Backstreet Boys, *N Sync and Britney Spears. At a glance, Days could not have a better machine to support her. She does admit, however, that she might fall outside the spectrum of music her label embraces most readily. "[Jive] is very hot right now. They're a great label, but they're very into pop music. Period," Days says--and that's a genre of music she isn't certain she'll fall into.

According to Days, there's more dance-oriented music, in her future. "I think [my album] will be dance music, but more groove-based," she says. "Mostly I just look for good songs. I love dance-based music, though. I like dance stuff with hip-hop grooves." And she plans to work with The Tamperer again, too, though not likely in the same capacity. "They're great producers," she says--but this time <i>she</i> won't be the supporting cast! "It is going to be more of a 'Maya Days produced by' type of thing," Days explains. "It's going to be much more of a solo effort on my part, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't work with them again."

Days feels that dance music is the trend of the future--and uses her chart success with The Tamperer to support that. "Everybody wants to dance, to celebrate and to have a good time," she says. Though she refuses to state that dance is her favorite type of music ("There are so many acts out there that are amazing, and they are so diverse . . . ") she will commit to, "Music that makes you move is a good thing."

However, it becomes abundantly clear from her ambition of being "everywhere" that Days has more in mind than simply continuing on her current musical path. With the early-September close of "Superstar," she now has more time to dedicate to both her recording career and other media-- television, movies. "I am an entertainer," she asserts. "Not just a vocalist; not just an actor. There are so many incredible projects out there, incredible roles. Whatever I see as 'passionate,' that's what I want to do. That's where it all stems from for me: being passionate."

And passion is something that Days, who describes herself as "crazy, demanding, and genuinely good--like a genuinely good heart," sees to have an abundance of--grounded in strength and sensibility. She realizes that her desire to be "everywhere" is going to take its toll.

"Being everywhere and being able to enjoy being everywhere are two very different things," she confesses. However, she's driven to move herself

toward that. "There are some things that are so special . . . that have that 'X-Factor' . . . " she says, elaborating on what it is that she is seeking in her own career. "There are some songs that are so special--and not just to one person, but to everybody. They're just special." That's what Days says she's looking for in her career and in life. "That passion . . . I love it."

Right now, though, she's looking for a Burger King--and meeting with not much success. "They're closed!" she moans, "Can you believe that? They're closed!" No worries--there's an open McDonald's ahead.

Maya Days is a woman on a mission--and one suspects she most often gets exactly what she wants.

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