Maya Cool is one of the biggest kizomba singers from Angola with 32-years of career. Maya is almost as loved amoung the Palop community as the way Americans loved Prince.
When he was at a young age, he participated at a competition called “Pio” with the nickname “Team Maya” as Maya has a raspy voice similar to a Brazilian singer with that name.
In the 1990s, he fled from the civil war to to Portugal where he wanted to register as a singer with the name Team Maya, but since that name was already taken, it was rejected. In Lisbon, Maya hang out with another artist called Punga from the USA. He used to say to Maya that “you are a cool guy”. So the artist Maya Cool was born.
Maya created his famous song called Lángrimas with Punga in 1996. The lyrics were written by Maya. Years later, he made a remake of this song with Dina Medina (from Cabe Verde)
During the civil war, every man above 18 years had to be enlisted in the military, no wonder almost everyone who had the chance, fled abroad mainly to Lisbon. Besides, artists had no space and support there during the wartime. Maya wanted to become an acknowledged kizomba singer. He travelled to Lisbon to meet Eduardo Paím. However, Maya had to work for two years at constructions until he finally found Eduardo Paím. Eduardo helped him a lot, gave young artist Maya shelter, food, support, and love.
Maya Cool needed to find himself, his style. He met with Grace Evora (Cabe Verde) in the Netherlands and participated in the band called Splash. Maya’s second album, Igual a Ti was more mature and a work of a more serious artist than the first one, Lángrimas. He has released 5 albums:
- Lágrimas (1996)
- Igual a Ti (1998)
- Anjo (2001)
- Amores (2006)
- Certeza (2012)
His biggest general inspiration was Michael Jackson, and also Tevin Campbell, and R&B/soul/pop singer. His biggest influence as a singer was Eduardo Paím (he was basically Eduardo’s student) and Kassav. Another influence came from Manborro (from Angola) and Manu Dibango (from Cameroon). He would love to have a song with Paulo Flores together, but he hasn’t got the chance yet. He worked with several artists together like Ary, Puto Portugues, Matias Damasio, Mago de Souza, and Yuri da Cunha from Angola, Justino Delgado (Bissau Guinea), Johnny Ramos, Grace Evora, and Dina Medina (Cape Verdian artists living in Holland) to name a few.
His new album will come out this year, featuring a song he made with his daughter. He is adapting to the new generation taste of music (ghetto zouk and tarraxinha), so these styles will also be featured on his album alongside with kizomba and semba.
Maya Cool was invited to a kizomba festival organized in Mozambique, Africa to talk about kizomba. This was the first time he has seen non-Angolans, or non-Africans dance kizomba, but he saw that something was missing there in their dance like it kind of smells like kizomba, but not really kizomba. (After he went to some other festivals, he understood the reality of the situation in this regards.) Although, he was positive about the events leading to the internationalization and world-wide recognition of kizomba which is beneficial for Angolan singers as their music is also get known more abroad.
At this festival, in Mozambique, he was invited to speak only, but Maya get emotional as he saw a lot of people from different countries of the world who are committed to it for the love of kizomba to participate. He sang 3 of his songs in front of the audience as sign of respect, love and gratitude.