"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
Erika celebrates the release of her new CD True Colors this fall with a tour of Japan and a CD release party at the famed New York Blue Note Club! The CD features an all-star cast of a wide variety of stellar musicians from younger sidemen in high demand to leaders with international fame: Dr. Lonnie Smith, Gil Goldstein, Romero Lubambo, Dana Leong, Gregoire Marret, Juancho Herrera, Yosvany Terry, Helio Alves, Paulo Levi, James Zollar, Jorge Continentino, Garrett Fishbach, Meg Okura, Essiet Essiet, Leo Traversa, Willard Dyson and Keita Ogawa.
The beautiful arrangements cover some classic American and Brazilian standards: Sunny, What a Difference a Day Made, Without a Song and Smile by Charlie Chaplin...Milton Nacimento's Vera Cruz, Djavan's Sina, Ivan Lins' Bilheteand two catchy sambas - Cicatrizes and Skindo Lele. Erika expands the colors of this musical palette with two Japanese themes, Erika's original,Kachofugetsu, Meguriai by Toru Takemitsu and Song for Elena by Ennio Morricone touchingly performed with strings, guitar and accordion as well as an original song by Erika, Beyond the Sky. The title cut by Cindy Lauper, True Colors is a final touch that shows Erika's true expansive range that finds meaning, beauty and rhythm in songs from around the world.
Erika's CD celebration started with a tour of Japan with guitarist, Freddie Bryant in August and September. This was just a few months after she recorded Bilhete by Ivan Lins on James Zollar's new CD where she met Gregoire Marrett. This was the beginning of the creative process that gave birth to True Colors. She continues her celebration at the Blue Note with a full band, Helio Alves, Freddie Bryant, Ben Zwerin,Yosvany Terry,Willard Dyson and more on November 25th.
A native of Japan, Erika showed love for music at an early age when she started studying classical piano in her pre-teenage years. By the time she reached her late teens, she was a member of an all-girl rock group, Tear Drops, that had won first prize in Japan’s most respected teen music competitions, the Yamaha Teen Music Festival. Through a chance meeting with Quasimode pianist Yusuke Hirado, Erika was invited to New York to tour as the lead vocalist of his jazz group.
After relocating to New York City, she immersed herself in the city’s jazz scene, exploring everything from straight-ahead to Brazilian jazz. She was accepted in the jazz voice program at the City College of New York where she studied with Sheila Jordan and received her BFA and music award, ''The Pro Musica Award'' in 2003. She has performed at venues such as BB Kings, Sweet Rhythm, Kitano and S.O.B.’s, and has regularly toured in Japan. In March 2007, Erika won first prize in the Asakusa Jazz Contest, Japan’s number one jazz contest. Later that year, she was featured in Coca Cola’s So-Ken-Bi Cha TV commercial - her voice became one of the most recognized in the nation.
Erika Matsuo’s debut album, Obsession was also supported by a dynamic team of musicians including Romero Lubambo, Carlton Holmes, Freddie Bryant, Paulo Levi, Yosvany Terry, Essiet Essiet, Willard Dyson and Nanny Assis. OBSESSION takes the listener on a journey of love traveling between jazz and Brazilian Popular Music melting with Erika's original compositions. A special treat for world music lovers and jazz fans!