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Maiko Watson Gives Us ‘Sweet Vibrations’ With Her Debut Album


This album was something I needed to do to prove to myself that I could do it. Writing and producing my own album was empowering, especially as a woman – Maiko Watson

In hindsight 2009 was a better year for soul music than I first thought, particularly the independant variety. As we made our first steps in 2010 I was busy catching up on some of the gems that had slipped under my radar last year … one such release was Maiko Watson’s Sweet Vibration.

Wise Up

For the most part Maiko keeps things in the traditional soul lane on this album, however a bit of reggae here, some jazz vibes there, all held together by a pure, clear and powerfeul voice help keep the album from sounding bland or boring.  What makes this debut album even more impressive is the fact that Maiko wrote every track herself, except for ‘Ready To Be Loved’ which she co-wrote with her ex-husband, long lost soul singer Remy Shand.

Another Day

On first listen it easy to make comparisons with current artists, previous reviewers have pointed out similarities with Ms. Winehouse (when did she become the yardstick for modern female soul singers?), and to a point I agree, especially on the title track. However on closer inspection it’s obvious that Maiko incorporates a whole host of influences in her music; she cites, amongst others, Ann Peebles and Betty Davis as being her ‘icons’ alongside staples such as Aretha, Billie and Ella.

Under Your Spell

Unusually for a debut, there is a striking consistency throughout the album which renders the skip button on your chosen music playing device obsolete. From the sassy, acapella intro of ‘Just A Girl’, to the reggae vibes of ‘Sweet Vibration’, to the funky ‘Wise Up’ and beyond, each track stands up to the closest inspection. Personal highlights for me were the aforementioned ‘Wise Up’, the piano driven ballad ‘Another Day’ and the smooth, smoky groove of ‘Under Your Spell’, however every track here is worth repeated listens.

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