The annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, now in its ninth year, will take place at Spring LEAF Retreat, in Black Mountain, N.C., on Saturday, May 13, 2023. Eight singer-songwriters have been selected from across the country to showcase, compete, and network at the competition.
MAISCÉU (Lenoir, NC)
MaisCéu is the brainchild of Jimmie Griffith, a musician who hails from the mountains of Minas Gerais, Brazil. His music is a fusion of American and Brazilian musical traditions, reflecting his upbringing steeped in both cultures.
Inspired by the Blue Ridge mountains and the “Mares e Morros” of Minas Gerais, MaisCeu’s unique sound, featuring heartfelt Portuguese lyrics, is a reflection of his deep love for the outdoors and his passion for bending music genres. With an authentic and soulful approach to his craft, MaisCeu’s music speaks to the heart and soul of his listeners, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of his childhood home and the rich musical traditions that have shaped him.
NewSong Music: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Jimmie Griffith: The music itself borrows heavily from the music from my home state of Minas Gerais, Brazil (Clube da Esquina). The guitar harmonies, vocal melodies, and lyrics are very heartfelt and evokes a feeling akin to sunshine right after a rainstorm.
What is the first album you bought, and why?
Dori Caymmi — Tome Conta de Meu Filho. This album was the soundtrack for a documentary on Dorival Caymmi who I was obsessed with in my early teens. Dorival was a great songwriter and storyteller who told stories about the lives of the fishermen and the beautiful state of Bahia, Brazil. He was way ahead of his time musically and heavily inspired musicians from the Bossa Nova era and beyond.
What is one influence on your music that might surprise us?
Jamiroquai, the first three albums are still in heavy rotation at my house.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am looking for collaborators! My dream project would be to play with musicians that are well versed in old-time music but also other genres in order to seamlessly weave and blend NC (North Carolina) with MG (Minas Gerais, Brazil).