Though she isn't yet a household name at home, Toronto musician Maylee Todd is a big hit in Japan with her funk soul album Escapology, released in late April.
Two of Todd's songs have landed her on the Tokio Hot 100 chart — a Japanese equivalent to North America's Billboard charts — including her successful track Baby’s Got It. She’s heading back there for a club gig in June.
Japanese fans seem to enjoy her fashion sensibility and quirky music videos, Todd told CBC’s Q cultural affairs show.
It was "a surprise for me," she said of her overseas success, adding that her music seems to have tapped into a soul revival in Japan’s underground music scene.
"I went to Tokyo just for a vacation and I knew I was going to do a bit of press there. I got a lot of interviews and they’d play my records right beside Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake."
Todd is the child of a creative family: her grandfather was an escape artist, her father is an Elvis impersonator and her mother a seamstress and designer of clothing, she told Q. She first received critical acclaim for her first album, Choose Your Own Adventure, which offered a wry and whimsical take on folk, bossa nova, and soul.
This year, she’s reintroducing herself to western audiences with a series of jazz festival dates, including Jazz Winnipeg on June 15-16, the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 26 and the Ottawa Jazz Festival on June 28.