Award-winning urban-jazz pianist Kayla Waters is a chart-topping recording artist, composer, producer and music director. After signing a multi-album record deal with Trippin N’ Rhythm (SONY), Kayla made Billboard history by becoming the first female pianist and composer to reign atop the charts at the No. 1 spot for 6 consecutive weeks. Beautifully composed and eloquently written, Kayla’s sophomore album, "Coevolve" has dazzled the hearts of many and awarded her two Billboard No. 1 singles “Zephyr” and “Full Bloom.” Last year, Kayla’s musical achievements were recognized when she was honored with the Rising Star in Jazz award from the Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Foundation as well as the Best Jazz Artist award at the Wammies in Washington, DC where she is based. This consummate young woman premiered with the Billboard No. 1 single "I Am" from her 2017 debut album, "Apogee.” Both the single and album hit Billboard’s yearend charts, underscoring her remarkable breakout year. The spotlight has humbly created opportunities for Kayla to play and perform with music legends and prominent recording artists, including Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Avery*Sunshine, Maysa Leak, Kim Burse and Ray Chew to name a few. Passionately alluring, Kayla thrives on the stage, having played exhilarating and exuberant sets at intimate venues, illustrious theaters and acclaimed festivals such as the Newport Beach Jazz Festival, Berks Jazz Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, Music City Jazz Festival, Capital Jazz Supercruise and the Algarve Jazz Festival in Portugal. Poised with purpose, the luminous artist shined brightly on national television at BET’s acclaimed “Black Girls Rock” awards show, revealing her tenacity and versatility by performing with legend Gladys Knight, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae and Imani Uzuri. The keyboardist was also invited to be a featured performer at the inaugural Fender Rhodes Fest in Los Angeles alongside a host of music contemporaries.
A classically trained pianist who grew up in a jazz household, Kayla’s parents observed her innate passion for music when as early as 10-months old, "baby Kayla" frequently made her way into the living room and began “playing” the family’s Brentwood piano. Enrolling in piano lessons at the age of six, she instantly fell in love with music and fervently began mastering her gifts. The daughter of urban-jazz saxophonist Kim Waters, Kayla closely observed the inner workings of the music industry by studying and admiring his successful career; it naturally inspired her to pursue her calling as a solo jazz pianist. In addition to being featured on several of her father’s albums, she has performed with him at various concerts and jazz festivals worldwide. These experiences nurtured her creative artistry, serving as preparation for Kayla’s evolution as an emerging artist, composer and producer.
As a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Howard University where she earned a degree in Piano Performance, Kayla credits the institution for her success. Spiritually grounded, she serves as Associate Music Director at Grace Brethren Church in Maryland and delights in the opportunity to share her God-given gifts of music in ministry. Firm in her faith and wholly aware of her unique purpose, Kayla never loses sight of God divinely orchestrating her every move.
"Kayla Waters is just the kind of artist that we in the business yearn for. In the music business there are artists, players, performers, entertainers, writers, producers etc. Some, but few tick all of the above boxes. When you come across those that do, what a treasure. Kayla is one of those who does. I’ve always gotten Kayla. When you hear her music you can feel her spirit loud and clear. Many artists are not blessed with the ability to write compelling songs and lean on producers and outside writers to do so for them and then play on the tracks. It’s very hard to feel them emotionally in the track if the music isn’t coming from within. Kayla delivers in a big way, compelling songs that display for all to consume the intended feel and emotion. Without the benefit of words to a song, instrumentalists have a much harder time conveying an thought or emotion through notes. This is where Kayla excels. As a record label we seek out true artistry and want our people to speak their own truth without our interference, maybe some mild tweaking but want them to tell their own story. In this day of homogenization and artists seeking to make music to fit a specific genre, we sign those that have something unique to say and then determine where to take it. Kayla Waters has that unique voice and her music stands out and gets your attention. She does not seek to blend in but to stand tall and tell her story. Her live performances are an experience, one where you can feel the joy she feels sharing her gift as well as being lifted by her spirit. This young lady is the complete package and it is indeed a privilege to represent true artistry such as hers."
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, TRIPPIN N' RHYTHM RECORDS
“Kayla has a fresh innovative approach to her playing compositions. I know her artistry will continue to be impactful!”
MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE GRAMMY'S, "DANCING WITH THE STARS", "AMERICAN IDOL", AND OTHER MAJOR TELEVISED PRODUCTIONS
“Kayla Waters is one of the most dynamic and expressive young artists I’ve ever met. Her playing and compositions are extraordinarily mature-combining groove, melody, soul and joy in a remarkable way. She’s putting the excitement back into today’s music. On top of that, she is a joy to work with in the studio, confident and self-assured and we will be hearing her work for years to come!!”
GRAMMY AWARD WINNING RECORDING ENGINEER
“Music is my God-given gift and the air I breathe.”