Maria Luisa Ramsey, better known as Jaya, was born in Manila on March 21, 1969. The Filipina soul singer, who is of Afro-Jamaican descent, is the daughter of singer and comedienne Elizabeth Ramsey.
When she was 10, Jaya started her showbiz career as a back-up dancer to her mom. Soon, she started giving solo performances. Because of her singing, Jaya was not able to finish her schooling, and did not get further than high school. In 1985, Jaya went to the U.S. with her mom. She continued her singing even there and performed with other Filipino artists such as Eddie Mercado, Tillie Moreno and the Reycards. Jaya stayed in different cities in the U.S.
In February 1989, the singer signed a record deal with LMR Records and recorded her self-titled debut album. The album gave Jaya the chance to work with famous artists such as James Ingram, Milli Vanilli and MC Hammer. One of the album’s singles, “If You Leave Me Now,” was produced and co-written by Stevie B. It became a big hit in the dance club circuit, and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Jaya spent the next several years performing for the Filipino community in California. In 1995, Jaya did an opening act for a concert in the U.S., which featured artists such as Carmen Soriano and Pilita Corales. It was Pilita who noticed Jaya’s immense potential, and asked the young singer to come back to the Philippines and do an album. Jaya agreed and recorded her first local album under Viva Records in March 1995.
Jaya’s biggest break came when she joined the 1996 Metropop Song Festival. She won first place for her interpretation of the song “Sometimes You Just Know”. This was followed by a Best Interpreter Award at the 1997 Asia Song Festival. Soon, Jaya’s songs were heard regularly on the radio.
The singer eventually became an artist of GMA Network, and became a judge for the talent search show Pinoy Pop Superstar. In 2007, Jaya released another album, Cool Change.
Jaya is currently one of the mainstays of the weekly variety show SOP, and a host of the hit game show All Star K! She is happily married to Gary Gotidoc, and they are proud parents to a beautiful daughter, Sabriya.
- Jaya (US Album 1989)
- Jaya (Philippine Album 1996) (Octuple Platinum Record)
- In The Raw (Quadruple Platinum Record) (1997)
- Kung Kailan Pasko (Gold Record) (1998)
- A Love Album (Japan Released)
- Honesty (Gold Record) (1999)
- Five: Greatest Hits (Platinum Record) (2000)
- Unleashed (2001)
- Fall In Love Again (2005)
- Cool Change (Double Platinum Record) (2007)