Special thanks to @Hannah_Lynette
Maya Day and Nightclub has quickly made a splash in Scottsdale’s nightlife scene as the new go-to spot for epic pool parties that feature a string of DJ’s with beats that bring down the house. The club made a refreshing change of pace Thursday, June 6, by hosting a night of Yoga and musical performances that benefited ‘A Life Story Foundation,’ helping find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Hundreds of yogis lined up their mats around Maya’s pool, creating a serene oasis of tranquility – with cocktails, of course. The evening opened with Anton Mackey and Desiree Lapre as they lead an hour-long yoga practice to the sounds of DJ H3LLA. Cali-native and local favorite, Kelley James, took the stage shortly after. The singer rapper-guitarist, who has become best known for his freestyle raps on topics of the audience’s choice (in this case yoga and beer) put on his usual stellar show that brought the audience off their mats and to their feet. The typical bearded, reggae, beat-boxer, Matisyahu, came on stage clean-shaven, looking like he just stepped off the set of a GQ shoot and gave an intimate, soul shaking acoustic performance that completed the night. If you’re wondering how yoga, cocktails, and music mesh together, look to the earto-ear grins that remain plastered on the attendees’ faces days after. That’s enough to rave success and all for a good cause.
We caught up with Kelley James after his set to talk music, life, and yoga. Here’s what he had to say.
AFM: You’re from Cali, what brought you to Phoenix?
Kelley: I’ve be here four years playing at the W hotel, they brought me in when I was in college and I started touring and playing for all these fraternities and sororities and this was my first regular thing where I could just route through Phoenix once a month. We got to play some of our most fun shows but the important part is I got to work on so much my live show over at the W. So it was this cool training ground where I could do back to back nights, two different sets and just work on my live show.
AFM: How does it feel to be the first live concert performer at Maya?
Kelley: Maya is obviously the same people as at the W, so it’s great. I’ve always been treated so well here.
AFM: When did you realize that you could rap?
Kelley: I grew up in Northern California, so hip-hop was always on the radio. As kids, we didn’t think of it as this new music, per say. We thought everybody listened to it. Looking back on it, it hadn’t really hit the Midwest yet and definitely not the south. So early 90s we were listening to hip hop music and the Bay area had this crazy scene with the syncopation of the words and everything is something that I always listened to but I also played guitar. So I’d have a Snoop Dog CD in then I’d put on Dave Matthews and that is what I thought was normal. Nirvana & NWA. So when I was in high school, I just started making up songs while playing guitar, you know, when I’d see a hot girl… Or when I was at a party, I’d play for all my boys.
AFM: Does that work on the ladies?
Kelley: Only once.
AFM: What did you sing her?
Kelley: Something like, “oh baby baby, oh” by Justin Bieber.
AFM: So you were the hit of most parties?
Kelley: The sad reality of it is I’m the one playing like this love song and all my boys are with the girls that when I’m finished playing, it’s like…. What! I get no love. It happened so much.
AFM: Speaking of love…?
Kelley: I’m married. I finally got love!
AFM: Congratulations! Do you remember your lyrics after a freestyle or… do you just blackout?
Kelley: Absolutely. My mind is going so fast that literally as soon as you say it, you push it out and it’s on to the next thing. People always make fun of me, like the Old School thing with Will Farrell, when he answers in the debate. All of a sudden he has this brilliant answer then, “what happened, I blacked out.” So for the most part, it is like a blackout situation.
AFM: Pertaining to Yoga, do you practice?
Kelley: When I’m home, in like my space of perfection: Wake up, surf in the morning, write music, eat vegan all day, do yoga and watch a movie at night. Like that is my end game. That will be my life at some point. So if I could do Yoga everyday, I would. It would be my only workout.
AFM: What’s your favorite pose?
Kelley: I like the hip opens a lot. They are just crazy. My buddy just opened a hot yoga studio in Hermosa and so I like Hot Yoga. I’ll put any fitness person up to a hot yoga session with a real instructor that will push you. I don’t know if anything is harder than that.
AFM: So let me put you on the spot. If you could make up your own yoga pose, what would you call it and can you demonstrate it for me?
Kelley: It would be the air guitar. Wait, no… actually ‘The Slash.’ Remember how Slash used to do his guitar solos?
AFM: I don’t…
Kelley: Well when you get back, you need to YouTube 1991 Guns and Roses and it would be like this (put his guitar in the air) and then go into tree pose.
AFM: Last, can I get a free style about how the event went tonight?
Back in a random room what’s this hallway?
Now they put me on the spot, what am I gunna say?
Free style about yoga, its not really cool,
Now I’m going to say some dumb stuff act like a fool.
Plus I have to keep it PG,
Oh you see,
We’re here at Maya, is that good enough?
See I don’t really know what you want me to plug,
But I’m trying to show your magazine and every body love,
Can I get some free juice for my damn cleanse
Shout out to kaleidoscope yeah it depends.
If you’re gunna print that they better get me some
But u know how I’m doing, I do it just for fun.
So thanks for listening, here to me.
Shout out to all my people in AZ.