Toronto singer Maylee Todd has the free spirit of Yoko Ono, the body of a Solid Gold dancer and a powerful yet vulnerable voice that would have clinched Berry Gordy’s affections in Motown’s heyday.
The irreverent musician oscillates wildly between eras and genres, from soul to electro and bossa nova to pop. (Her solo work—2010’s Choose Your Own Adventure and last spring’s Escapology—landed her the opening spot during the German leg of fellow free spirit Janelle Monáe’s tour.)
Despite her own busy touring schedule, the 32-year-old found time to team up with Dan Werb of electronic outfit Woodhands to form Ark Analog. “It started when Dan came to me with a tune, ‘Victory,’ already produced and arranged. I wrote the melody lines, harmonies and lyrics,” she says. They have since become more democratic, each contributing equally to the songwriting process; their first independently released EP, Dirty Power, is set to drop in January.
It’s a mystery as to what hairstyle or flamboyant outfit Todd may wear onstage for upcoming shows: her ’do changes near-weekly (anything from blonde extensions to rainbow hair), while her closet is a Todd family affair, with her mother’s hand-me-downs and items from her sister’s label, Leilanni, alongside Etsy finds and cyber-punk pieces from designer (and friend and backup dancer) Jay Aragoza.
Todd, who is half-Filipino, likens this eclecticism to halo-halo, the jumbled dessert of her mother’s homeland, and says her outfits and musical output channel different aspects of herself: “Colours, textures and the mixing of patterns are all part of the process.”
[mp3j track=”https://www.flare.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Ark-Analog-Late-Night-Love.mp3″ title=”Listen: Ark Analog – Late Night Love”]