SOA is the jazz project of Toronto-based French vocalist Chrystelle Maechler.

Chrystelle is a soulful songstress and poetic lyricist in a contemporary jazz vein.

SOA stands for Simple. Organic. Airy – an acronym that perfectly describes the beguiling sound of the project as SOA’s basis comprises the unorthodox combination of piano, percussion and voice.

SOA is a tribute to Chrystelle’s origins as it is a word meaning precious in the Malagasy language of Madagascar, the birthplace of Chrystelle’s parents.

History of SOA

The idea of SOA sprang to life in 2010 when Chrystelle was keen to explore a new musical direction, something minimalist in which each of the instruments including the voice had enough space to express themselves. She recruited pianist Eric St-Jean and percussionist Moise Yawo Matey to the cause.

The first performance in March 2010, then under the name PERCU JAZZ, showed that the combination of elegant jazz piano with an organic and tribal percussion sound united around one voice was a potent and crowd-pleasing one.

Chrystelle and her musicians honed their sound with Montreal club gigs then started collaborating on original compositions.

In December 2011, SOA recorded their debut EP “A new life” in the legendary Studio Victor in Montreal. This recording resulted in a raw and authentic representation of SOA’s sound.

Upon its release in March 2012, the album received a warm welcome on the Montreal scene.

In early 2014, upon relocating to Toronto, Chrystelle has been working with new musicians: Toronto-based jazz pianists Joel Visentin, Thompson Thompson Egbo Egbo as well as the young and promising percussionist Sarah Thawer.

Since 2015, the transformed SOA has been writing and recording a full-length album at noted Toronto studio Cherry Beach Sound and a second stint at Jazzanova Studio in Berlin during their first European tour in the summer of 2015.

The upcoming self-produced eight-song album Reflections planned to be released in March 2016 will feature a mix of SOA’s originals and fresh interpretations of outside material.