She's living the dream in Victoria but Maureen Washington will be back in real life for a Thursday night show at Art Space.
"I want to show Prince George what wonderful musicians I get to work with, so I thought I should bring the boys with me for the show," said Washington. "I'm excited because all three of them are world class musicians."
Her Boys, Washington's entourage [as she calls them], includes Karel Roessingh on piano, Joey Smith on bass, and Damian Graham, on drums and percussion.
"They are Vancouver Island's top jazz musicians so I'm excited to bring that kind of talent home with me," she added. "I want to say 'here, look who I get to work with!'"
The Prince George show is part of a mini B.C. tour and includes an appearance at Vancouver's The Cellar Jazz Club April 25 and Hermann's Jazz Club in Victoria May 5.
"I'll step one big toe into the Vancouver pool and so many people always ask me to come home and do another show so I couldn't resist," said Maureen. "I've got a great fan base in Prince George and built one up in Victoria and now we need to move little by little across the country and let people know that mama's on the loose! So this is a test run for me to see what it's like to manage and put together a tour and find out how it looks and how it functions."
Washington grew up in Prince George and about five years ago moved to Victoria to further her music career. Once she moved there and did some Internet networking, she was asked to do a commercial to promote Victoria's downtown businesses and she was invited to be part of a show that featured jazz divas.
"In the commercial I was the singer and the fake guitar player," Washington laughed.
Then she performed at Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria for the Ladies of Jazz Diva Show in 2008.
Just last year, she won a fan-vote based Monday Magazine M award for best jazz and blues vocalist or group. So she's definitely enjoyed successes because of her move and does between five and eight shows a month.
"I don't profess myself to be a jazz and blues singer because in all honesty I am a story teller -- that's a better description," said Washington. "I still cry through my songs because it moves me to a deeper level and I'm always going to tell you the story and sometimes I get so emotionally wrapped up in a song. These are the stories that I want to tell you because they've tingled me in some way and I want to share that with you."
An example of one those songs that just gets to Washington is Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
"That song has a real connection for me," said Washington. "The lyrics reflect the adventure I'm on, coming to Victoria from Prince George is Somewhere Over The Rainbow and that's me living my big dream."
Maureen Washington and Her Boys take the stage Thursday at 8 p.m. at Art Space, above Books & Co., 1685 Third Avenue. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door, with a cash bar. Tickets at Books & Co or online https://www.regimojo.com/registrations/54/forms.