Baraka (rhymes with Erica) May is a studio singer for some of the world’s finest composers and performers. She has sung behind artists such as Celine Dion, Pharrell, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Jennifer Hudson, Josh Groban, and Muse and has been featured on stages all over the world, from the Hollywood Bowl to the Tokyo International Forum.
With seven musical siblings, a mother in voiceover, a father in jazz and film music, an active church-singing regimen, and rigorous classical piano training, it was easy for Baraka to spot the career she wanted early on. Her passion for singing was coupled by an immense joy in shifting her voice into the many styles she was surrounded by.
In the past eight years of working in the music industry, Baraka's voice can be heard in over 300 major motion pictures, tv episodes, video games, commercials, and albums, including La La Land, Frozen II, Star Trek Beyond, The Lion King, Jurassic World, Finding Dory, Coco, The Voice, and The Tonight Show. A-List film composers including Danny Elfman, John Powell, Hans Zimmer, and Michael Giacchino have enlisted her talents singing everything from belted gospel to ethereal soprano to child-like character voices.
Baraka joined the beloved Star Wars universe as a soloist in Solo: A Star Wars Story, providing the bizarre Huttese singing voice of lounge singer, Chanteuse. Her haunting rendition of Dolly Parton's "Little Sparrow" is featured on the Pretty Little Liars episode, Along Comes Mary. Baraka has provided several solos and celebrity impressions in Family Guy, including Taylor Swift, Sia, Juice Newton, Sarah McLachlan, Zooey Deschanel, and Madonna. She became the singing voice of lead character, Moxy, in the PBS kids show, Mack and Moxy, midway through its first season. Baraka played a paramount role in the smash hit, La La Land, which she worked on extensively over the course of two years demoing original material fresh from Pasek and Paul, providing solos for on-screen characters, and singing choral/score vocals. She joined the Frozen family as a soloist on Olaf's Frozen Adventure and sang featured vocals on Disney Pixar's heartwarming hit, Coco.
In 2015, Baraka shared the stage with Danny Elfman in The Nightmare Before Christmas LIVE performing as lead female character, Sally, in Tokyo, Japan and again as a character soloist for two sold-out performances at the Hollywood Bowl. She has since become a regular featured soloist at the bowl, performing the role of Alana in The Little Mermaid LIVE in both 2016 and 2019. She premiered La La Land LIVE and Beauty and the Beast LIVE as a featured soloist at the Bowl in 2017 and 2018. She has reprised her roles in The Nightmare Before Christmas LIVE each year for multiple sold-out performances with Danny Elfman at the Hollywood Bowl, Barclays Center in New York, and Tokyo International Forum. She made her directorial debut in 2017 as vocal director and vocal coach for Willy Wonka LIVE at the Hollywood Bowl, performing and working one-on-one with artists including Weird Al Yankovic, Elle King, Finn Wolfhard, and Richard Kind.
Baraka's skills as a versatile vocalist and pianist have generated a variety of jobs for her as a soundalike singer, voiceover artist, beat-boxer, music director, arranger, songwriter, and master teacher. A summa cum laude graduate of USC’s Thornton School of Music, she is regularly asked to serve as music director, section leader, and work as a guest clinician within the choral and a cappella community. Her award-winning vocal arrangements have been featured on Oprah and performed nationally by the nation's top show choirs and a cappella groups.
The joy of singing an eclectic mix of styles has made studio work the perfect niche for Baraka's talents. Her background includes classical, pop, jazz, R&B, celebrity impressions, character voices, world music, and musical theater. Whether she is asked to sight-read or improvise, provide a powerful lead solo or blend like butter, sing low Alto or high Soprano, Baraka's passion for singing and level of musicality is evident in her work.