Listening to the sounds of singer-songwriter Markeisha Ensley is like indulging in a rich, flourless chocolate cake while drinking a well-aged, red wine. She combines piano-playing flair with smooth soul, her mellifluous voice soaring over unforgettable melodies. Originally from Aurora, Colorado, she is the winner of the 2011 Abe Olman Scholarship Award for Excellence in Songwriting from the Songwriters Hall of Fame/Songwriters Guild of America, with previous recipients including John Legend. A cross between Alicia Keys and Anita Baker, Markeisha strikes an uplifting groove and graces the stage with a powerful, undeniable presence.
As a child, Markeisha began her love affair with music when singing in her hometown Baptist church choir. While gospel music laid the foundation, she was also heavily influenced by her parents’ record collection with Aretha, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Carole King and Linda Ronstadt on heavy rotation. Markeisha studied piano and began writing poetry while in high school, but it was the many nights spent writing songs in the school’s practice rooms while attending New York University that sent Markeisha down the road to singer-songwriter land. “I developed my own sanctuary and no matter what was going on in my life, I could sit behind a piano and sing and know everything was alright.”
Since releasing her debut album, Ready, in 2006, Markeisha has received numerous awards and honors. Two songs from that cd, “The Strangest Thing” and “Loving You”, received an Honorable Mention in the Billboard World Songwriting Contest. Markeisha was also recognized by BMI/Songwriters Association of Washington, where she was asked to perform at the Smithsonian Museum alongside legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier (“Stop! In the Name of Love”). She has toured throughout the country, appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo”, and recently completed a residency performing in St. Barth’s.
As an actress, Markeisha is a member of Actor’s Equity and was nominated for an AUDELCO Award for her lead role in the musical Jamaica. She is a graduate of the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC and has appeared in Caroline, or Change at the Gallery Players and Chess in Concert featuring Josh Groban, among others.
Currently residing in NYC, Markeisha is also a proud member of LIFEBeat’s Hearts and Voices Program, bringing the healing power of music to people living with HIV/AIDS. She is currently planning her 2013 European tour.
Markeisha Ensley – Vocals/Piano