María Luisa Ramsey (born March 21, 1969), better known mononymously as Jaya, is a Filipino soul music singer, rapper, dancer, record producer, presenter, and actress of mixed Filipino and Jamaican descent. She is a contract artist of GMA Artist Center. She is the first Filipino recording artist to chart in the United States, as her debut single "If You Leave Me Now" peaked at 44 at the Billboard Hot 100 chart. María Luisa Ramsey was born on March 21, 1969 in Manila, Philippines. Her mother is Elizabeth Ramsay, a Filipino comedienne and singer of Jamaican descent. Ramsey's father is Ray Kagahastian, a Filipino. Her parents separated when she was young, while her father migrated in the United States. He now resides in Alberta, Canada. She started in show business at the age of ten as a backup dancer for her mother. At 13, Ramsey became the undefeated champion in the GMA-7 noontime variety show, Student Canteen, and joined the Opera House. She began performing solo in 1982, using the name Louise Ramsey. The young Louise did not finish high school in the Philippines because of her busy lifestyle as a child performer. She nonetheless managed to receive high marks and was once elected class president. Her mother Elizabeth decided to leave for the United States in June 1985, and brought Louise with her. There she continued her solo singing stints, performing with other Overseas Filipino artists like Tillie Moreno, Eddie Mercado, Lerma dela Cruz, and the duo Reycards.