An Interview with Maya

– Interview by Dariya Salmin

Congratulations on the release of your debut single Sinners which was released on August the 5th, what’s the reception been like so far?
It’s been really good! It’s been really positive. I’ve had a whole bunch of people be excited by the release and the originality of the song and I’m really happy!

Yeah it’s a really great song! What was the writing process like? You worked with the Smash Bros team (Cheryl Cole, Cee Lo Green, Flo Rider) and an Australian singer/songwriter called Shelley Segal (Carl Cox, Adam Levy, Josh Abrahams)?
Yeah it was really good! The boys are really great to work with and they just captured – they made hook lines that I really don’t think I would have ever been able to achieve on my own so I loved that, I thought that was really fun.

Definitely! And so what was the process like for you? And what is the song about?
Well I had a lot of input because I like to kind of deal – well I wrote the song obviously, so majority of the lyrics were my kind of calling and it was just basically that I had just come out of a relationship where I found that I felt like I was doing so much wrong, and then at the end it kind of twisted and I found out things about my partner that he was doing that he had made me feel bad about the whole time. So it was this real wanting to create a hypocritical kind of theme going on, feeling played but also being a player so it’s a best of both worlds song. So it was hard to get that across, because that’s basically what I said to the boys, after going into making it and then I think we tackled down those words and put them into the lyrics of Sinners.

So with the video clip, it’s very artistic, dark and seductive, so obviously that’s a reflective of what you’re talking about now, but how did the process for the video clip go down?
It was quite a similar thing; I just sat down with Zach (Zachary McSweeny – Deja, Maribelle, All The Colours) the guy who made it, and just really tried to conceptualise my thoughts and I wanted to make something that was dark and sensual and seedy without really being too dark myself, hence all the fog scenes and the masked guys – we wanted to use them to represent sexual desire and the temptations that came from boys but they were kind of faceless because I didn’t feel anything for them, they were just bodies. So that was where that came through. And all of the pulling down scene that was meant to be the temptations of life pulling me down but me kind of fighting it, so we really wanted to use imagery to express my feeling.

Yeah I can see that, it looks really aesthetically pleasing and very professional for a debut single!
Thanks! Yeah I was actually surprised, I mean we wanted to do that, we didn’t want to go too hard into it and have it come out looking not professional; we really tried so I’m happy you think that.

So you’ve got three shows to celebrate the release. The first one was on July 29th, at the Paris Cat in Melbourne, then you’ve got a show coming up at The Evelyn September 2nd and Anthenaeum theatre Sep 17th, how did the first show go?
The first show was unreal we sold out and it was just such a beautiful vibe, I really love Paris Cat’s feel and to see everyone and really connect in a small room was un-real. But The Evelyn will be great because I’m putting a lot of effort into show aesthetic, I’ve got dancers, we’ve got so many feature acts and I’m going to make a slide show this afternoon actually so I’m really putting in effort  to make it as big as I possibly can.

That’s so exciting! So you just came back from recording sessions in Hollywood Hills, what was that experience like?
That was unreal, just working with people who have worked with such incredible musicians and hearing their thoughts on how to produce my music and just experiencing that life over there [laughs]. It’s really great! They’re such crazy fun people in America, they love music and they love the energy behind it so it was so beautiful seeing that.

So obviously this is your debut single, but what’s your musical journey been like before this? Have you always lived in Melbourne? Was music a big part of your childhood?
Yeah my dad’s a musician and he was born in New York and lived there until I was born. So my mum went to New York and met him, brought him back here and he basically influenced all of my musical learning with just incredible musicians and I just played blues with him when I was a kid. So I’ve been performing since I was very young and I’ve been in the music industry for a while but I’ve really just known one way and that’s just to feel it and I’ve only known jazz and blues and I’ve really just played. So it’s been really amazing coming into – I did The Voice as well which was interesting [laughs]

Oh OK, I didn’t know that!
Yeah and that was a time, I’ve really just been popping into a lot of fields since I was a kid and meeting and working with incredible people. So it’s been beautiful to come to this time of exposing myself.

Yeah definitely, how was your experience on The Voice?
That was great! I mean it was such great exposure and such great learning into the tools and the strength that you have to have in this industry and the branding you have to know and everything like that. But yeah it was really great – it was really fun!

Yeah and I guess it helps when you’re first starting out and you learn how it all works, it’s like a whole other world!
It is, look it really is! You really don’t know these things until you get to them, which is why I’m so happy that I went through doing a lot of shows and doing The Voice before I came out as my own singer because it just means I have more of an understanding of what I want to be and not for what everyone else expects of me.

So who would you say your musical influences and idols are then?
I’m so stuck in the past, I really am! I like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, The Beatles and Pink Floyd but I’m really loving some musicians now at the moment, I’m really loving some Triple J artists like I’ve been listening to a lot of Meg Mac, I’ve been listening to a lot of Disclosure. Just trying to broaden my hearing and broaden my influences.

Do you mainly perform around Melbourne, or have you spent some time travelling around and performing?
Yeah I’ve been doing Melbourne mostly, but I just went traveling last year when I was in America and did a Europe trip which I did more for leisure but I ended up just kind of having a couple of drinks and harassing a lot of guitarists to let me sing so I performed in various venues in Europe and Berlin and Istanbul. I just got back from Queensland as well, I was just supporting Emily Wurramura and she was unreal. I did a show in Perth and I did a show in Brisbane and yeah that was really great, being out there is beautiful.

Awesome! And so what does the future hold for you now? Do you have an EP coming out?
Yep I’m in hibernating just doing my EP and working with this guy’s house who I just recorded the rework of Sinners which is out now too. And it’s just all EP I’m just putting all of my love and energy into this so that hopefully once that’s done that will be a real clear indicator of my sound and what I’m excited to show you all.

Any ball park of when it will be out?
I’m hoping to release another single by the end of the year but I think it’s going to be smart to go with an end of January/February release, the holidays are over and everyone’s back, so I think I’ll wait. As much as it might be done before then I’ll just hold out and probably release end of January.

That’s so exciting!
Yeah it’s a long while to wait but everyone always says ‘don’t rush your art’ so I’m excited for that and it’s going to be fun! So Sinner’s rework for now and they say ‘don’t talk too much about the future.’ But I’m really really excited!

Definitely! Well looking forward to the next single and hopefully we will get to see you perform in Perth again sometime soon!
Absolutely, I would adore that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *