Brendan: Hey everyone. Brendan the blind guy here. Today I'm lucky enough to speak to the very powerful and dazzling Maya.
How are you, Maya?
Maya: I'm doing great. How are you?
Brendan: I'm very well, thank you. Very well. Always love talking to great musicians like yourself.
Maya: Thank you very much. Love having a chat with you today.
Brendan: Oh, yeah, very lucky for me. Okay, so you've recently released you new single, ‘What We Are Worth’, and my first reaction of it was, wow, what a stunning, powerful voice and thought-provoking song. So, kind of run me through the story and the making behind it.
Maya: Alright, well, I wrote the song, actually quite a while ago. I work shopped with this one guy and then I just kind of left it for a while. And then Rob Atwood who's made this track we sat down together and just really thought about what energy we wanted from the [inaudible] and the vocals. Yes, wanted to create something a little bit crazy, a little bit different, that has strong dynamics and something that people just wouldn't expect. It didn't stay in the same line. It was just, yeah, I think we kind of achieved that in a way because the song is just so, yeah so up and down. It's just funny.
Brendan: Yeah cool so what's the story behind the song?
Maya: Basically just to kind of ... It was a conversation with myself mostly. In the verses you can kind of hear I'm just being a bit more honest with how I feel. And then the chorus kind of just asks where do we go from here? Meaning what do we do? We all know that we need to change. We all know that the environment is shutting down on us but we're just not changing. So that's kind of been the main thing, is like look where do we go? We need to move in the right direction.
Brendan: Yes, wow. That's a lot better than the conversations and the questions I usually ask myself. Very more in depth.
Maya: It just gets silly I mean hey. I don't want to put people down ever so I wanted to make the song still have a way that they didn't feel like I was just saying you need a change because it wasn't meant to be like that. It was just to kind of infuse the right message subtly.
Brendan: It's very thought provoking yes.
Maya: That's my mission.
Brendan: Yes. The music and your vocals are both very powerful that match it. Well done. And so how do you think your song writing approach and story has kind of changed from your first single?
Maya: Well, I think now I'm just trying to be really real. I want to make music that still has electronic elements. I feel like that works a lot with the new age listeners. But I still want my music just to be real. I want to feel the emotion in my vocals. The first time I recorded this song I didn't feel that. This time I really like said, "That's it lets strip it down. Give it that honesty." That's probably where my writing has changed a bit.
Brendan: Yeah oh, wow. That's great. So, I know today you're being very busy and flying off to New York some time today.
Maya: Right now I'm just standing at my gate.
Brendan: Oh wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat before you jump on the plane.
Maya: Oh no its much better than just being here so its good.
Brendan: Very true.
Maya: I'm very excited. I'm going over there to record more music so that's going to be fun.
Brendan: I was going to ask. When I was stalking, I mean reading your Facebook posts I saw you're spending nine hours a day in a studio for two weeks. What's the project happening there?
Maya: I've been lucky enough to kind of meet this beautiful chick Rebecca and her and I are going to be working together on creating an EP. And yeah, basically I've got two and a half weeks almost to just finish it all. I've never done anything like this before I've always really wrote with people and then kind of sat with them and finished it with them. This is going to be an exciting project for sure. She's an incredible writer. I feel very honoured to have her want to work with me. So I kind of just got on a plane and see you later.
Brendan: Yeah very nice. Kind of any excuse to go on a holiday too.
Maya: Yes, even though Melbourne is just becoming beautiful now.
Brendan: Yep yep nice, okay so I noticed that you've got two shows coming up at the end of November to celebrate your new single-
Brendan: -So for people that are lucky enough to go to one of those shows, which unfortunately I'm not because I'm stuck in Sydney, unfortunately. For people that are lucky enough to go along to one or both of those shows, kind of what can they expect at those shows from your live performance?
Maya: Well they can expect a lot of theatrics. I'm going very big with this show. I've booked dancers. I've actually got a fashion walk happening and I've had some designers come in and get involved. I've got incredible DJs and support acts from Yeo, DJ to Tanya George supporting. It's going to be a massive event. I really love performing. That's my favourite part of my career. So that's the part where I feel like I really get to let it all out. Yeah so I invite everyone. If they can come to my shows. That's probably where I'm most free, yes. So much fun.
Brendan: Wow. You'll have dancers and theatrics and everything kind of reminds me of Ellie Goulding or Alice Cooper. I know a bit of one extreme to another there. Wow.
Maya: It's my dream to kind of do a festival. I've actually got tents in The Night Cat. The Night Cat show is on the first of December and I'm putting in circus tents and we're going to have a whole ... I'm trying to incorporate music, art and everything all in one so without it actually being labelled as a festival. See how I go. I have my aspirations.
Brendan: Cool, good luck with that.
Maya: Thank you.
Brendan: I'm really wishing I could come along to it now.
Maya: There will be more. There will be more. I'm just going to keep growing these events. I just kind of want to bring people together who believe they ... Who have insecurities with stuff they feel like they don't need to. For some reason they kind of attract that energy. Out there to the listeners, if you feel like you just need some soul? - come.
Brendan: Yeah nice. Cool. So I read that you did some collaborations with producers like Haxx and Jan, lets see if I can pronounce this, Skubiszewski.
Maya: I couldn't even comment on that pronunciation to be honest. I don't want to say it wrong in case he ever hears this. But yeah I have been working with them.
Brendan: Yeah nice. So kind of run me though the projects and the kind of behind the scenes of kind of one what it was like working with them and two what did you actually work on?
Maya: Working with them both was actually now a bit of time ago. We were working on ... I did a single with Jan called ‘Falling’. Its just been amazing to work with these people because they're really talented, they're really credible. Everyone has a different energy that they bring to the music. So yeah its been great.
Brendan: Yeah nice. So what kind of inspires your song writing? As I said before your voice is very powerful and dynamic and really catches peoples ears. It definitely did for me and I'm very picky when it comes to music. As soon as I listened to your voice it was like oh wow. Was not expecting such a powerful voice. So and also the music, you use lots of raw elements, lots of instruments as well as being electronic and kind of I really love how you tie together lots of different genres like soul, jazz, blues, R and B, electronic, pop and everything like that. So what kind of inspires the awesome song writing?
Maya: Well my father raised me with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix. He raised me on all these different genres. I think I just can't leave that. I love electric guitar when it's from Metallica mixed with like baselines [inaudible 00:09:06]. I can think of different things in each genre that make people feel good. You shouldn't have to be confined to one sound I don't think to be a successful musician. It definitely helps to target it to a certain fan base. For me at the moment with this EP I just went all over the place. With the single too. You'll hear the rest of the EP that all of the songs have underlying features of the same stuff but most of them are pretty spread out in their sound. I don't know I just love it. I love a bit of everything. I love to not have people expect to hear the same thing from me all the time.
Brendan: Yeah well, no one wants to hear the exact same thing over and over and over again. So yeah I think you've got a really good successful approach to it so yeah.
Maya: Thanks I really appreciate that. Because its hard. I mean it’s much easier sometimes to just do one sound but yeah we'll see how it goes.
Brendan: No definitely keep trying-
Maya: Just testing a bit of everything.
Brendan: Yeah well definitely keep mixing things up and trying new things.
Maya: Great to have your support.
Brendan: Yeah, no worries. So you've mentioned your father there and early life and your father bringing you up with music and everything. So kind of run me through how your musical upbringing. What it was like growing up with a musical father?
Maya: I think I really thank my situation every day. It's so supportive. He's infused it into me since I was a child. Now I can just jam and things come into my head just naturally. I don't have to overthink music because its been in my head space since I was a child. That, I would never give that up for anything. Yeah, he's definitely one of my biggest inspirations my dad. He’s been through so much coming from New York in the 70s, yeah he’s been through a lot.
Brendan: Yeah wow, I've read that you've got African American heritage, the Hungarian and Australian. That's a pretty awesome mix. That's great. You've been naturally musical your whole life. I know I'm kind of stumbling across my words a little bit I've had to have an extra coffee still before mid day today.
Maya: [Laughs] Aw you've got to break it. I'm actually very excited because I'm on my second. I got really lucky in my heritage because when I was younger I was a bit confused. I'm Jewish and black so its kind of this weird thing. I think, I don’t know, it put something in my voice for sure. I think the tone of different countries comes through. That sounds weird but only now I kind of really figuring things out there.
Brendan: Yes, definitely makes sense don't worry yeah. So far what's been the kind of highlight for you. I know you said you love performing but what's kind of been the pinnacle of your career that makes you go wow this is just the highlight it gives me the euphoric tingles all over?
Maya: Oh wow, probably just ... Yeah it would have to be ... It's a hard one because it's always going to be my show. I just love it. Its an understandable feeling when people feel that energy in the room. Also just I guess working with different musicians and I have such incredible people now that I'm surrounded by in Melbourne. The music scene is just growing and growing. We're all really close. I think having that unity between us all is just ... I feel like I'm just happy. This is success to me. Having these friendships and these connections.
Brendan: Yeah nice that's great.
Maya: The music network.
Brendan: Yes, I love it that's great. You didn't do an answer like oh yes it's all about the money and the fame that's the highlight.
Maya: No, those are the hard parts. That's the stress.
Brendan: Yes, that actually brings me to my next part. So, what's been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Maya: Social media. I can answer that easily. It stresses me out dreadfully. It's a very competitive world. You have to be constantly on it to succeed and I'm just so much more of a people person than a picture person if that makes sense?
Brendan: Mmm [Affirmative]
Maya: That's been a tough one. Just trying to tackle that by myself. Its very anxiety causing.
Brendan: Yeah I can imagine.
Maya: Yeah, that's alright I'm getting over it. I think people are realising that your photos are not what shapes you hopefully. Maybe not the younger generation but I think ... Yeah, I have hope.
Brendan: Yeah that's great. You've got the right attitude and you've got the talent so don't let that stop you.
Maya: I'm trying. Some part of me wishes I was born into late 60s and I could have just been ... [laughs]. But also I'm so grateful for social media in so many ways because it just makes it reach out to so many more people, you're able to do things that you could just never do without labels and management so I'm very happy for that side.
Brendan: Yeah okay, so I've got two more questions. I love asking this question. This brings out some really funny answers with some people I've interviewed.
Brendan: Yeah, get prepared because.. So far out of the journey you've had up to date. What's been that one thought that comes to mind when I say hilarious WTF moment where you just go oh my god?
Maya: [laughs] Oh wow. That is hard. Okay, it's not that funny but I used to ... I still do. I host these live jams. Make noise do a bit of a swing and a hit and miss sort of thing, but I get people up and they just sing and I don't know the people. I got this chick up once and she would not get off the stage and she was just screaming James Brown for like half an hour. Really awkward. She was so ... She needed it. She said please let me keep going and it was a moment of awkwardness. I maybe stuffing up some-one’s wedding. I've done a few little creepy shameful things along the way. Yeah, I don't want to mention that.
Brendan: That's the first one that comes to mind where a girl just stole the stage and you're like well okay go for it.
Maya: She was ... Oh off her head. On something beyond alcohol and just in another world. It was like top of her lungs screaming. I was like whoa. Yeah that was great, that was something else.
Brendan: Well yep, that definitely fits the criteria of WTF kind of wow.
Maya: Reincarnation James Brown.
Brendan: So finally, you're off to New York to record some new songs and I think I noticed that is it called the Future Soul Project?
Brendan: Okay well yeah so kind of to wrap everything up what can we expect from you in the near future in projects to look forward to?
Maya: Wow, I've got this Future Soul EP coming out December first. Now I'm about to start recording the next lot of music, so that will come out probably mid next year. But in summer, I'm actually going to be releasing a lot of little cheeky things. A lot of little clips. I've got some great collaborations coming up. Yeah, I've been really in lockdown over the last two years kind of figuring out who I want to be and now it's come, so get ready for some good music and some good vibes.
Brendan: Awesome, lots of exciting stuff to look forward to. Can't wait.
Maya: Yay, I'm excited as well. Also, just yeah, I think people over think. That's my biggest message to my fans and followers is just to enjoy it now. When it comes to a gig.. Well lets see.
Brendan: Nice. Unfortunately that's all we've got time for today. Now I can keep chatting all day. I'm an absolute chatterbox. But, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you Maya and good luck in New York and I can’t wait to hear more music and hopefully see you out on stage some time in the near future.
Maya: Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed chatting and yes hopefully speak to you again soon.
Brendan: Yeah definitely. Thanks so much and catch you soon.
Maya: Thanks bye.