Soul music is dusting off its feathers and taking front and centre in Australia, amen. Amidst the clearing haze, one musician you need to keep your eye on is Maya, she's leading the charge for young female artists to embrace their inner rhythm and blues.
If you love expressive and fierce vocals, warm melodies and just that lil' bit of sassy funk, then head on down to one of Maya's upcoming gigs in Melbourne. You'll be greeted with all of the above plus more.
MAYA SHOW DATES Fri 2 SEP | THE EVELYN, MELBOURNE VIC Tickets available fro evelynhotel.com.au
Sat 17 SEP | ATHENAEUM THEATRE, MELBOURNE VIC (with Jim Steinman)
Tell me about your new film clip Sinners. It was actually really hard (to make). It was fun, but it was hard! If you met me in person, then you'd understand. It's such a different me.
I recorded it last year (in Hollywood Hills), I went over there and met these two guys, and Shelley Segal (and the guys) wrote this song together in a day and the next day I recorded it in the studio. So, it was a really strange writing process that I am not used to! More of like, a collaboration.
We sat down and one of the writers Shane, said, "what are you feeling today?" I really like my songs to be personal to myself, I really don't like writing about things I don't feel. So he was like, "if you really want to feel the lyrics, then tell me what is going on in your mind".
I had just broken up with my boyfriend, that is why it is such a strong song – I was coming out of that. I wanted to create a love song that wasn't a typical love song.
Working with Shelley Segal to launch her image. Yes, she went through a rebrand as well. I think Sinners is a bit of a darker brand than what I am going for. The big hair and stuff, the semi-hippy vibe is where I am at!
There are a couple of shots in there that are a bit more me, like the shots with the pink jacket that I put in there to kind of introduce my aesthetic.
Paris Cat and all things jazz.
I played there in April (2016) for the first time, and that was unreal. I came from doing very bluesy, organic gigs, so coming into bigger shows was good, but there is such a beautiful aesthetic in putting friends and family in a small room and just connecting with people on that intimate level. So Paris Cat is beautiful for that, there is such a nice energy in the room.
I am going to continue to do the jazz shows, as I want them to be a way to get to know a really intimate side of me, my music and the people I play with. It's a very small atmosphere, so you get to look and understand us all as a band – to really feel what I am trying to pursue, what I am as a musician.
The live shows at the Evelyn will be much more of a showcase, I'll be much more like ... just brand mode, and fun mode, and out there crazy big shows! Paris (Cat) is nice because it is just raw and real.
After doing The Voice and after coming out of so much understanding about this world (music), it is still about a show, being a fierce brand and having a strong product. And, you can have that with being real as well – so that is what I am trying to do, to show people you can be strong and fierce but still be real about it.
Expectations when you're a female artist. I get that 100%. But it's crazy, because I used to be on the other side my whole life. I really, really, really, felt like such a reject. It's really interesting. Because I was overweight, and then I lost weight and I got to see a different side of people.
It showed me a strength that can come from just your own willpower. And I think honestly, people are so afraid of rejection and so afraid of putting themselves out there. And, I kind of just want to show if you just put yourself out there and you are strong and project happiness … it doesn't matter.
I'm kind of trying to take a person that has been bull … not bullied, but, beauty is not what you think it is. It is the strength you get from life ... I don't know.
How do you cope and manage? (on & off stage). I just take it like fun, I guess. I try to. I am a real over-stressor. Yeah, really!
My whole family are like chill, enjoy life. And I think I try and do it like that, anytime I try and be like a bit different, I bring that onto the stage. Like Beyonce did with Sasha Fierce!
Now anyone can have a go and be someone else in a way as well. It is so important to be true to your morals and your beliefs, which I do. But, I think you can always change up your life, spread yourself in different ways and what is what I want to do with my music – have that understanding.
Projects for the rest of the year. Well, I am recording my EP at the moment and that's where ALL of it is.
Sinners was very collaborative – a much more poppier sound than I think I am, and I am about to release a rework that I did not so long ago. And, I am really excited to release that because it is much more my sound now.
The EP is everything to me, and I have been just working on that and getting that perfect. And then next year, just releasing that and that will be really exciting because that is where the message is and my true feelings are.
You'e with True Music in the States, do you want to build that market?
Well, my dad is American, and I love America. I love the people and I love the energy and excitement. And you know, I almost think it is somewhat, in a way, it is semi-easier to make it in America, because everyone loves you in America. In a way.
In Australia it is much more,, it is like, "I need you to be cool", so you try and push it, try and make it where you are from with the people around you. Like, I would love, love, love if I could be really respected in Australia. But there is a smaller market here, for jazz and there is not as much rootsy, families here.
Like in America, everyone loves jazz and stuff – they have grown up on that sound. Whereas in Australia, I don't know - there is not as big a market for that sound. People don't go out as much to see a band, families don't go hey, let's go see a band.
How do you think we can shift that? In our shows. We gotta bring it back. I think musicians are getting lazy in their show aesthetic and it is time, and it is what I want to do. It is time to connect with people, through graphics, through theatre, through excitement, have people go wooh … that was fun! You can't get that on the internet.
There is all this destruction in the world and everyone is going on this path of what do we do? We've gotta build these spaces for each other and just come and say you know what, stuff it! Let's dance and be real and just enjoy it.
There is a lot of people out there like me, we are trying to put out the same energy. We all just gotta keep pushing, it is the ones that give up - y'know?! People really are accepting in different ways too I've found. I've been travelling through Istanbul, then Europe and America, people accept different things.
I am going to try SO HARD (to make this happen), I think there is a beauty around accepting where you are from.I can come from Melbourne and I can be this weird person – because I want to and that is okay!