Contemplative and soulful, MAYA is back with a powerful new single What We Are Worth, a meaningful song that pleads with the listener to look inwards and understand just how much they are worth to this world. It’s the perfect follow-up to her equally provocative previous single What After Now, released on October 27. MAYA will be celebrating the release with a launch show at Melbourne’s iconic The Night Cat on December 1.
Mark Moray – Maya, I must say that your look is so striking, so if you don’t mind me asking, what is your cultural background and how much of your upbringing has help you develop into the artist you are today?
Maya – Thank you! I don’t mind you asking at all as my background has had a huge influence on my music. I am African-Native American, Austrian and Australian. My father is a musician from New York, big blues rock man and my grandmother was born in Poland and came to live in Australia after she survived Auschwitz. My father has done nothing but prep me to be where I am today, we would jam every time I saw him when I was younger and still play together now. I couldn’t be more grateful to have their wisdom and strength in my blood.
MM – You have noted your influences as Amy Winehouse, Adele, Jimi Hendrix, Alicia Keys, Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, that certainly is a great mix of musical styles and genres, so how challenging is it to then decide on particular sound for a song, when your catalogue is so diverse?
Maya – Yes I definitely listen to a lot of different genres, this makes it hard for me to box my exact genre yet I try and use elements from all of these artists. I honestly believe my music will keep changing as I do but hopefully I can just call it all ‘soul’ and people will still enjoy all the different levels. These artists all have quite diverse sounds from album to album too, good music is just timeless.
MM – You auditioned successfully and sang on the Australian version of “The Voice” in 2013 – Did that experience give you a true perspective of what the music industry is all about, or does it give a false sense of what is really needed to achieve success as a musician?
Maya – The Voice was fun and incredibly insightful. I feel like I was a bit naive going into it and now am so much more aware of the intensity of being published in someone else’s hands. It was a bit of a shock how much of the show you don’t see and I have never looked at ‘reality’ TV in the same way. Yet while saying that, without The Voice I would never have been signed and have some of the contacts I now have. So it was incredible exposure and I am glad I did that instead of going to uni haha.
MM – New York seems to be your current place of residence at the moment, so how different is the music scene in New York compared to that of Melbourne’s’?
Maya – The music scene in New York is huge! There are so many people striving and hustling for their music. It’s very inspiring but I must say we have some incredible talent in Australia and as much as New York is another level, some of our musicians are really just as good if not better. I couldn’t be prouder our music scene and even in New York I still am always missing and supporting my Melbourne talents.
MM – Your song ‘What we are worth’ sends a strong message about respecting oneself and the planet that we live in. Was this written out of frustration on how you see life, from personal experience or from both?
Maya – Yes it was written from both. I have a very strong view towards how we treat our earth and I try not to be too preachy in my music but I really feel like if we don’t start taking care of our surroundings it’s inevitable that it will destroy us. That is if we don’t destroy each other before then… On a lighter note, I do always just want to send the right message in my music, to make people respect each other most of all.
MM – With social media being a wonderful tool to be able to share your music worldwide, do you find that you are now being heard in countries that you never imagined it would, and if so, which country or countries are they, and has their culture helped you explore a new element to your repertoire?
Maya – This is very true and I’m extremely grateful even though I am not the biggest lover of constantly having to publish myself. It has been a great way to get into a few sneaky places – like, I have some fans rolling in Scotland. It’s really great it just takes one person to share my music then it keeps growing in that area. I can’t wait to be able to one day tour over there and visit them.
MM – I believe, you met up with Lisa Fischer while in LA. What was it like to meet one of the most recognised back up singers from the Rolling Stones? – (Rolling Stones- Gimme Shelter Live (Amsterdam 1995) feat. Lisa Fisher – 2min 45sec – still sends shivers up my spine.) Did Lisa give any advise on being a singer and on touring?
Maya – Lisa Fischer was honestly one of the best singers I have ever seen in my life. I met her after a very intimate gig in LA. She was so humble that she hung around afterwards and hugged everyone. She told me that I had a light and am something special with a very promising future, so to hear that from her after I basically cried her whole set was one of my best moments of my career. She is breathtaking still now, if not more so than when she sung with Rolling Stones. She has perfected her live show and the musicians that joined her were also incredible. I am so grateful I got to see her.
MM – You will be playing at Ferdydurke – Melbourne 30th Nov, and
the Nightcat in Fitzroy – Dec 1st, how important will it be to return home and play in front of family, friends and many enduring fans?
Maya – Yes! My Ferdy show is now December 7th, and I am over the moon excited. Especially for The Night Cat. I have put so much effort into that gig, hiring circus tents, featuring designers, artists, dancers and incredible supports Tanya George, YEO and DJ Sarah. This gig is most likely going to be my biggest yet and I haven’t stopped being excited since I organised it. My shows are my favourite part of my career; I hope that one day they will grow into a peace movement.
What We Are Worth will be available from October 27.
MAYA ‘WHAT WE ARE WORTH’ LAUNCH SHOW
THUR DECEMBER 7 | FERDYDURKE, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
FRI DECEMBER 1 | THE NIGHT CAT, FITZROY VIC | 18+
Tickets available from www.thenightcat.com.au