MAYA ROSE - SINGER/SONGWRITER
I grew up in Castlemaine, Victoria. It was peaceful and creative. Castlemaine is known for its arts community of visual arts, literature, theatre, dance and music. I experienced a lot of this at the Castlemaine State Festivals but also regularly through the dance school I attended and the bands that would come to play at the Theatre Royal.
I grew up listening to Soul and 90’s R&B. My mum is passionate about music from West Africa and the diaspora and shared her vast library of World Music with me. When I was young I would borrow CDs from my local library each week so I heard a lot of different genres of music from all over the world.
In the 1950s, my maternal grandparents wrote songs for revues and records; my great great uncles were in the Rhythm Kings (ABC band from the 1930s). My mum learned piano, and travelled extensively, playing percussion and performing poetry. I was exposed to this throughout my life so the idea of performing was normal. She gave me a keyboard at age 3 and was my first piano teacher; she colour-coded the notes for me on my grandfather’s Casio keyboard. This was a fun way to learn around the age of 5. I took to it very quickly. I believe this may have instilled my love for the keyboard and the way I play today without music in front of me. I went on to have formal lessons but I never didn’t want to play piano. Sometimes I didn’t want to play a particular piece of music I had to learn or practise for my exams but the love of the piano never went away. I stopped having tuition around age 15, the same time I started singing and writing songs. The piano became something different to me – a place to create. My dad also has a love of music and his mum played piano.
Some of the first music I was introduced to as a child was in musicals such as the Sound of Music, Oliver and West Side Story. The first songs that made a huge impact on me around the age of 5 were ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie and ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz. My grandfather was very involved with musical theatre and these were his favourites. It was around the time of his death that I became attached to them. My mum took me to many musical performances, my first major concert being Stevie Wonder in 2008.
The first album I bought was Beyoncé’s Dangerously in Love. As a kid I loved singing in front of the mirror, dancing and acting out the songs of Beyoncé, Lily Allen, Whitney Houston and many more female artists pretending I was like them in the music video or on stage. I still get the same feeling today when I’m listening to a song I love with a great vocal melody and powerful lyrics. Music has always been a way to express myself and connect whether it’s someone else’s song or my own. I don’t think that will ever change.
At the moment I am listening to H.E.R, Mac Ayres, Raveena and Sabrina Claudio.
The first complete song I wrote was called ‘The Sea of Love’ when I was 14. I still think it’s a great song and maybe one day I’ll bring it back to life I don’t play it anymore.
Being a piano player first, I write my songs on the keyboard and bring lyrics to the keys and build from there. Or I’ll sit down at the keyboard and play chords and then add lyrics on top. I usually take a personal experience and turn it into a universal one. My songs can seem very autobiographical but often I’m elaborating to make the songs more relatable to everyone. I’m most creative once the sun goes down. After midnight is even better.
The first song I recorded for the EP was ‘See You Again’ back in 2017. Producer Jerome Farah brought a playful creative energy to the room and we bounced off each other with ideas. I recorded the other three tracks in 2018 with Aman Bayatly. I learnt a lot from him in terms of how a song is produced. There were times when I felt nervous as it was all a new experience but I learnt how to collaborate with others and get my ideas across to the producers. It was a fun experience.
The gig that really stands out for me is the performance I did at Battle of the Bands, Castlemaine heat in 2017 at the Theatre Royal, which I won. The room was full of 500 young teenagers having the time of their lives. There was an electric energy and I played my best because of that. The audience was so loud I could hardly hear myself play. It was good and bad! The audience started to pay more attention at some point and began to sway their arms side to side. It gave me a glimpse into the kind of shows I want to have one day; where people have come to see me, they know the lyrics and sing along with me.
What I do before I go on stage depends on the gig. Sometimes I’ll be chatting to people and sometimes I’ll be sitting quietly waiting for the show to begin.
The highlights of my musical career so far have been winning Battle of the Bands, Castlemaine heat (2017), coming runner-up at Freeza Push Start: Northern Country Regional (2017) and releasing my debut single ‘See You Again’ and music video in April 2019.
I’m excited to see what comes out of my debut EP release. I want to go into the studio and record more of my songs for another EP or album. I want to perform at music festivals around Australia, continue learning about music, collaborate with other artists and expand my ideas and inspiration for more songs.
Advice for other young people wanting to write and record: Listen to lots of different kinds of music. Understand where that music originated from. Tell a story in your lyrics, be personal and universal. Work with people you can trust and understand the vision for your music. Be patient yet persistent. Promote yourself. Believe in yourself. Just do it!
Debut EP & New Single ‘Time’ Available HERE: http://hyperurl.co/t8rj2e
‘TIME’ EP LAUNCH GIG DATES
FRI 2nd AUGUST – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine
SAT 10th AUGUST – The Gasometer Hotel, Upstairs Room, Melbourne 18+
SAT 24TH AUGUST – Handle Bar, Bendigo