Following the release of her first mixtape ‘Her or Him’, which was created with Allergy Kid back in 2016, Maya Law has continued to thrive. Maya has received widespread critical acclaim, from having her songs featured on Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 6 Music, as well as having her work supported by BBC Introducing; she is, without doubt, a rising Norwich talent we should all be proud of. Her strive to be authentic and honest comes through in her impactful lyrics which have previously encompassed her experiences with mental health, as well as her perspective as a queer woman. Combined with her soulful tone, Maya’s lyrics indicate a progressive artist with a grounded and mature outlook on life.
An Interview with Maya Law by Jessica Doran
Now, just in time to uplift our spirits in the midst of a third national lockdown, Maya Law has released her new EP ‘Hitchhiking’. A subtle change from her previously hip-hop inspired style, ‘Hitchhiking’ embodies Maya as a neo-soul artist alongside gentle acoustic sounds. It is a heartfelt song which communicates the feeling of uplifting yourself when times are hard.
We couldn’t wait to speak to Maya about the making of her new EP, her perspective as a female singer songwriter in the music industry, and the direction she would love to take her music…
Hey Maya, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, I really think that you and your music will be very relatable for our student-focused audience.
I was thinking it would be nice to begin by just telling our readers a little bit about your music in general, what is the kind of vibe you are trying to create for listeners?
I think I try and make music that is as authentically ‘me’ as possible and I think that’s what people seem to like about it which is really humbling! If someone listens to my sad songs and find some sort of comfort or reliability in it, I’ve done what I set out to do.
Let’s try and set the scene for your creative space. Where did you write your new EP ‘Hitchhiking’, do you have a certain method when writing?
I actually wrote it close to 2 years ago now, which is really weird to think about! I’d just come out of a long-term and long-distance relationship and it kind of just fell out of me. I didn’t sit down and think “I’m going to write an EP now!” – it was definitely accidental that it came out all together. I think I wrote most of it in my parents living room…
And how have you been finding lockdown? How has it impacted your creativity?
It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions as I think it has been for most people! Lockdown 1 was full of writing for me but 2 and 3 have been a bit more admin-focused and working on the boring bits that surround an EP release. It’s been really nice to have a break from the pressure of constantly creating though, it’s reminded me that I need to take some time out every so often and that making music sometimes is hard work haha.
‘Hitchhiking’ is such a soulful and heartfelt song. I think the metaphor of being lost and looking for direction resonates with a lot of young people, whether that be through experiences of heartbreak, finding your sexuality, dealing with your mental wellbeing, or taking your first ‘adult’ steps in finding a career. This feeling of melancholy is uplifted by the chorus, which advocates hope and independence: “Now I’m hitchhiking, you know that I will always be rising”.
How does this lyric resonate with you personally?
I wrote this track as more of a comfort blanket for me, I wasn’t quite healed yet but it was something I was really looking forward to feeling. I wanted to write something that would remind me that I can get out of feeling sh*t and that I can do it myself, even if I need a bit more time.
And what advice would you give to young people who similarly experience a lack of direction or a feeling of being lost?
I think just don’t panic! Feeling lost as a young person is so normal and doesn’t have to be scary. I think you have to trust that things will work out the way you need them to. Oh, and always trust your gut! It’s right most of the time.
In light of the recent events of last week (the juxtaposition of International women’s day/Mother’s Day with Sarah Everard’s disappearance and the highlighting of police misconduct/assault towards women), what is your stance on using the music industry as a platform to promote and support change?
The recent events have hit me particularly hard; my girlfriend and I have found it quite difficult to process but it’s been so incredible to see people gathering for change and I’m always fully supportive of that. Using the music industry as a platform is so so important, especially giving a platform to those whose voices are quietened. But I think it’s important to understand that not everyone is in a position to do that due to personal or emotional reasons. Whenever and wherever I can, I will.
Who are your favourite female artists to listen to at the moment? Is there an artist whose success is comparable to what you aspire to be like?
At the moment, I’m taking a lot of inspiration from the likes of Gaidaa, Jazmine Sullivan and Cleo Sol. I think there’s been a surge of women killing the game at the moment which has been so great to watch. Women are becoming the face of genre-blurring music, and there’s a certain sensitivity that comes with female writing which is always inspiring for me.
If you could experiment with any kind of music genre what would it be? Is there a musical alter ego you would love to explore one day? Why?
I don’t think I will ever stick to one genre. I started off doing hip-hop ish stuff with Gabriel Gifford and then went on to focus on a more soul orientated style so as long as the writing and the sound feels authentic to me, those changes will continue to grow. Maybe I’ll experiment with some anonymous alter egos in the future but for now I’ll be sticking with whatever comes out of me naturally!
What do you like most about collaborating with other artists? Is there someone who you would love to do a collab with one day?
I think it’s the ‘fresh ear’ that comes with collaborating with people. I get quite precious over my work but working closely with people like Freya Roy and Gabriel Gifford forces you into letting go a little bit and introducing other people’s skillset. Generally, the quality of the work always gets better so it’s been really nice to see that development. I reckon SAULT is my dream collab so hopefully one day I can add that to my list!
What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming months?
I’m probably gonna be taking a little break and doing ‘normal life’ things for a while! But I’ve got a couple of tracks I’m featured on coming out following the EP and hopefully more after that!
Thanks so much for speaking with me today Maya, wishing you the best of luck with your new EP and for any upcoming music. We can’t wait to see what else is in store!
You can buy Maya’s EP ‘Hitchhiking’ on vinyl at https://mayalaw.bandcamp.com/album/hitchhiking?fbclid=IwAR3o4A0qQG-JkUYGC7X8mB3xCI9zVkrbS2n9Fqu71Of4mJsGR6K7dedyrEs
You can also listen to more from Maya Law on her Spotify page: https://open.spotify.com/album/4z5btFEu7iklRrcq9Ig3mV?highlight=spotify:track:1JyvmtmsuFLjsNEFj1hFOt
Feature Image Photo Credit: Freya Roy
An Interview with Maya Law | by Jessica Doran