We caught up with Seattle-based burgeoning singer Maiah Manser ahead of the release of her new single “Second Skin” to speak about how she got into music, her creative process and the music industry’s “mood swings”.
Maiah has had an explosive 2016 so far, collaborating on tracks with Manatee Commune & IG88; composed & produced a 15-minute piece for Los Angeles dance group The TL Collective, performed at the Bumbershoot Festival and recently toured around the West-Coast. Keep your eyes peeled for Maiah Manser’s upcoming releases as she has been making a name for herself as one of the brightest up-and-coming artists.
Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What inspired you to start?
I’m an artist, and have been involved in music for as long as I can remember. Could I say that I started producing in high school when my choir teacher showed me how to navigate Garage Band? Yeah, I’ll say that. I had always written and incessantly made up my own little songs, and even taught myself how to play a little piano. I was and still am always inspired to find a new outlet within music.
Music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music? How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?
Of course. Anyone who says otherwise would be lying. I feel confident saying that every artist goes through the “just give up” head spins. Whether it be from rejection or financial high stress levels met with bursts of extreme adrenaline, the music business is nothing but mood swings. I can’t say that I will never feel that I want to give up again, but my main focus is to stay as genuine of an artist as possible within my lyrics and musical content. When I commit to what I am doing so fully, even when I feel low, I know that I am giving my life the best possible gift I can. Further to that, the fans. They keep me going every damn day.
How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction or separately? Where does the inspiration come from?
I write all of my own lyrics, chord progressions and harmonies, initially. I open myself up to change within the arrangement and further chordal development in production, but I usually stay pretty true to the song I created sitting down at my piano. A few years ago, I had someone tell me that I wasn’t saying what I really wanted to say with my lyrics. As soon as I could understand that, I felt like my life was forever changed artistically. Say what you mean, otherwise you’re doing your listeners and yourself a disservice.
What’s your favorite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?
I would have to say that the next track to be released after ‘Second Skin’ is my favorite. It’s called ‘Top Of My Lungs’. We worked so long on that piece and sent it through 5 different arrangements before we found the one. I am very proud of that track and feel as though I will be inspired to perform it for years to come. As for who am I listening to? I am primarily listening to a lot of hip hop, RnB and rap right now (Beyonce, Rihanna, Vince Staples, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, NAO, etc). Nothing else seems to inspire me like listening to those styles of music. It has a back bone. It has reality and honesty. If not that, then it’s classic rock or blues.
What’s next for you?
Next up is to finish releasing materials for “Second Skin” and to release the other 2 singles from the EP in early 2017. I’ve already started working on the debut album though.