With the struggles of quarantine and self-isolation only becoming more serious by the day, arranging an interview proved challenging. However, using the power of modern technology, I was able to have a chat with the University of Nottingham’s very own Maya Zara.
With her first single No Love achieving over 4,000 streams since its release on the 6th of December on Spotify alone, Maya Zara proves to be a promising upcoming artist on the R&B/Pop scene. Having taken inspiration from artists such as Jorja Smith, Ella Mai and Mabel, Maya Zara managed to produce a track which, whilst showcasing Maya’s powerful vocal abilities, is a perfect addition to any relaxation and chill playlists you may have created for your time procrastinating in your bedroom.
"Obviously if someone says ‘you’re pretty’ it’s really nice but when someone compliments your music it’s more of a compliment to my personality and the real me."
After being asked why these artists are of such great inspiration, Maya replied ‘For one, they all have a similar relaxed vibe, despite their musical styles being so different, which is a vibe I always seem to come back to in the music I listen to. They’re also very cool, strong, influential young women’. Stars like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Mabel have been dominating the charts in recent years with mighty pop ballads such as Thank U, Next (Grande) and Don’t Call Me Up (Mabel), and so it is no surprise that these youthful, independent, singer-songwriters are role-models for the next generation of female artists.
Talking about why she wanted to enter the music industry, Maya stated ‘As cliché as it is, it’s all I ever wanted to do; I’ve always wanted to be a singer’. She also highlighted an important point for any young, female artists out there – ‘Obviously if someone says ‘you’re pretty’ it’s really nice but when someone compliments your music it’s more of a compliment to my personality and the real me. I know what music does for me and if I can do that for other people then it’s really nice’.
Maya also confessed to a slightly more obscure musical inspiration, though likely a common one for many women in our generation, and reveals her lyric-writing roots – ‘Funny story, when I was in Year 4, I created a Hannah Montana fan club which you had to audition for. Obviously, no one auditioned; it was just me and my two mates, but the audition had to be a performance of a song that you had written and because it was around Christmas time, I made them write a Christmas song. I made badges and everything. So I’ve always wanted to create my own songs since a young age’.
"I know what music does for me and if I can do that for other people then it’s really nice."
Whilst Maya writes all of her own lyrics, the production side of things is left to another talent – ‘I owe everything to do with the production of No Love to my amazing producer James Letta. He’s genuinely one of the most talented people I’ve ever met’. On her first experience of music production, Maya explained ‘I imagine my experience was similar to loads of new artists who are just trying for the first time. It’s unlikely that you’re going to go into a massive high-tech studio and produce something, especially nowadays where home studios are so common, so you have the ability to make songs in your bedroom’. This is definitely the case as, whatever your opinion of No Love, it can be agreed that the single certainly has a professional sound to it.
Maya also noted how amazing it was to have the ability to collaborate with other artists across the globe, obviously referencing Pierce Ripanti, who was the feature on No Love despite being based in Delaware, USA, over 3,500 miles away from Maya and James based in Nottingham.
For those who were a fan of the single, the future is looking bright. Maya has revealed that an EP is currently in the works and recording should begin once the issues surrounding COVID-19 dissipate. ‘It’s actually nice to have this time during quarantine, usually when I was recording it would take me a while to figure out what I wanted my voice to do on the mic, but with all this time I can start thinking about that now as I write. Hopefully over summer and later months I can get all of that finished so the EP should be out late this year’.