Artist Name: Maya Caskie

Pronouns: She/her

How did you get started in music?

My parents are both piano teachers, so I was passed between both of them for piano lessons as I was growing up. For all of my childhood I listened to them teaching lessons after school and then practising Chopin etudes, Schubert sonatas, Debussy preludes all evening. Film music was also just as appealing. In 2017, I went to a London music college with dreams of becoming a film score composer but got deeply absorbed into song-writing by the end of my first year.

Who are your inspirations?

One of my musical loves since starting at college is a composer called Mica Levi – she wrote the score for Under The Skin (2013) and Jackie (2016) and is also in a band called Micachu & The Shapes. Her scores give me this feeling of being very elemental – she’ll take one sonic idea like buzzing or glissandi or a whistle and play it out into a defining part of the film’s identity.

I also really enjoy Esperanza Spalding and Fiona Apple because they’re both such rich, brilliant and versatile musicians. Their albums have such raw energy in them, they feel weirdly untouched.

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve made music?

This year I spent a lot of time in my family home over lockdown and through a series of events, we (mum, dad, my little brother and my boyfriend) somehow ended up performing over 80 consecutive nights of concerts on the driveway of our home to our neighbours. It started with just an electric keyboard on the driveway, but by mid-July we were routinely bringing out a vocal microphone, guitar, pots and pans, and a miniature toy drum kit we uncovered from the shed (a birthday present from 2006). And then the neighbours from the road started joining in – an ex-military band piccolo-player, a banjo-player/songwriter, my mum’s 9-year-old piano student etc. I had some of the most fun live music experiences on the driveway this summer.

How many instruments do you play?

I play the piano and sing mostly, but I’m slowly learning my way around the guitar. (I also received an ocarina for my birthday that I’m trying to pick up.)

Top tips for any younger musicians reading?

I would say spend good time getting really comfortable on your chosen instrument. The freer you are when playing your instrument, the less you have to compromise on the ideas you want to write and the more “you” your music can be.

Listen to Maya’s feature song Glacier Point” !

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