What is your name and role within the band?
Maiah Manser. Singer/songwriter/composer/knit picker.
How did you start?
I started singing and performing when I was 4, but I didn’t start singing in bands until I was 19 which were primarily jazz and soul.
Where are you based?
I am now based in Los Angeles, but spent the last 7 years honing my craft and developing in Seattle.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
One of my songs, “Sweet Hell” came to me in an odd dream of a beautiful naked woman singing the melody directly to me. I woke with a start at 3am and went out and recorded the melody into my phone. The next day, I wrote the entire song. (haha) That’s an unusual method though. I usually try to keep it fresh and new each time that I write, but what I’ve recently been doing is finding a chord progression that I love and discovering what melody hooks me. From there I develop words to a chorus, which feels like. I make sure to write very bluntly how I am feeling without pause and in my doing so, I haven’t been able to really hate any of my songs since. I had an ex tell me a few years ago that he thought I wasn’t saying what I really meant. Maybe one of the only profitable pieces that came out of that relationship (haha), but it has stuck with me to this day and changed my songwriting process forever.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on playing more shows and already started working on producing new songs about 6 months ago. Finding the right production takes me awhile, but it is the greatest gift when you can create the right moment.
What is your gear setup?
Playing solo, it’s just me, a keyboard and an electro harmonix 45000 vocal loop pedal. When I have the band, it’s me, my loop pedal, an analog synth keyboardist, and a drummer equipped with a electronic drum pad.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I love to do visual art and dance. I don’t have a lot of time for it these days, but I try to squeeze it in whenever I can. Growing up, visual art was close in line with music, but now I’ve found solace in drawing and painting. When I get overwhelmed, I can find peace in a pencil and a pad of paper or a contemporary dance class and I’m very thankful for that.
How would you describe your music genre?
My genre has been described as pop noir, but recently, for maybe the first time in my songwriting career I’ve been able to write happier sounding songs. It’s amazing how environment can affect, change and develop your work.
Do you know any music theory?
I’m a complete music theory nerd. I went to Cornish College of the Arts for a couple years and studied in the jazz program. Knowing theory at first made it feel like a part of the magic was taken away, but now I fully embrace it and it’s given me the opportunity to understand many more instruments across the board.
What are your plans for the future?
To keep being able to make music and having so much fun going in a little more of a pop route!
How did you get into music?
It’s always been impossible for me to take naps, so when I was 4, during nap time I would sometimes terrorize the other kids around me, trying to keep them awake. Somehow the teachers discovered I could sing and would take me around to other classes and I would perform during nap time instead. When I was 6, I won a talent show singing “Edelweiss” and then I knew that music was what I wanted to do. No one in my family was musical, except for my grandmother and mother singing me to sleep, so I got a lot of ridicule and disbelief from my family on what I wanted to do. I remember when I was 8 that I started telling them: I’m going to be a professional harmony vocalist for a pop star, learn as much as I can and then through that, I’m going to develop my own career. I did just that.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Basically only Kendrick Lamar.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Heavy question. Fiona Apple, TLC, The Little Mermaid, Nina Simone and Celine Dion.
When are you playing next?
I’m playing NYC on June 1st at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and again in NYC on June 12th at Berlin.