The Glow of Maya B: Get to Know the Diamond Behind the Art

Photos by Julien Carr

Photos by Julien Carr

Without a doubt Maya B is dreaming out loud. Upon inking on the dotted line with Capitol Records, Maya begins in a voyage with the release of her latest creation “Dollar To A Diamond” and the start of a ten city tour with Atlanta songstresses Summer Walker and Janiyah.

As the stars illuminated the night, the lights danced upon the streets…reflecting a colorful impression amongst us. Chicago is the second city stop of the ‘Girls Need Love’ tour; a large crowd of concertgoers began to pour into the corridors of Metro with the vast anticipation(s) of experiencing a night filled with dope music and memories. Moments before the (sold out) performance, we drifted amid the crowd and caught up with Maya B to (candidly) rap about what inspires the woman behind the music, her aspirations as an artist and presence of mind as a creative being.

Did you get to enjoy the city yet?

MB: No. I literally got off the plane, went straight to sound check and got dressed... but I like what I see so far. This place is super tight. I think that we’re gonna go to Harold’s (Chicken Shack) later...I’m excited.

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Are you inspired by the places you’ve been and do you infuse that in your art and your music?

MB: I was born and raised in LA. I haven’t been to a lot of places, so this tour is going to be really interesting for me. I’ve only been to Texas, Arizona, New York... in New York I was working so I didn’t get to look around. It’s going to be interesting and hopefully I have more time to look around... I know I will for sure in NY. Even tonight is a perfect night to walk around the city.

Of course it’s inspiring because other people exist besides myself. That’s one thing I try to keep in mind...it’s weird because you have streaming and social media where you see people everyday from the other side of the world and it doesn’t click that we’re so far from each other... it’s crazy that we’re talking right now.

What are a few of your favorite places that have inspired your art--- I know you mentioned LA...how much of the city do your incorporate in your art in terms of the energy, the vibes and what you know?

MB: A lot. It’s all I really know. Besides that New York has really inspired me. I went on a writing trip to Copenhagen in Denmark and that was inspiring. It broadened my horizons… it was my first time out of the country. I think that did something to me.

As your presence continues to grow, where are a few places you aspire to perform at?

MB: Madison Square [Garden], of course. One because I’m obsessed with New York… It’s one of my favorite places. Definitely Madison Square and I’m checking one of with Bowery. The one thing that’s really cool about this tour is that I’m going to places that I’ve haven’t even thought about…like Washington [D.C]. I’ve thought about here [Chicago] and Atlanta. I thought about all of places but, I’m like okay this is tight let’s do it. I think I’ll have a different favorite by the end of the tour.

As an artist and creative being...What do you seek to attain or accomplish through your music?

MB: I want people to feel like they belong to something. It doesn’t have to be me or my music...And they don’t have to be a fan of mine but, when someone listens to something of mine I want them to feel. The power of music can bring us to a moment in time or a place or remind us of a person, I want my music to do that for people. Help them forget that they’re standing in a crowd. I feel like I’m doing my job when someone is listening to my song and thinking about their life instead of mine...that’s what I aspire to do.

Your artistry and talent is multi-layered/ dimensional. You play multiple instruments, write and produce. Where do you find the most comfort...creating music or performing?

MB: Creating for sure. I was just talking about this earlier, I feel that I’m a {way} better {song} writer than I am anything else. It’s my comfort zone, it’s my only outlet, it was first love. Performing and producing is always incredible and it’s always going to be dear to me but, it’s  {a lot} more fun for me to sit down, write a record and dive into myself, get lost, get mad, frustrated and feel all kinds of shit when it’s just me in the room. I love doing that.

Innovative beings such as yourself have the gift and ability to capture people through your artistic expressions. What inspires the woman behind the art?

MB: Mmm…Tragedy. To be {completely} real I’m a big loner because in my childhood there are a lot of things that happened and I had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable all the time. So I think now that I’m older, I found myself gravitating and staying in my own world all the time. {Because I’m like okay} I have control of my life now. Now I can make decision and then I just find myself cutting people out...It’s a blessing and a curse because I have a lot of time to introspect and write but also in order to write music you have to have experiences. So I’m finding the balance.

You’re getting ready to pour your art out on stage every night, what fuels you to step on to the stage? What’s keeping you balanced throughout the journey so far?

MB: Everyone other than myself. One thing that keeps me in the moment is the fact that it’s going to be someone’s first time hearing a record… I always think about that. This is someone’s first time hearing this song, so I have to stay true to the song. If I get in my emotions or whatever the fuck I’m feeling, I’m going to fuck it up… I have to stay in that moment and I’m still not perfect with that but I try to tell myself that.

What can the crowd look forward to when you step out on the stage tonight? What are you gonna release into the air and what do you expect to receive back?

MB: Some good energy. It’s my first time here...I’m excited to look at new beautiful human beings and play some unreleased music. It’s also going to be exciting to see how people react to the new music I’m going to be performing tonight.

Maya B’s latest single “Dollar To A Diamond” is out now on Spotify and Apple Music. Music videos, tour dates and more can be found at MayaBsound.com.

This story featured additional contributions from Lauren Kruis.