Since winning Swallow Hill Music’s Young Songwriters Competition last spring, Maya Bennett has started playing more shows up and down the Front Range. Maya also released her debut album, More of Less and has shared the stage with established songwriters Wendy Woo and Michele Castro.
If that wasn’t enough, she also found time to get her drivers license and continues to evolve as a songwriter.
We caught up with Maya ahead of her Thursday, April 13 show in Quinlan Cafe to learn more about how she got into performing, upcoming projects, and how she’d define her sound.
See Maya Bennett in Quinlan Cafe on Thursday, April 13. Get tickets and full event details here.
You won Swallow Hill Music’s Young Songwriters Competition in 2016. How have you evolved as a songwriter and a performer since then?
Since the wonderful experience I had at Swallow Hill last May, I have completely evolved as a songwriter. Around that time, I was about to release my first album, More of Less and that whole process really made me think hard about where I wanted to go next with my music.
Many things about my life have changed since then as well, as I got my drivers licence, which doesn’t seem like much. But that independence has really allowed me to get know myself more intimately and fully, as well as experience much more than I would have ever been able to in the past. I have also been listening to a wider variety of music, and I think that has shown in my own songwriting style.
Your bio says you started performing live at the age of 12. What inspired you to start performing and writing songs at such a young age?
I actually first learned the guitar because there was a talent show at my school at a local theater, and the opportunity enticed me. I only learned the three chords that were in the “Of Monsters and Men” song that I chose, and worked on it for about a month. When the night finally came, I was intoxicated by a love for performing that I knew deep down I could never do anything else! I’m so much more than addicted now.
You recently shared the stage at a Songwriters in the Round event – as part of the Athena Project’s Women in the Arts Festival – in Tuft Theatre at Swallow Hill Music with Wendy Woo and Michele Castro. What was that experience like for you? Did you feel a kinship of sorts with them despite being in different places in your songwriting and performing careers?
The Athena Project Festival experience was incredible! I really loved how we all create different styles and I have such different story’s to tell. Even though each of us came from different backgrounds, we all shared one thing, our love for music, and it is such a powerful, connecting force.
Your sound has a timeless folk meets the blues quality, how did you arrive at that sound?
I just kept making music and listening to music and watching music and breathing music, and that folksy-bluesy stuff is what came out. I feel like every time I write a new song, that description changes a little. Who knows, I may be describing my music as “Death Metal” a year from now. Currently, I like to call it “Sad Screamo Folk,” but that may be just me.
Your debut album, More Of Less was released last year, what are you planning for a follow-up? Or is it too early to tell?
I am, in fact a just recently recorded the first song on the new project in the Swallow Hill studio! This next project is sort of a concept album, and this time I decided to take my time on it, really pick it apart and mold it to be exactly how I am envisioning it. I will say that there will be a lot of local collaboration. More info to come, but be on the look out because I am incredibly excited to see where it goes.
This Q&A was conducted via email with Swallow Hill Music Marketing Manager Barry Osborne.