It seemed like time was on Castlemaine’s Maya Rose’s side in this classic comeback story. In 2013 she threw her name in the hat of the Castlemaine Battle of the Bands heat (a rite of passage for most musicians) for her announcement into the world of music. Instead of throwing in the towel after not placing, a freshly graduated 18 year old Rose returned to take out the title in 2017, as well as coming runner-up in the FReeZA Push Start: Northern Country Regional series the same year, launching her career as an emerging artist to watch in the R&B, pop space. Fast forward to this year and the songstress has been working with major Melbourne music producers, Jerome Farah (KIAN, Baker Boy, Dallas Woods) and Aman Bayatly (AMVN, Adrian Eagle), on her debut single ‘See You Again’ and soon to be launched EP, ‘Time’.
“I wrote most of the songs over quite a large period of time and each song represents a different time in my life or about time in the past or time in the future or time thinking about different chapters in my life,” explains Rose of the album concepts and fitting name.
Fusing soulful vocals, ballad-driven piano, pounding R&B beats and lively jazz, ‘Time’ encompasses periods of music from yesteryear, from ‘90’s urban R&B to ‘70’s soul.
“I think it really represents my musicianship well because there is a feature of piano on each of them. I’ve been playing piano most of my life and then started songwriting when I was 14, so I think there is a feature of the piano, but also moving lyrics and my soulful vocals as well, and getting those other instrumental parts from the two producers and from the musicians that featured on it from the saxophone, the strings, a drum and bass. It was a big project to bring together and I had specific ideas for each song to be unique in their own way with the different sounds. I think it’s very heavily influenced by soul and ‘90’s R&B but still has the contemporary feel of what you’re listening to at the moment in pop.”
Lauryn Hill, SWV (Sisters With Voices), Mary J Blige all make rank in Rose’s acknowledgements along with artists from her parent’s collections including Stevie Wonder and Sade who bring the funk freshness.
“They’ve got a world sound to them, with jazz incorporated into them,” she says. “There’s something about soul music and funk that hits me in my core and I can’t ignore it. It just connects to me.”
Bringing that sound to 2019, Rose used arguably the biggest voice in the R&B pop space, Ariana Grande, and her 10th best selling record of 2016, ‘Dangerous Woman’, as a reference point in the studio with Farah, citing her unique blend of R&B and pop, crisp production with producer Tommy Brown and soaring vocals as the key players. Further, she extends that inspiration from their shared idols, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, for their unparallel abilities and their pathway for strong female representation in the industry.
“I think it’s really important for women to not only be known for their looks or the way they move around on stage but be appreciated for their vocals and their songwriting and their musicianship as well,” Rose says.
Maya Rose will be launching her ‘Time’ in style across three intimate shows, playing the EP in full with a band and supported by Bendigo jazz duo, Strawberry Jam.
Catch her at The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine, Friday 2 August; The Gasometer Melbourne, Saturday 10 August and Handle Bar Bendigo, Saturday 24 August.
Written by Tammy Walters