EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Maris

18-year-old singer/songwriter Maris had her world transformed last year when she stumbled on an open-call audition for a hit YouTube series Postmodern Jukebox. Fast forward just 12 months, millions of views, Carnegie Hall performance, and an American Idol TV audition, Maris is no longer just a small-town Montana girl with a beautiful voice.

She is now living in Brooklyn and has just released her new new single ‘Boys’. Here we speak exclusively to Maris about American Idol, 2017, ‘Boys’ and more;

Last year was big year for you, how would you sum up the last 12 months?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have so many kind, wonderful, generous people in my life. And those who weren’t that way have either been kicked out by me or left on their own, and I’m grateful for that as well. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I’m mostly focused on what is ahead. I’m proud of the art I made last year, and I’m more proud of the art I am going to be making! 

Growing up, who inspired your love of music?
My mother was the first one to ever sing to me, when I was really young and as I was a baby. My older sister also used to make me mixtapes with songs she downloaded, and since she moved with my mom when my mom and dad got divorced, those mixtapes were sometimes the only friend I had. I think really my love for music spawns from truly finding solace in it, before I knew what that was. 

Can you remember your earliest musical memory?
I remember vaguely my mom singing, “You Are My Sunshine,” to me, trying to get me to fall asleep. I also remember sitting in front of the TV watching Barney and humming along- I still remember that melody.

Who are your all time musical heroes?
That’s a big thing to award to someone. I would say definitely Amy Winehouse for going against the grain with her sound and being as abrasive and honest as she wanted to be. I also really think older jazz singers, Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Donny Hathaway, Tony Bennett, etc. The bands I listened to are the Eagles, Rolling Stones, One Direction, etc. 

What was it like performing at Carnegie Hall?
It was absolutely incredible, I’m so honored to have had the opportunity and it’ll always be something I reference as one of my highest accomplishments. 

You’ve also auditioned for American Idol, how would you describe your experience?
It was a huge learning process, in which I discovered I’m just not cut out or maybe I’m too boring for TV. I do wish the criticism I got would’ve been more constructive, but overall it was an honor to be asked to audition and a great learning experience. 

What’s the inspiration behind your new single ‘Boys’?
I really just wanted a song that would bring me comfort when I was questioning my sexuality and feeling ashamed of liking who I liked. I wanted a song for bisexuals too that wasn’t sexual or sad. Queer people deserve the same uplifting, rom-com love songs that straight people get. 

Do you have any touring plans lined up for this year?
I WISH. Hopefully those kinds of plans will be coming together soon.

Will you be releasing an album soon?
I have an EP coming out very shortly, I’m very excited. I don’t wanna jinx it with an exact date, but February for sure.

What are your career goals?
I just want to make a living off of art that I’m proud of. Working with who I want, making music in the style I want, standing up for what I believe in. That’s the dream for me.

Make sure you follow Maris on Twitter @meofthesea to keep up to date with all her latest music and tour news!

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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