Maya “Maya” Kuriel is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Seattle, WA, but is now based in Los Angeles, CA. She is of Korean and Israeli descent. Maya’s poppy, melodic beats and honest lyrics have garnered her tremendous traction. She has been featured in various media outlets. Her debut EP, “21 Years to Realize,” was released in May 2021 and has since accumulated over 700,000 streams. Maya’s song, “Bittersweet,” went viral on TikTok, amassing over 2.4 million views. The young songstress is well on her way to becoming a global sensation.
Hi Maya! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
I see a lot of artists just drop their last name. I think it’s classic, and I never truly attempted to explore any other possible stage names because I felt that anything else wouldn’t feel like me.
What city are from and where are you based now?
I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Straight out of high school, I moved to the City of Angels and have lived in L.A. ever since.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I have been singing since I was four years old and started writing songs, in my bedroom, at the age of 16. At the end of 2019, I met my manager and released my debut single, “Intoxicated,” in February of 2020. Shortly after, I released a song called, “Bittersweet,” that went viral on TikTok. That was an experience that validated the thought that I could potentially have a shot in the music industry.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who is defining your sound today? If so, how?
My parents have always been super supportive for my passion in music and singing. As soon as I started writing songs, they put me in a couple professional studio sessions, so that I could get a taste of what it would be like to pursue music seriously. I fell in love with creating and have been ever since.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My sound is melodic Pop, and I would say my lyrics are honest and relatable. I make songs for people who just want to scream in their car, whether they’re sad or happy.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
When I have some downtime, I like to catch up on all my TV shows, go shopping, hike, go to the beach, see my friends, and find amazing, new restaurants (I’m a FOODIE!).
Who are some of your main musical influences?
I love Olivia O’Brien’s clever lyrics, Charlotte Lawrence’s beautiful and airy vocals, and Ava Max’s music production is genius.
What are some of your future music career goals?
Being placed on a Spotify Editorial Playlist has been a goal of mine since the start. That would mean the world to me. As well as, headlining my own show by 2023!
Now onto your release, “Don’t Pick Up.” What inspired this song?
I haven’t put out a fun Dance Pop track in a while! I wanted the concept of the song to feel lighthearted and fun as well. It’s something that I felt was very relatable. It’s definitely a feel-good track.
What is “Don’t Pick Up” about in your own words?
“Don’t Pick Up” is about a very specific situation. I feel like a lot of people can relate to wanting or even going through with drunk calling or texting their ex. However, the song is much more than that. If you look at the bigger picture, “Don’t Pick Up” is fun, sexy, daring, and spontaneous. I want this track to be a reminder that life is short. Don’t spend time worrying about what other people think about you, and definitely don’t take things too seriously!
What is your favorite lyric in “Don’t Pick Up” and why?
“The liquor says it’s a good thing.” It will make more sense when you listen to the song 😉
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Don’t Pick Up?”
That letting loose, being emotional, and making mistakes are a part of life. We all go through it, and we’re all human. It’s a reminder to not take everything so seriously.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
Definitely receiving almost 700,000 streams on my debut EP, and the fact that two out of three of my top countries on Spotify are Germany and the UK is mind blowing! I can’t wait to perform and meet my fans in those countries in the future.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
I think patience is something that I’ve learned throughout this musical journey. I’ve made so many accomplishments that I’m so proud of and grateful for. Learning to let myself be patient, in this process, has been life changing for me. Nothing is going to happen over night, and it’s up to me to put in the work and take control of my own destiny.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I’ll be dropping a ton of new music in 2022. I’ve been writing, on average, 2-3 songs per week, so I have lots to share. I’m very excited to see what 2022 has in store for me.
Where can we follow you on social media?
Let’s ask you something random before you go. What’s your favorite food?
I’m definitely a sucker for Korean food. Growing up my grandma made amazing Korean food for my brother and me, and I’m grateful to have had that throughout my life.
Thank you for the great interview, Maya! We wish you much continued success!