Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Southern Maryland, Ghanaian American songstress MAAME (pronounced MA-MAY) has been involved in music from a very young age. Throughout the course of her musical career, MAAME MUSIC has been winning over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life. With performances at a variety of venues such as the Nashville Songwriters Association International headquarters, Middle Tennessee State University, Bus Boys and Poets in north west Washington, D.C., and Epicure Cafe just to name a few, MAAME MUSIC is an artist in her own lane.
Twist Online : First of all tell us about the start of your professional career?
MAAME : I’ve been developing myself as an artist professionally since 2014. I moved to Nashville Metropolitan area and lived there for about a year to find my distinct sound and style as a writer then returned to my current home (Washington DC) in 2015. I’ve been using that time to pay my dues and saved up enough money to begin recording. I launched my first single June of this year.
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to get into music industry?
MAAME : Beyonce Knowles Carter, Usher, Michael Jackson, and Aaliyah. I knew that I wanted to be in the music industry as a performer and professional singer/songwriter when I heard them for the first time. Usher was the first artist I saw. The song was My Way. Michael Jackson was the second artist I saw. It was his music video, Beat It. Aaliyah was the third artist. The first song I heard of her was Are You That Somebody. Bills, Bills, Bills performed by Destiny’s Child was the song where I heard and saw Beyonce on TV for the first time. Each artist has a huge impact on my creative journey but it was Beyonce that really hit home for me. I knew instantly “This is what I want to do when I grow up” when I watched Bills, Bills, Bills. I’m going to make this clear that I am not comparing myself to the queen of pop but when I was a kid watching her on TV I felt like I saw myself in her. It was the narrative behind the stories of each song and the imagery in the videos that I loved with each artist. You can tell that each of the artists I mentioned loved what they did and they put their ALL into their craft. I admire that about each of them.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent release?
MAAME : My recent release was originally written in 2014. I spent the past three years editing it until I felt like it was ready to be recorded. I have a collection of songs that I have stored up ready to record but there was something about this one that resonated with me the most that made me want to record this first. It was inspired by my first real heartbreak. I fell in love with a guy that put my heart in the ringer for two years. He left me very confused and even to the point I began to believe maybe what I was feeling was all in my head. When the truth came out years later all those unresolved feelings returned and of course he denied everything and moved on very quickly while I was left heartbroken. In order for me to move on I wrote this song as a reminder that me and this guy not working out is actually the best thing that could ever happen to me. He has broken my heart for two years; now he can’t break my heart anymore and I’m going give myself some time to heal and move on.
Twist Online : What kind of improvements your degree in music had brought in your music abilities?
MAAME : My degree in music gave me the ability to learn how to play piano and to teach myself guitar so that I can write out my chord progressions and record home recordings of my own songs before I hit the studio. It also gave me the ability to accompany myself when I perform live. Prior to my degree the only instrument I knew how to play was the flute. I knew very little music theory. This was a huge improvement for me because it gave me the opportunity to give my songs more exposure. In the past I was dependent on peers who can play instruments to accompany me or help me write out the chords of my songs…it always fell through. They either ended up changing everything and turning it into their own song or they flaked on me and I had to cancel plans every time. Since I’ve had my degree I’ve been going out on my own. Things have changed ever since because it’s allowed me to network with more reliable musicians.
Twist Online : What attracts you more, performing on stage or working in studios?
MAAME : I really had to think on this Twist Online. I would say that for now I am attracted to performing because I am already working in the studio for my songs. I dream of one day being able to have a band so I can perform the full production of my songs live. For studios I would also love to get into acting some day.
Twist Online : What’s your favorite music genre?
MAAME : Another good question! Can I answer with genre’s? Right now I am listening to a lot of Rock and Pop music.
Twist Online : Do you need some specific kind of environment for writing lyrics?
MAAME : No. My song ideas come at different moments. It could come from a dream, while I am working a shift at my day job, hanging out with friends, or I’m chilling at home. They come as they please.
Twist Online : Have you set some target to achieve as a music artist?
MAAME : Yes. I want to see how far as I can go as an independent artist. For a while artists believed that they needed a label to be successful—in some ways that is still true—however we have artists such as Chance The Rapper, Ani DiFranco and Adele who have showed us that is not the only way to make it in the industry. I want to be able to make a living doing what I love.