Rapper/Singer Maya Huyana talks Latest Projects, Her Songwriting Process, and Challenges as a Recording Artist
Maya Huyana aka Yaya is from the Inland Empire region of Southern California, but she has also lived in Las Vegas for a portion of her childhood. She is the oldest of five siblings, and was raised by her wonderful mother Christine in a single parent home. Creativity has always been one of Maya's strengths, and from the moment she learned how to write, she began writing stories and poems, and at age 13 she wrote her first song. As a child, she participated in every school play and talent show. Maya also excelled in basketball and sports, as well as Forensics & Debate. At age 14, she began taking modeling classes, participated in her first runway show, and has loved the craft ever since. Currently, Maya is attending college full-time, (pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship) working part time at a Women's Business Center, and at Coyote Radio as the Social Media Coordinator. She enjoys reading, going to the beach, shopping, playing basketball, and modeling. Learn more
"As far as song concepts, I have a very raw approach, and I'm learning every day from more experienced songwriters on how to use actual technique." @mayahuyana
Mistah Wilson: Greetings, Maya Huyana! Honored to have you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock. How ya' been?Maya Huyana: I'm extremely blessed! Thank you for reaching out.
Mistah Wilson: First and foremost, we discovered you via 210West, an artist we have much admiration for. How did you guys connect?
Maya Huyana: 210 invited me to perform at one of his events called Indie Music Night. He and the entire team have such great energy so I came back to Indie Music Night for a 2nd time last month. He's amazing!
Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, could you give us a quick background on yourself?
Maya Huyana: My name is Mayah I was born and raised in the Inland Empire CA (with a short detour in Las Vegas) I'm a songwriter, singer, rapper, and visual artist. I just dropped my debut LP called Rebirth, and I'm just super grateful to be making music. I'm also working on a film called Lethal Envy, the story of black wall street.
Mistah Wilson: What led you to becoming an artist?
Maya Huyana: I don't think anything led me, but I always naturally created. I used to draw picture books and illustrations. Then once I learned words I wrote stories and poems... started writing music at 13. Seriously, when it comes to music, I began recording 3 years ago.
Mistah Wilson: Tell us about your album "Rebirth". What was the concept behind this work?
Maya Huyana: Rebirth is an audible representation of my personal evolution, and an LP that's dedicated to oppressed people everywhere. The world is going through a huge change and many of us are in a metamorphosis period. Politically, culturally, everything is just changing. My frustrations and hopes are reflected in Rebirth, as well as underlying themes and stories.
Mistah Wilson: We enjoyed tha music video for "U Should Be Here". Where'd you find inspiration for that project?
Maya Huyana: Thank you [: My inspiration for "U Should Be Here" music video was to just film a music video in the place I lived (Riverside, CA at the time) because I enjoy being CA, and I draw so much inspiration from here. The colors, outfits, and locations were all in influenced by my surroundings. So I wrote the treatment, my friend Konami and I came together to have fun and execute.. it was my first music video ever lol.
Mistah Wilson: When I watch "Mayah's Jam" music video, I don't know what I love more: your look or your voice. What techniques do you use to develop new song concepts and visual treatments?
Maya Huyana: You're literally making me blush! lol .. As far as song concepts, I have a very raw approach, and I'm learning every day from more experienced songwriters on how to use actual technique. For my process I start with random rhymes or cadences, (or derive them from a beat) then I build on that. After I have some solid rhymes or ideas, I then try to format scattered lyrics into structured music; a chorus, a verse, etc.
For visual treatments, I play the song (that I want to do the visual for) a lot, then I wait to be inspired. Sometimes it's hard to have patience (lol) but it always comes to me. Something... a movie, a picture, a place that I visit, will provoke an idea. Then, I build on that first little spark. Lastly I try to think of locations.
Mistah Wilson: What are 3 of your personal favorite songs of yours?
Maya Huyana: Westcoast Euphoria, Rebirth, and Soul Food
Mistah Wilson: What's your process when scouting or producing new beats?
Maya Huyana: I enjoy writing so I will literally write to any beat, it doesn't matter whether it's trap or boom-bap or a random commercial lol. I like to challenge myself. But It's kind of weird, when it comes to selecting beats for my own personal use, I know almost within seconds (of hearing a beat) whether it's for me or not.
Mistah Wilson: Before being an artist, I'm a fan first. And I must say, you got bars! Would you consider yourself more of a singer or rapper?
Maya Huyana: Thank you so much =D
I consider myself a rapper! lol But it seems to be split consensus on what my supporters enjoy (lol) 50/50 rap sing... I love writing the most of everything and then rapping. Singing is probably third.
Mistah Wilson: Tell us about your performance history. Where have you performed and where would you like to perform?
Maya Huyana: I've opened for Audio Push in OC and Bodega Bamz. I've done many Brick 2 Ya Face gigs, shows in LA, OC, and the IE. I would love to perform in San Diego, ATL, and Japan.
Mistah Wilson: What artists have you worked with and would like to work with some time in tha future?
Maya Huyana: In the past I've worked with Cashis from Shady Records, Noa James, Wanya Morris, EOTR Network, and Jahlil Beats. In the future I would love to work with Isaiah Rashad, Stevie Wonder, Alchemist, Iman Omari, and Kid Cudi.
Mistah Wilson: Who are some musical figures that influenced tha artist you are today?
Maya Huyana: Bob Marley, Teena Marie, Ralfi Pagan, Tupac, Santana, & Lauryn Hill.
Mistah Wilson: What have been some challenges you've faced on your journey as an artist?
Maya Huyana: Learning to be a recording artist was a challenge, like learning the art of recording and producing, how to use my mechanism. Moving to LA was also a HUGE adjustment lol. But I think I'm getting used to it [:
Mistah Wilson: What have been some more of the rewarding things you've experienced?
Maya Huyana: Dropping Rebirth was extremely gratifying. It felt wonderful to see my scattered thoughts turn into songs, then those songs evolve over time, then continue to record and design the music... lastly decide the final 7 that made the album. From beginning to end, creating a body of audible art (and my first passive income stream! lol) has been the most rewarding.
Mistah Wilson: On ThaWilsonBlock, we like to help artists share their story. What do you plan to accomplish thru your music?
Maya Huyana: I would like to accomplish giving the world good music that they feel empowered upon listening to.
Mistah Wilson: How important is giving back to tha community for you?
Maya Huyana: Giving back is extremely important. My great grandparents instilled it in us early. I think we were put here for a bigger purpose other than our own exploits and desires.
Mistah Wilson: What positive, encouraging words do you have for aspiring artists and musicians who may be reading this?
Maya Huyana: Take the time to develop your own unique sound.
In the words of a wise prophet named Dory "just keep swimming" lol
in the words of my granny "if you're going thru hell, keep goin"
Mistah Wilson: Where can people follow your music online?
Maya Huyana: Soundcloud @mayahuyana
iTunes + Spotify + Tidal - @MayaHuyana
Youtube & Instagram
Mistah Wilson: Thank you so much, Maya Huyana for coming thru for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock! It's always great when we get to interview artists that we are a fan of. If you have any shout outs, lets hear it!
Maya Huyana: shoutout to Tyrus Parks
shoutout to Elise
shoutout to Moms
shoutout to EOTR Network
shoutout to PakkMusic
shoutout to the homegirl Monie
shoutout to GOD
shoutout to ThaWilsonBlock !!!!!!!