We’re excited to announce that the next artist to be announced as part of Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is none other than indie pop powerhouse, MAY-A.
Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is dedicated to identifying and showcasing rising talent across Australia and New Zealand, hand-picked by Apple Music editors from around the world.
In addition to being selected for Up Next Local and recently signing to Atlantic Records, MAY-A is also being featured in other Apple Music playlists including Heaps Indie (globally), NMD, Alt Pop and more.
Right now, MAY-A is gearing up for the release of her debut EP, Don’t Kiss Ur Friends – a pop punk masterpiece due out on August 6th.
Don’t Kiss Ur Friends sees the artist showcase her ability to translate universally felt emotions into clear-eyed observational lyricism over the course of seven tracks.
On the EP, MAY-A says every song is a piece of the last four of five years of her life and that it “follows the course of a relationship, a journey of queer discovery and the growth from an adolescent to a young adult.”
She continued, “The most recent track having been written last year and the earliest at 16. As the music developed, so did I. You can listen to me grow up, gain confidence and understand myself through the way I approach my relationships. I hope you enjoy this slice of myself and pieces of the people I’ve loved <3”
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We were lucky enough to be able to chat to MAY-A about how she developed her music style, what inspires her and more.
What is one thing that has helped keep you going during this global pandemic?
I got kinda lonely and I bought a dog. Her name is Basil and she is a demon child, but she’s definitely kept me busy for this (second? third?) lockdown.
Take us through how you developed your music style?
I started writing on guitar when I was a kid. At 13 I was very pop, singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift ballad inspired and by the time I got to 15 I was really into more guitar-y, indie sounding music, this pretty much changed every year.
I’d always loved pop-punk, I loved Lorde and how she wrote songs, I was a fan of pop music and I mixed it all together a bit. I liked rap music, artists like Rejjie Snow, Dave and Skepta but I also liked Troye Sivan and Juice WRLD and Jeremy Zucker.
I’ve worked very closely to the same producer (Robby De Sa) since I was about 14 and we’ve never written songs like we had a time limit, so each session we did was no expectations, different genre, different sound and no pressure, so a lot of the music we’ve created has been super random and inspired by a song we’d liked that day.
And it’s still very much like that. I don’t think I’ve found my music style because I think it’ll keep changing.
What do you see as your secret weapon when it comes to your music?
Definitely bridges. People love to dismiss a middle 8 but it definitely makes the song. You could flip the entire concept of the song, put in a rap verse, drum breakdown, go into double time, change the pitch of your voice.
It’s the one part of the song where no rules really apply to the structure of the song. The possibilities are endless for a pop bridge.
Tell us about your latest single; how it started, what it’s about, and anything else you’d like to share about it.
My single ‘Central Station’ was written about this random girl I saw on the train and it was one of those sliding door moments.
I knew I would never go up and talk to her but I was fantasizing all the ways that I could, making up a whole imaginary future I could’ve had with her – I feel like that’s a universal experience – and then she got off the train and the whole thought process went with her.
It’s not just about her, but the whole ‘stranger syndrome’. It’s fun to think about a life you could have with somebody you’ve never even spoken to. Hilariously- I did end up seeing this particular girl again a bit later and she began dating my friend. I will never tell her I wrote this haha.
What are five attributes you think an artist needs to have in order to have career longevity in this music industry?
Authenticity, a fuck load of passion, thick skin, comfortability with constant change and a clear sense of what they want.
Why do you make music? What’s your great big ‘why’?
I make music because I have to. It’s the only way I process my emotions. I could never imagine a world where I didn’t write music for myself. I could always quit being an artist or uploading music but I could never stop making it.
What’s something that you’re really excited about right now?
I’m excited for people to hear the music that I’ve been working on for the past few years. I’m excited for those songs to become a part of other people’s lives and live in their memories rather than just mine.
I also can’t wait to perform these songs live once people have heard them, I think that’d be the most surreal feeling.
If we gained access to a few songs you have on repeat at the moment, what would we find?
’Swimming’ by Deb Never has basically been on repeat for the last 6 months. But ‘(One of Those) Crazy Girls’ by Paramore, ’Time Machine’ by Logic, ’Soft Spot’ by Claud and ‘Environment’ by Dave have all also been on high rotation.
What’s something your fans don’t know about you, but you want to share with them?
I’m not sure, all I can say is thanks. really, thanks. I wasn’t ever really confident in myself and what I could do, I mean I used to think I couldn’t sing, I just did it because I liked it.
I didn’t think I could write well either, I thought I was bad at everything. So thank you for the support and the confidence, I hope I can give some of that back in return.
What does Apple Music’s support through Up Next mean to you?
It means so much, giving me the ability to share my music with more people is all an artist can really ask for.
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