Photo Credit: Buffalo James Photography
Butterflies mean a lot to many people, my mother and grandmother included. For them, it is and was more about filling their home with any and all winged decor. For Maiah Wynne, it’s a bit deeper. We talked about what a butterfly based on her upcoming release, ‘Out of the Dark,’ would be like, and more like goats, meat blobs, and more!
Kendra: You’re self-taught when it comes to playing music, and you also self-produce your music. Looking back, what do you think inspired your power of self? Were you always like that growing up, figuring things out on your own?
Maiah Wynne: I spent a lot of time developing a strong sense of independence when I was a kid. I spent most of my evenings by myself, but I really enjoyed it a lot of the time. I liked having the space to explore different creative outlets, and I’m grateful that my active imagination never left me feeling bored. I was mostly driven by a desire to learn and a growing excitement about creating music and art. I think I’m trying to find my way back to that sense of self now as an adult. I’ve become disconnected from that strong independence, and I’m ready to find that space again.
Kendra: Again, self-taught on dozens upon dozens of instruments. Do you have any advice for those out there looking to learn but think they don’t have the time or the skill set to do so?
Maiah Wynne: You can do it! Let yourself be bad and learn to enjoy the process. When you feel that initial discouragement or frustration, that’s when you need to keep trying, and soon you’ll have a breakthrough. I think we live in a society where people are discouraged from pursuing anything they aren’t immediately good at. The amount of times I’ve heard people say “I can’t sing” “I have no rhythm” or “I wish I had musical talent” breaks my heart. Music is one of the most natural human things in the world. I firmly believe anyone can make music. It’s so good for your soul and mental health, and now there are more tools than ever that make creating music more accessible and easy to do. There is no wrong way to do it. Go for it! Make noise, learn, grow, create.
Kendra: Now let’s talk about ‘Out of the Dark,’ your November release. You have an admiration and appreciation for butterflies, and I wanted to tie that in with the music – so if you were to compare the overall sound and heart of this album to a butterfly that just emerged from its cocoon, what sort of colors and patterns do you imagine it’d have, and where do you think it’d fly off to first?
Maiah Wynne: Ooh I love this question! This album is very eclectic, covering multiple genres and themes, but with a core of hope. So I’d say the center of the butterfly wings would be a luminescent light purple surrounded by black, and the colors would explode out of that center in various and chaotic patterns. Violets and gray-blues to represent sadness, dark red for anger, and little specks of light yellow kind of like little stars in a galaxy to represent joy and dreams.
I think the first place my album butterfly would fly to would be LA (That’s where I’m hoping to end up soon), but it would take a long trip through Oregon, Montana, and Washington to visit all my old stomping grounds and friends along the way.
Kendra: Perhaps to a goat farm because that was the setting for the video for “Drive Me Mad.” This song reminded me of the innocence of a summer camp. That youthful first love many have. Was it inspired by a real-life situation or was it more of a daydream you were looking to manifest?
Maiah Wynne: I wish I could say the video was based on a real-life-goat-filled date, but it is more of a daydream of a fun, silly, and romantic day. This song reflects the real joy and giddiness I feel when falling in love, and I wanted the video to reflect that. Something fun, simple, but beautiful and innocent. I’d love to have a day like that in the future, but for now, I’ll have to use music videos as an excuse to frolic through fields at golden hour.
Kendra: While there are a lot of thematics on the new record, I couldn’t help but be interested in the idea of failure in song. I think failure is one of the biggest hurdles we face in life, whether it be the realization of it or the fear of facing it. For you, has there been a fear of failure that you’ve overcome in your career thus far that has helped push you forward?
Maiah Wynne: The fear of failure is such an overwhelming hurdle to overcome in a society that worships perfection. I still struggle with it, and it can be so deflating to work in an industry that can be so critical. I think the act of putting yourself on a stage makes you inherently vulnerable, and even those with the thickest skin can fall victim to the cutting words and eyes of the world. I don’t know what I’m doing, but the older I get, the more I realize that no one really does.
When I remember that we are all just electric meat blobs blobbing around on a big rock in space, it makes the idea of failure less impactful. I have a song called Try Again that is all about getting back up when you fall down. I have literally fallen on stage more than once, and it becomes easier to embrace the uncertainty of the future knowing that whatever happens, I can always get back up and try again. Failure is inevitable, but if I can learn from it, maybe I can transform those moments into growth.
Kendra: Time for a side note – with it being November, a month we give thanks, I’m asking everyone this…what is one album you’re grateful for, an album that inspired you to do what you’re currently doing right now as an artist?
Maiah Wynne: There are so many albums that made a huge impact on me growing up. I think I’m going to have to go with both ‘Plans and Narrow Stairs’ by Death Cab for Cutie and’ Come Away With Me’ by Norah Jones. Currently, I’ve been really enjoying ‘Well Well’ by Victoria Canal.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Out of the Dark’ out soon, what can we expect as we finish out 2023 and head into 2024?
Maiah Wynne: Honestly, this album has been such a huge project, and I’m planning on taking a short break to figure out what’s next. I have a lot of ideas and so much music. I’ve written hundreds of songs, and I think my next project will be finding more efficient ways to share these songs. I also have the second Envy of None album that I’m finishing up. It is a project I’m very excited to be a part of, and I think our second record will be even better than our first. I have a couple of other projects and collaborations in the works, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.