B&L: What animal do you associate yourself with (given our ties to oxen)?
Maya de Vitry: Oh I don’t know! I was watching ducks the other day, I could be a duck. I like that they can observe the world from the water, or dive into it, or come on land. Or maybe I associate more with plants… some kind of flowering tree.
B&L: Why music? Why do you seek it? Why do you create it? How’d it come calling to you?
de Vitry: It’s fun! It’s been around me my whole life, my parents love music, it’s communication, it’s medicine.
B&L: What’s the making of a great show?
de Vitry: I think a great show is when the artist and the audience commit to the present together, and from an artist perspective, when we dare to go to a place of honest expression and vulnerability… when the room feels warm, when the whole experience feels like an invitation. An invitation to listen and feel and do so freely and deeply.
B&L: Is it weird to step foot onstage and play to a room full of (mostly) strangers?
de Vitry: Sometimes it is tough to just get to the present, to get out of my head or get out of the day. That is a practice for sure.
B&L: Let’s talk about your new record, “Adaptations.” What sort of goals you had for yourself when you set out to make this record?
de Vitry: All I wanted to do was record my music. I honestly didn’t have any goals beyond that. Recording these songs just felt like pure joy, pure freedom. At the time, The Stray Birds was my full time gig, and this was just an overflow for me, the stuff that I couldn’t keep bottled up anymore. And it’s led me towards a much deeper listening, to myself and my instincts and my voice.
B&L: It’s your first solo venture post-Stray Birds. How’s it all feel? How has the “process” of figuring things out for yourself been unfolding? Is it a vulnerable feeling to be a solo entity or a welcome change/challenge?
de Vitry: It’s a welcome change. I think I’ll know more after this tour, to see how it feels to be out on the road with a band as a solo artist. I am a very inward person, and I don’t like to be the center of attention, so this is not easy for me. But I also love creating these songs and I love singing, so if I can keep the craft at the center, and the music at the center, if I can just get out of my own way, then I think I will find the sweetness in being a solo artist.
B&L: Is songwriting an easy or arduous process for you? Are you an “in the moment” kind of writer, or do you have to actively schedule “office hours” to get words on paper?
de Vitry: I do not have office hours. For me, songwriting is like doing a crossword puzzle that doesn’t have any solutions or something, it’s difficult because it could go in any direction at any time, but it isn’t arduous. It’s really, really fun.
B&L: Where do you tend to pull inspiration from?
de Vitry: I pull a lot of inspiration from observing life and people, conversations, language itself, and a lot of writers and poets.
B&L: What’s the importance of observation and honing in on the peripheries of everyday life?
de Vitry: Definitely keeps you in the present!
B&L: What’s one tune (or, heck, a couple) that exists out there in the ether that blows you away that you kind of wish you had written yourself?
de Vitry: One song I just love, and it’s so simple and it doesn’t even rhyme at all, and I want to write something like it, is “Killing The Blues.”
B&L: What can folks expect when they come out to see you perform at the Word Barn on May 19th?
de Vitry: Lots of songs! Played by a trio – amazing drummer and amazing bassist in this band. I think folks can expect to see something as it is blooming— this is new, this is exciting, and I don’t know if I’ll do too well at hiding my joy in doing this. I’m at a beginning, in a very good way.
B&L: Question number 12. If you could have a dozen of anything, what would that dozen of something be?
de Vitry: Perfectly ripe fresh picked strawberries.
Maya de Vitry makes her first appearance (post-Stray Birds) at the Word Barn on Sunday, May 19thin support of her brand new record, “Adaptations.” Tickets are available here.