BLACK ROCKERS UNITED MEDIA

#BRUTALK: MAYA G./SOKORA

INTRODUCTION | BLACK TO FUTURE | FREEDOM IN ROCK

       

by Nicole Kali (11/14/21)

#BRU shares our 26th interview with you: Austin, TX artist Maya the "Mother Goddess"! You can watch the full version here.

INTRO

NK: Black Rockers United is overjoyed because our 26th guest Maya G joins us from Austin, Texas! [Waves]

Maya G.: [Waves back] Hello!

NK: Hello! How are ya?

Maya: I'm doing all right. Thank you for having me!

NK: Oh, 100%! Thank you for being here! Yes, it's great to finally catch up in virtual face-to-face as it were. You know?

Maya: Yep!

NK: How've you been? What have you been up to?

Maya: Oh, wow! I guess I've been all right. It's been a couple o' years, I think, for everybody in the world. Yeah, it's been weird. That's all—I can say about it! [Laughs] I don't wanna be like 'Everything's great!' Yes, it's just weird, everything's weird.

NK: That's so true!

Maya: My coping mechanism has been to uh, start a mini-farm! Some of you might have noticed with the goats and the donkey and all that. That's my random...thing that happened after quarantine and COVID and all that so-[laughs]

anyone need some smiles? come for a walk with us 💜 ##yallternative ##ChoculaDonkey ##TheHarderTheyFall ##paisleypark ##luluandbee ##animals ##fy

NK: I love that! No, I can see that art and nature have been a really big part of like, therapy for you during quarantine, like before that but especially during the pandemic.

Maya: Well, I think because you know, obviously I haven't been performing much at all in the past few years? And taking care of animals for me is an expression of motherhood which is an expression of CREAT-ivity!

So yeah, I'm not sure. But it feels—it feels right. I think the goal is to end up on a ranch, umm, where there's a bunch of random misfit animals and also possibly a performance space. [Wow!]

So maybe it all comes full circle but yeah for right now, it's just...they're like—you know, between the goats and the donkey, and people that have been following me know that I occasionally feed raccoons and possums! They're like random alien muppets that I relate to more than humans. So [laughs]

NK: For real! That's the realest thing I have heard in a while, you know, because sometimes...

Maya: [Laughs]

NK: Animals are just very direct, you know?

Maya: Yeah!

NK: And there's not much of that verbal conversation that you can understand but it's like okay.

Maya: —Right.

NK: But it's like 'Okay, we can just hang out and just, just share this space together. Thank you, raccoon!'

Maya: Exactly and they're just weird. It's just like being a cast member of The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth every night, you know? Just kinda, I open my back door and there's goblins, and that's pretty cool! So [laughs]

NK: It's a very uniquely, like Texas experience as well.

Maya: I don't know anybody in Texas who's doing that, I mean maybe the farm thing but usually when people have farms, it's for like a reason! Even people on my block, when they see me walking the donkey, they're like "So why do you have a donkey? What is the reason?"

Like people understand a horse, I guess because you ride it. But no, I'm just walking and no one knows why I have him other than to wake up the neighborhood in the morning. Like "I don't fuckin' know!" Like, why is any...I don't know!

NK: I'm reachin' my roots, all right, like this is what I want!

Maya: [Laughs]

NK: [Laughs too] I was promised this donkey. 40 acres, right?

Maya: [Laughs] That's right!

NK: Okay? [Laughs]

BLACK TO THE FUTURE

NK: So let's tell everyone who Maya G. is! You know, you are a visual creator; you're a musical artist, nature enthusiast and a rock-her originally from Saint Louis, Missouri! Midwest.

Maya: Oh, wow, you've done your homework.

NK: Yes!

Maya: I mean, yeah, I was—I was born in Saint Louis but I don't know, really remember too much about it. I went there for summers. But umm, yeah, I grew up in Texas primarily and went to school...uh, [Booker T. Washington] Performing Arts High School in Dallas!

 

Erykah Badu was one of my schoolmates, umm, Roy Hargrove was one of my schoolmates. It was a cool school! I went there for theater, I wanted to go for music but it was one of those programs where like...

At the time I didn't appreciate this but in the music program, umm, I was just learning guitar when I was just starting high school. The music program, you would have to either learn jazz or classical, and music theory and all that stuff.

And at the time, you know, I was into Joan Jett and The Ramones and that sounded like some bullshit! You know now I wish I would've appreciated that more but I still wanted to go to the school. But I didn't want to deal with music class being math. And so uh, I studied theater which is relevant!

That is where I, y'know, learned how to be on stage and you learn the art of performance, and you learn things like costume and writing and...a lot of facets to theater other than just standing onstage so: improv and umm, playwriting was my favorite.

NK: Nice.

Maya: Set-building, very practical stuff that I might not have gotten in a regular school or you know. But yeah, from there I didn't go to college, started my first band right away in 1990 and then moved to New York City by '94.

NK: Wow.

Maya: Yep!

NK: So like, basically as soon as you could and as soon as you learned guitar, you fronted your first band.

Maya: Yes.

NK: Wow!

Maya: Yeah, it was umm...yeah, I was 17 and my first band was called What She Said, which was something that the bass player Steve Berg used to say that all the time. And I hadn't heard this before—this was 7,000 years ago. Since it was me and three guys (and I was the vocalist), I thought that was cute so my first band was called What She Said.

And it was me and three guys from a rockabilly band, so listening back? I found a recording a few years ago and it sounded like rockabilly. I didn't—didn't perceive that at the time but yeah, then later I went to New York City.

And when I first got to New York, I ended up in someone else's band. I ended up being the front person without my guitars of an all-girl band which ended badly but eventually I ran into...well, not ran into, I knew the guys from Funkface, and they ended up backing me up.

And I was kicked out of that first band, thankfully looking back. Yeah, the guys from Funkface backed me for a while and that's about the most bad-ass band that anybody could be working with so I lucked out there and umm...

Like, to this day, they're probably my favorite band. That's just a really cool, very talented group of guys.

NK: Yeah!

Maya: Yeah, so if I...if/when I go back to New York to play again, they're all standing by waiting, I think! [Laughs]

NK: Hey, you gotta reminisce and really dig into those rock roots, you know, especially with such an amazing and a diverse band. And a city too.

Maya: Yeah!

FREEDOM IN ROCK

NK: Yeah. How does it feel to express yourself onstage and be liberated in rock by the way?

Maya: Oh, God, umm, it had been so long. I know that it's more...for me, my present is kind of dealing with not doing that. You know, I left New York because I was dealing with some health stuff and umm,I never quite got back to it!

And then last year—no, not last year, last year didn't exist—the year before last, umm, I went back to New York to join in for the benefit for Luqman where a bunch of us covered a Funkface song as Luq'.

 

Maya: And it had been so long and I was so worried 'cause Luq is such a great vocalist, and you know, it'd just been so long since I had performed. And I was convinced that y'know, my voice wasn't going to be there. Or I wasn't going to know what to do.

NK: Aww, c'mon, Maya.

Maya: All this stuff that goes through your head like "I've gained weight" and a bunch of crap that I would tell somebody else that didn't mean anything!

NK: Yeah!

Maya: But! But umm, that was all the things that were kind of nagging at me and then once I just stepped on the stage, it was just there. It was just the reminder of this is why nothing else I've done in the past 10 years has made sense.

is on  and !

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