For Maisie May, being forced into isolation during New York’s coronavirus lockdown has been advantageous.
“Honestly, for me it’s in some ways been a major blessing,” said Maisie, who today released her new single, “Flying Without You.” “Normally I’m working in a restaurant and going to school and being forced away from home where my studio is.
“If anything, it’s been a jolt of inspiration.”
The artist, whose sound could be described as dream pop or synth pop, said the new track is about “finding a feeling of relief in realizing you don’t need someone anymore.”
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” she said. “Sometimes it can feel so euphoric to the point where you could think you can fly. I can’t put a name on the emotion, but I can sing about it or write about it. It’s a special song because it was how I felt.”
It’s only the second released song for Maisie, 20, who put out “2 Smart 2 Cry” in March. While the first single was co-produced and mixed by Brandon Tong of Couch Prints and mastered by Tony Price, she produced “Flying Without You” by herself and Tong mixed and mastered it.
“I was helping a friend out with harmonies, and at the end of the session, he said, ‘You should use this to your advantage,'” she said. “As soon as he left my apartment, I starting making these three-part harmonies. That became kind of the point of reference for the song.
“It was kind of a time in my live when I was feeling comfortable with my digital audio workspace. I could finally make the sounds that I was thinking about.”
To do that, she resorted to using household items like salt shakers for percussion and distorting her vacuum.
Maisie, 20, cites Imogen Heap, Yumi Zouma and Caroline Polachek as influences and said, “I’ve always been a singer.” According to her mom, she sang “Baa Baa Black Sheep” on an airplane when she was 2 years old, and a fellow passenger said, “Your 2-year-old baby has perfect pitch.” She said her mom let her run with her musical inclinations, and she went on to take “the most random lessons” on as many instruments as she could. Growing up in upstate New York, she had a band with her older twin sisters when she was 10.
At 16, she quit high school and moved to New York City to focus on her music. She earned a GED and recently graduated from The New School.
Maisie played her first solo show at The VNYL in the East Village when she released “2 Smart 2 Cry” — “a week before this coronavirus thing happened.” She played guitar and used some backing tracks, and said she’d ideally like to get a drum machine and a sampler for her live shows.
As for the rest of 2020?
“Ideally I have about four or five more songs that I would like to master down and finish up during this crazy time, and hopefully by the end of the summer or during the winter I’ll be able to come out with an EP,” she said.
Photo by Aubrey Wipfli
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