Maya Piata Discusses Her New EP Vernal

Photo:  Larry Gayao

Maya Piata is a Dallas singer-songwriter who combines pop and R&B elements to accompany her bright personality. She’s gone from performing songs taken out of her teenage diaries to creating a new record that expresses her experiences as a young adult. Piata’s upcoming EP Vernal documents her growth as an individual and as a passionate artist. We spoke with the singer to get more insight into her artistry and her new music before her upcoming EP release show on June 8th at the Independent Bar and Kitchen.

What made you decide to pursue music as a career?

I would really take my roots into consideration. My dad is from New Orleans. So, I was born in New Orleans and raised in New Orleans. And obviously, when the name New Orleans is said, a lot people think of Jazz. I grew up listening to a lot of Motown, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder. So you take that and pair it with my mom who is from New Zealand — that island culture where music is infused in every part of life. Bringing those two together and marrying them was kind of the world that I was raised around. So, music was a very big part of my upbringing and has become the way I express myself.

I understand that your new EP Vernal expresses the theme of growth, so how would you say your sound and songwriting has grown on this EP?

So, the songwriting portion is where my hand is heaviest. That is my main passion. Through songwriting, I’m able to express myself. That’s my avenue. It’s my safe space with paper and pen. With Sunny Days, which was my first EP released last January, I just stepped into being an artist. What does being an independent artist mean, especially as a female? I was learning the ropes, navigating my own way. I was taking songs from being 17 to 18 years old, digging in my journals for what are my top favorite five songs. Sunny Days, is me sitting in my bedroom writing in my journal with my acoustic guitar, not expecting anyone to hear those songs. It was only after the fact, a couple years after I had written those songs, that I decided to do something with them. Singing those songs now at the point that I am in my life, I get transported back to that 17-year-old Maya. But the songs have grown with me. They are new to everyone else, but they are ancient to me.

With Vernal, these songs are kind of everything between then and now. It has songs that are more relevant to the place that I am at in my life. College is the period you grow the most, and I wanted to represent that, and have that be an active part in my artistry now — the songwriting, and performing into production. I think with “Same Way”, that was the big draw because it’s so synth heavy, and poppy, and bright. There are so many elements in the production, and that goes with my producer, Corbin Winkfield. He is able to take my songs that are written on paper, add a melody to them and a general idea, and really infuse it with life. For “Same Way”, it’s kind of like a shock from what people’s initial impression of Maya Piata was, and it’s a great introduction for what Vernal is going to be. So, Vernal has been a really awesome project, just therapeutic to me to express multiple sides of myself, which is what art is for.

Photo: Larry Gayao

What do you hope people will take away when they listen to the new EP Vernal?

With Vernal, I really made an effort to strive for that same authenticity, with growth as a catalyst. I purposely made these songs so that I was proud of them. So, that when I get on stage, I’m comfortable, I’m excited, and I believe in what I am saying and singing about. What I hope people get from that is an essence of the human experience from my perspective. I hope people relate. I hope people enjoy it. I feel emotions very intensely. I think this record accurately represents the intensity of emotions.

So what else can we expect from your upcoming show?

Well, my friends Rei Altru and Ronnie Heart are playing with me, two Dallas artist that I really believe in and support. It’s a full band set. You can expect us to play some of our Sunny Days record. This is the first time we are going to play no covers. We have enough original content now, which makes me feel like a real artist. And just to have a really great time.

I hope that the people who have been listening for a long time that they are proud and that they enjoy the music and can see the growth. For the people who are seeing me for the first time, I just hope they take me seriously. I take pride in myself. I take pride in my art. I take pride in my band and I want to emote that.

Be sure to check out Maya Piata tonight (Friday, June 8), at Deep Ellum's Independent Bar and Kitchen for the celebration of her EP Vernal.  Tickets can be purchased here.

Mariah Estran