We’re honored to have some time today with accomplished and respected singer-songwriter Maeve Steele; welcome to our humble pages, Maeve! Before we dive down the proverbial rabbit hole, how has your New Year been treating you?
So far, so good. My new year’s resolution was to have better posture and get better at piano. I’m literally slumped over my computer right now, but I have spent more time on the piano! I’m one for two.
Congratulations for your lovely gem Slow Down which will see release as a single this May 13! What was the genesis of this special and mesmerizing tune?
Thank you! I wrote this song right after graduating in 2020…in the limbo period between going back to my childhood home and moving to LA. I felt so lost and uncertain about the future, I think I wrote Slow Down as a way to tell myself to take a beat, that everything was going to work out. It’s funny to look back at the things that I was so unsure about that now seem so benign, but I guess that’s just the way time works.
Was the recent worldwide pandemic an influence at all on the conception and recording of Slow Down?
It definitely shaped my mindset going into writing this song. The world was slowing down in many ways. It wasn’t even conscious at the time, but this song is really about the silver linings and beauty of uncertain times. I think we all were looking for those in the pandemic.
Who was your producer on Slow Down and what did that collaboration look like?
Brian Malouf produced this song, and I’m so grateful to him for bringing it to life. My favorite part of the production is the chime sound in the background. It’s a voice memo I took of me whacking at a pipe xylophone that my parents found under their bed when I was home for the holidays. I love that we were able to work a piece of my home into the song.
What do you hope that fans walk away feeling after listening to Slow Down?
I hope they feel like taking a deep breath – that’s how it felt to write it.
You’re home base is in the City of Angels, Los Angeles. How does that landscape inform you as an artist and as a person?
I was born and raised in California, so the landscape and coastline really shape my writing. I find a lot of inspiration in natural imagery. I think it helps make lyrics feel really personal and serves as a tangible thing to go back to when I’m having writer’s block.
As a prolific singer/songwriter, which comes first for you – The lyrics or the melody?
Lyrics almost always come first. Sometimes lyrics and melodies come together, or even build on each other. It’s definitely a messy process, but lyrics are usually at the forefront when I sit down to write.
1. On the heels of the release of Slow Down, can fans look forward to seeing you on tour in the near future?
I hope so! I can’t wait to play Slow Down live.
What does your Magic 8 Ball say about the possibility of a forthcoming LP? Is such a creature very much on your dance card?
The idea of my first LP is really intimidating to me – I love albums that are cohesive and really have a story arc, as opposed to feeling just like a collection of songs. There’s definitely a lot more songs coming very soon, that’s all I’ll say.
Musically, who inspires you?
Amy Winehouse is a huge inspiration for me. She was so talented and gritty and unapologetic with her voice and lyrics, she blew my mind when I first started listening to her. I love Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, Bon Iver, they all have definitely shaped the way I consume and try to create music. I also grew up listening to a lot of Americana and country music; artists like Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Gram Parsons all have a special place in my heart.
How did you land on the path of being a musician? Is there a Secret Origin story you could share with us?
This isn’t a secret origin story as much as it is a somewhat nerdy fun fact, but my career in music started with the classical violin. I began violin when I was in kindergarten, which gave me a pretty strong foundation of both technical musical knowledge as well as curiosity. I still play!
Fans were treated late last year with a haunting music video for your brilliant tune Shimmer. Can they expect a video for Slow Down?
I don’t have a video planned, but I would love to share a really stripped, acoustic version of the song to show people how it originated.
It feels that you’re plying your craft along the sides of other wordsmiths such as Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Buddy Holly and Lisa Loeb. In other words, not only are you saying all of the right things in your songs, but it’s also in how you’re saying it – the emotion of it all- that puts you on the level of the above group of artists. How important is it as an artist to not just sing the worlds, but to honestly feel them, too?
Wow, thank you. I’m definitely trying to become a better writer – something that I keep having to remind myself is that words can be so powerful and carry so much. It’s easy to get into a habit of filler lines and cliches. I never want to say something just because that’s the way it’s often said in songs. People are so much more likely to resonate with words being sung when they’re coming from a really visceral place.
Final – SILLY! – Question: Favorite film about the music scene – This Is Spinal Tap or Almost Famous?
I mean, Almost Famous is one of my all time favorite movies…Penny Lane is an icon. I embarrassingly can’t compare the two because I haven’t seen This is Spinal Tap. I definitely will now!