In the spotlight – Maya Bern

In the spotlight – Maya Bern

Maya Bern is a 21-year old singer/songwriter from Istanbul (Turkey). She was born and raised in Istanbul but throughout her childhood – especially with the rise of internet, social media platforms, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon etc. – was very much influenced by the American culture early on. Her second single ‘How to Say’ is currently in our chart. Read on to learn more about Maya’s influences and her upcoming new single.

Have you always been interested in music? When did you start making music? 

“I took piano lessons when I was in elementary school, but it didn’t go far from there. In middle school, I guess I had a moment of reignition of passion that made me learn to play some pieces (Mozart – Alla Turca, Yann Tiersen – Comptine d’un autre été etc.) from YouTube. I was the kind of kid that got bored with slow-paced learning so I wanted to learn to play the pieces I wanted to learn as soon as possible.”

“In high school I started composing piano pieces. So I was making instrumental music in the very beginning. It was almost instinctive to me. I still enjoy it horrendously, especially when I find a melody I like.”

Do you have any hobbies that contribute to your musicality? 

“I have a passion for acting too and I’ve been doing theatre since elementary school – with a pause in middle school. We’ve done a musical in elementary school. In a performative sense, I think acting and singing are like close relatives, because they’re both very much involved with the feelings and the voice. I think all this theatre/acting scene has helped me to relate more to the storylines of other songs and to be able to write as someone else, to write about someone else’s point of view.”

“I’m currently studying Latin Language and Literature, which you can say is equals to Classics. I think that has also inspired me in ways nothing else could’ve had. Literature in itself is already inspiring. I released a song in Latin ‘odi et amo’, which everyone thought was Italian (rightfully so). I cropped and combined two poems of the poet Gaius Valerius Catullus and turned them into a song.”

What kind of sounds were playing around you as you were growing up?

“Our house had a lot of Enya playing around. Especially ‘Only Time’ is such a nostalgic song to me. I owned the High School Musical soundtrack. I became a big fan of Katy Perry after watching her Unplugged (MTV Unplugged, New York) performances through a cd/dvd pack I got. Later on I was a Belieber.”

If we were to look at the artists you are currently listening to, who would be on your playlist? Are they artists who influence your music?

“I’ve been listening to Finneas a lot. Some of the other ones I mostly listen to whom I can think of right now are Ashe, Tom Odell, Troye Sivan, Adam Melchor, Conan Gray, Steve Lacy, Sezen Aksu (a Turkish pop legend), Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Agnes Obel, Mehro, Joji, Sleeping At Last, Beach House, Tom Rosenthal, Cavetown, Lizzy McAlpine, Young Summer, Lomepal, Tyler The Creator, WILLOW, JVKE, Adele, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Omar Apollo, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and many more…”

“I’m probably inevitably influenced by Lana Del Rey, Tom Rosenthal, Tom Odell, Finneas, Conan Gray…”

Do you have a songwriting process and routine that you follow?

“I don’t strictly stick to a certain process or routine but I usually sit at the piano and just go with the flow, start improvising and keep what I like to build on top of that. I usually come up with the lyrics as I play too. I try to freestyle. Other times I open my notes app to check out some of the lyrics and ideas I’ve already written down.”

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?

“I get inspired by almost anything. Mostly by love stories and my own wandering thoughts and feelings.”

What can you tell me about your single ‘How to Say’?

“‘How to Say’ was about wanting but not being able to go to a specific period of time. It’s like wanting but not being able to go back to the early phases of falling in love – to when you don’t even know you might actually get hurt, and not being able to feel these bubbly feelings anymore because of how reality sometimes makes it hard to (day)dream.”

You have a new song coming out on the 3rd of February. Tell us about the release, what should we expect?

“I’m so excited. It’s called ‘Let It Be Me’. It will be a little different from my earlier releases as it will have much more layered vocals.”

Are you planning to release an album or an EP? 

“Not right now but in the future, sure.”

What’s your goal for 2023 and what’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve? 

“My goal/wish is probably for more people to hear my music.”

“I want to get better and develop more as an artist. My ultimate goal would be to have my music featured on a movie or a TV show. And I’d have to be good enough for that. I hope I get to be.”

What’s your pick for album of the year 2022?

“Harry Styles’ ‘Harry’s House’ might be the one. Lately I’ve been listening and dancing to it a lot. It has no skips for me.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“It’s ‘Whisper in the Dark’ by Sophie Dorsten and Alex Dorsten. I love its hauntingly beautiful vocals and it’s the type of music I like.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“I would add ‘You Already Know’ by August Eve. I love everything about the song. The first time I heard it, I was mesmerized by both the sound and the writing.”

Maya is on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.