Small Town Sentiments to Big City Realities with Maris


The near future holds a lot for Maris. She’ll soon be an 18-year-old leaving her small town of Montana for the bustling city of New York. A singer-songwriter with more maturity in her music than most of my peers have in their pinky finger, she’s been able to impress her way to being a viral hit that’s about to land on the stage at Carnegie Hall.

When she’s not exploring the “NYC” tag on Instagram envisioning her upcoming life being engulfed in Brooklyn, she’s working on new music, and chatting with me about all of the above, as well as working with Postmodern Jukebox, being woke and a lot, I mean a lot, more.

Kendra: Last year you dropped you debut LP and you noted that Of The Sea was made up of heartbreak and heartache, but if you had to release an album next week – what emotions would it be comprised of?

Maris: I’m actually working on an EP and it’s all about romanticization and being in love or at least craving that feeling. It’s called LOVELUST. All caps and screamy and artsy like that.

Anyway, I am kind of all over the place emotionally usually. It would be easier to say what the concept of my album at this very moment. So, I’m gonna change the question a little, hope that’s alright. Right now, I’d say that it would be about learning how to take care of myself and getting to know and love myself. That’s what I’ve been focusing on and thinking about lately.

Kendra: Listening to it, “Demons on My Back” was the song I kept going back to over and over again. Gotta know, are those demons still looming?

Maris: Well, to be completely honest, I have major depression that is looking to be something I might have my whole life, so I reckon they will. As discouraging and unfortunate as that is. It certainly is helping that I distanced myself from some toxic people and I started to really recognize when I need a night to not touch my phone and I need to paint for a couple hours or I need to write a song and not care about if it’s good enough. Hopefully, I someday am randomly cured of my mental shit, but until then, I just gotta keep trying my best to be okay.

Kendra: Every song showcased that lyrically and vocally you are years above some of your peers. Where does that maturity come from?

Maris: Oh, shucks. Thank you so much, I honestly don’t know. It’s been a little difficult trying to enjoy being my age, though. I often enjoy a wine night with my parents’ friends more than any party I’ve ever been to. It’s just a lot more relaxed and I’m definitely a talker and I am much more comfortable. Maybe I was an old person accidentally rerouted to the body of a depressed teenager.

Kendra: Speaking of maturity you’ll be 18 soon. What aspect of adulting are you most scared of?

Maris: OH MY GOD. So many. Probably the biggest one is that I lean on my mom for everything. If I have a rough day, I’ll go into the living room and if she’s on the couch I’ll be like, “hey can I get a snuggle. Long day.” and she always replies, “You won’t be able to snuggle your mama when you’re in New York.” and then I get a good ol’ mama bear hug. It’s gonna be terrifying not having that stability. My mom is my hero, so I’m going to miss her SO much.

Kendra: Okay, let’s talk about some MAJOR things that happened to you lately. First off, working with Postmodern Jukebox, whoa…when you got that gig, how did you react? Also, anything you learned working with them?

Maris: I screamed and honestly after the winners of the PMJ search were announced, I was kind of crushed. I try not to let myself ever get my hopes up because I have figured if I expect the worst, anything that happens is better than that.

However, Scott followed me on twitter and said he’d love to collaborate still. So skip forward through emails about hotels etc., I was flying to LA with my mom and meeting my Grandma there. It was so so incredible. I am still honored that I even got to be in the same room as such musical talent. Scott is a genius, brilliant musician and a super kind dude. Everyone I got to work with was actually so so outstandingly sweet to me.

I was nervous out of my wits, sweating and a dry mouth and shaking hands. I actually almost asked the Uber on the way there to turn around and take me back to the hotel. I was having a severe panic attack in the back of the car, but I told myself that if I let my mental illness define me today, I will never forgive myself. So, shaking and sweaty and near tears, I walked in and did my best. It was a moment of pride and a moment of extreme blessing.

Kendra: Also, you got a tweet that went sort of viral after Kikkoman retweeted it. Do they automatically get a thanks on the next album?

Maris: Haha, I was already working on this EP before that whole video blew up. It actually blew up because of some accounts that had a ton of followers saying sweet things to me. It was already pretty viewed by the time Kikkoman decided to respond.

Kendra: We can’t forget to mention performing at Carnegie Hall in December. What’s this all about?

Maris: I have the AMAZING honor of performing at Carnegie Hall through the American Protege competition. I won a first place slot, and now I get to sing my original, “Liar,” on December 16th.

Kendra: Looking through your IG, you’re what the kids call very “woke” when it comes to human rights, love is love, all of that. Has any of that inspired any upcoming songs?

Maris: I don’t know if I’m anywhere near as woke as some of these kiddos are, but I try my best to listen and learn and empower others all that I can. I’m bisexual, and so one of the songs, actually the single from the EP, is about my experience with self-hate and homophobia around me as I started to date girls.

Kendra: Other than the NYC performance, anything else coming from you in the coming months?

Maris: I have a show at Rockwood Music Hall December 14th! I have an EP called LOVELUST coming out. I might be trying to smuggle a kitten into my place in NYC. I have some other things, but I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about them yet. I also might be forgetting shit because I never know where my brain is.

Kendra: Your Twitter has an excellent header, so based off that if you had to make a mixtape entitled “Punk As Dad,” what five songs would have to be on it?

Maris: Damn it, I wish you would’ve sent these like after I changed it to this comment on one of my Instagram photos that says something like “tbh maris, I would let you pistol whip my grandparents.” and it’s my favorite compliment ever. I would jam to that mixtape. But it is not that time, it is time to get some Punk As Dad up in here. This is just the stuff I listen to with my dad since we became good friends again.

Carolina” – Harry Styles
Take it Easy” – Eagles
Walk Like a Man” – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Green Eyed Baby” – Me (he has my first EP in his car at all times)
Something by Merle Haggard that I could never get into all the way

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