Maya’s love of writing rhymes helped her express her fear, pain, joy and hope as a teenager and later on she realized the power music held in using it as a tool to make a positive difference in her community. This has been the underlying purpose of her life’s work.
Maya has release two solo albums, the latest created with Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez of Grammy Award winning, EastLos rock band Quetzal and her husband, singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc. The album is inspired by Son Jarocho and stays true to Maya’s love of hip hop, dancehall and soul, made up almost entirely of live instrumentation, including Mexican harp, tarima and jarana. Her lyrics are powerful, vibrant, and uplifting.
Maya’s first album ‘Today’ debuted in 2003 on Mother Tongues, the first label dedicated solely to women in hip-hop. She later performed with Latin Jazz band Son Veneno, formed a group called Foreign Heights, presented and produced several hip-hop radio shows including the national ‘triple j’s hip hop show’ and her own ‘Black Beans, Brown Rice’ Radio show on radiosombra.org and was a VJ for Channel [V] Australia.
Maya’s Artivism began in her early twenties when she facilitated Hip Hop workshops with at-risk youth in Sydney’s south and west, teaching young people how to write, record and perform songs. In 2012 she was an official Ambassador for ‘The Line campaign,’ an Australian government anti-violence initiative.
In Los Angeles she volunteered as a mentor with Peace Over Violence’s Youth Over Violence Summer Institute, facilitating a song writing and recording internship around songs that discussed healthy relationships. She volunteers with Tiyya as a writing instructor for the Storytellers writing course dedicated to refugees and first and second generation immigrants of Los Angeles and she has co-facilitated a Youth Radio Internship at Radio Sombra, teaching high school students from Boyle Heights how to present and produce their own radio shows.
Currently Maya is writing new music produced by Quetzal Flores and Aloe Blacc. ‘That Ain’t Me’ is the first release for 2014 and is Maya’s answer to images and ideas of how women should look and behave pushed through marketing and media. It appropriately features an electric guitar and kick-ass drums that don’t hold back and neither does Maya.
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