Fender Sessions Featuring Australian Fender Next Singer-Songwriter MAY-A
The latest Fender Session episode features Australian singer-songwriter MAY-A. MAY-A, a 21-year-old from New South Wales, has had a meteoric rise over the past couple of years. Springboarding from teen years busking and building an audience on her YouTube channel (of over 215k subscribers), she released her first E.P Don’t Kiss Ur Friends, has collaborated with Flume on the hit Say Nothing (currently sitting on 3.8M views on YouTube), performed at Coachella, and recently announced a support spot with The Wallows.
Filmed at the famed late-night venue Frankie’s Pizza, this episode features an Australian powerhouse on the rise. MAY-A has hit her stride; see and hear why as she talks guitars, music, and the creative process and performs her new rocking single Sweat you out my System, plus past favourites Apricots, & Say Nothing with her band.
How did the collaboration with Fender come about?
I met Heath from Fender Australia when I was around seventeen, I bought my first guitar – that was truly mine- from him. He got me the opportunity to shoot this piece with them four years later. I feel super grateful for that and I don’t think he knows how much he’s subtly changed my life.
What is your choice of Fender guitar/s and why is this the obvious choice for you?
I was first drawn to the Jazzmaster when I started playing electric guitars. I loved how the body felt and the neck strings provide an easy bend. Since playing more I’ve started to like a Stratocaster over anything else, it’s a staple and pretty iconic. I think I’ve got a way to go in regards to knowing much about guitars and finding the perfect fit but for now a Strat is always fun to play.
Is picking a Fender guitar like going to a candy shop?
Oh yeah, you want everything all at once. I spend a lot of time in the Manny’s music store and I pretty much have to blindfold myself when walking through the guitar section. There are too many options and I want to see them all.
Have you been stoked with the reaction to your new single Sweat you out my System?
So stoked! It has been really well received. We did our first headline show in London and sweat had been out for a few weeks at that point, I didn’t know what I was expecting but it was so insane hearing people sing those lyrics back full force. I can’t wait to keep playing it and hear all the different crowd reactions. I’m proud of that song and I’m so glad people seem to be proud of it too.
What is the story behind the single?
The basic notion of trying to get over somebody that you can’t seem to quit. It was a fun song to experiment with, we tried a whole different bunch of things in the studio that I hadn’t done before and I think the excitement of that really came through in the track.
Did the ideas for the song come quickly?
The song practically appeared out of thin air, it felt like it fell out of my body in a way. I usually start a song with a page of stuff I’ve been bottling up and they eventually take the shape of lyrics through writing and re-writing, but this song I just got straight in the booth and sung whatever came to mind while playing with different vocal tones and sounds and we just continued to follow what felt good. It was really freeing. We finished the song in a few hours.
Are there plans for new music this year?
Absooooolutely. I’ve been sitting on a big bunch of music for a while and we’re all sorting out the best ways to release it. I’m excited and slightly nervous to see what people think of the collection of songs we’ve settled on, but very very excited to put some more out.
How awesome was it playing at Falls Festival?
Falls Festival was so much fun, I hadn’t really done a festival with my band before this one so it was a super fun learning experience, festivals are crazy fast paced and super chaotic but there’s something magic about reaching a different kind of audience that may not have heard your music before. The demographics are super different to a headline show so seeing all the different kinds of people in the crowd is super cool.
Who are some of your musical heroes you look up to for inspiration?
I’ve always looked up to Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift, I used to be way more of a closet Taylor Swift fan and I wish I didn’t hide it so much as a kid hahah. But they really shaped the way that I structure storytelling in my music and the value of poetry in songs. I’ve loved the Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes since I was a younger teenager and I think they’ve really influenced the way I look at playing live and band dynamics. More recently I’ve been drawn to 070 Shake and Roy Blaire among a plethora of other artists, I admire their art and the way they approach music in a more unconventional way.
Are you looking forward to being able to tour more broadly around the country over the summer?
Yes!!! As much touring as a person can get, I want it! I just want to play shows with my band until the end of time.
Interview By Rob Lyon