Hey! My name is Maya and i'm a singer and a songwriter - I have many years of experience in singing - on stages and in the studio - in many different genres and projects. I am new to SoundBetter and am excited for the possibilities this platform holds and meeting new creatives!
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Interview with Maya Johanna
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I am a professional singer and voice actress, have been active for 15 years. I am also a songwriter and perform with my own material, which is indie-folky. Most of my work as a session singer is for backup vocals on songs and different media commercials. As a voice actress I do narrating for online and TV/Radio commercials and ads, as well as dubbing for foreign programs, cartoons and more...
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love all types of music. I believe that if art comes from a true place then it shines outwards and is easy to connect to. I admire people who are hardworking and follow their heart and their dreams, even if it is sometimes hard. I admire professionalism and honest people. some of the artists that I love and inspire me: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Fleetwood Mac and the amazing Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Judee Sill, José González, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Elliot Maginot, Fever Ray, Feist, Laura Marling, Monica Heldal, MGMT, Nick Drake, Hanne Hukkelberg, Sun Tailor, Ali Farka Touré, Alison Krauss, Tori Amos and more..
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a small home studio where I can record, and I also love recording at other studios if needed. I Usually use a Rode NT1-A condenser and an SE Electronics RF-X Reflection Filter. I have a few guitars and a ukulele as well as different percussion instruments that I play and perform with.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I love taking the time to try different options and find the best one that works for both me and the client. I will usually listen to the song and go over the text. I like to get as many details from the client as to the feel, the idea behind the song... what they would like to convey. It is important to get the right feel and to be on the same page. I will try to record different options and then send the best ones to the client - then they would listen and give any feedback if there is any.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: professionalism, hard work, attentiveness, sensitivity, intellect, patience, tons of experience, fun :)
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I would say that is being super easy and comfortable to work with. I have that sensitivity to situations and people, to the client - to the process, to the art and the work itself. Throughout all my years of experience I've been told that many times. and from my experience as a client with other suppliers of different sorts - that is one of the things i appreciate the most.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: anything that my voice could complement... Iv'e done many genres, from Pop songs through country and Americana to middle eastern music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Trust the process, Leave some room for mystery and the unplanned.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: José González!! I LOVE his music and his gentle but so accurate arrangements - He always inspires me. It would be a dream come true to work with him.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I love folk and Americana... Indie Folk... I have a silky voice that would be great for any type of soft song, but I can also belt and play around with my voice to create different styles.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started singing in 1998 when I was 14 and went on to take vocal training throughout high school. I grew up in Israel so I was drafted to the Israeli Navy, where I was in the Navy's entertainment group for over 2 years. We performed almost every day and even toured in Euroup and the US. After my service I went to study music at Rimon School for three years. I majored in vocal performance and songwriting. During those years and the years to follow I was active in numerous productions, bands and choirs, as well as vocal training. In 2010 I teamed up with a veteran folk guitarist named Shay Tochner and together we toured Israel and the US and recorded 3 albums of folk, Americana, Irish Scottish and Australian renditions. We went on to very successfully work together for the following 6 years, performing in the most renown and prestigious venues and festivals around Israel and selling more than 5,000 copies of our CDs independently. In 2015 I released my debut original album "Bells In Our Stomachs", comprised of songs I wrote and composed and which was produced by singer-songwriter and producer Sun Tailor, and mixed and mastered by 4-time Grammy award winner Ryan Freeland. I have been performing with my own music for the past 4 years and recently moved to San Francisco where I am currently working on a new EP and looking to collaborate with more artists. I have been a session singer since high school when I started singing, so I have a ton of experience in being in the studio and understanding the necessities and nature of that type of work as well ( as opposed to being on stage). As a songwriter and a co-producer of my own music, I also understand the producers point of view. I am extremely easy and comfortable to work with and I love being totally immersed in the process and the art.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: a piano, guitar,uke, a bass drum and my zoom recorder :)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know what you want, have references - It helps us as providers to understand what you are looking for and help you reach that. If instructions are too broad you might get something you like, but you might not. Always good to do some research in advance and collect ideas and references to things you liked and think can work for your specific project. Having that said, I encourage clients to keep an open mind for some ideas that they might get during the process, and also be aware that an idea that you have in mind might not be possible to achieve in exact details - don't fall in love with all the details - know what you want but be flexible.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What exactly are they looking for, what are their expectations, how can I help them get the result that they want.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Some clients think that the process of delivering the right product is a matter of just a short amount of time and therefor doesn't need to be compensated too greatly. The time and money and patience it takes a provider to reach a point where they can deliver a product (a vocal recording for example) fairly quickly (in the clients eyes) requires years of trying and experience, as well as money for getting the right gear and mastering it's use. When you work with a provider you don't always see the process. When I sit down to record I need to set a time and sit down and connect the gear, reach the right specifics, record several options, deal with troubleshooting if there are any, edit, send... These are all things that require time and patience.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love having the variety of different projects - it always is interesting for me to get a peek into the backstage of a new idea or piece. It is exciting to be working with different people. I also love the flexibility and the fact that it allows me to work on a few things at the same time.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will always do my best to deliver the work they need, in the shortest time I can, with experience and professionalism.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I'm a total analog girl in every aspect - I love the old school methods and am a sucker of everything vintage. Having said that - I appreciate the efficiency that digital methods provide and how everything is more accessible to basically any one.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I am totally new to SoundBetter !!!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently writing new songs and am in the process of finishing the recording of my EP!!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I had the honor of singing in so many recordings - as a backup singer and a lead singer. I recorded 4 albums of my own - but the one I am most proud of was my own original material - I wrote the music and lyrics and then produced the whole thing (Not musically - for that role I took Sun Tailor who did the arrangements and the musical production as well as playing and singing some Bv's) - from finding the right musicians, managing the schedules and the finances (I ran a crowdsourcing campaign for two months where I was able to raise more that $15,000 from almost 400 fans!), and everything related to the process of bringing an album to life (recording studios, rehearsals, finances, negotiations, artistic directing, printing and distributing, promoting and PR) - It was the most significant project of my life and I love the result! (Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/maya-johanna/sets/maya-johanna-bells-in-our-stomachs)