Music runs in the family of singer and songwriter, Maia Sharp. She is the daughter of fellow country songwriter, Randy Sharp, who has written hits for country artists Clay Walker, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, and many others. Maia herself is a writer for other musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Art Garfunkel and several others, as well as musical collaborations with Raitt, Garfunkel, and Buddy Mondlock. Her most recent solo release is with her fifth and current album, Change The Ending, that she is currently on tour for. National and local media press has given her stellar reviews, including Billboard, USA Today, American Songwriter, Relix and numerous others. We chatted with Maia about her music as an artist and producer, how her writing has evolved throughout the years, her favorite things, artists, guilty pleasures and more. Check it out!
You are a producer and artist. Which do you enjoy doing more, and what are the different aspects of each that make it difficult or easier for you?
Maia: Fortunately I enjoy both because the two are totally symbiotic. If I wasn't an artist, I wouldn't know how to talk to the singer, and if I wasn't a producer, I wouldn't know what to do with a new tune to see if it's really something.
How has the musical recording and writing process evolved for you throughout the years?
Maia: I think when I was younger I wrote less about actual events in my life and focused more on the craft of the song, realizing (admitting) that I was in my 20’s and I hadn’t lived enough to bring song after song about something truly interesting. Now that I’m not in my 20’s anymore, I can write about plenty of real experiences, and I’m hooked on that now. It’s a song and a vent.
When you first came on the music scene (in 1997), is there anything you would have done differently then, now that you have been in the industry for over a decade?
Maia: If I could be me now transported to back then, I would have handled things differently and with more confidence, but I don’t think I could have done anything differently as a 25 year old going into every situation for the first time. I worked hard, I didn’t squander opportunities….no regrets, just the pitfalls of youth.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
Maia: I love that every night something is actually accomplished. A transaction takes place. I perform these songs that I’ve labored over and people hear them. That’s it. There are no politics, no publishers, no submission for a song placement, it’s just me and the audience and we’re sharing the same experience.
You have penned a number of songs for high-caliber artists, such as Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Trisha Yearwood, The Dixie Chicks and more. Which single written for other artists, has meant the most to you?
Maia: I'm very fortunate that, amazingly, every one of my songs that have been covered by another artist has been done well (I have friends where that's not the case) but, I have to say Bonnie Raitt's version of "The Bed I Made" felt like an arrival. She sang it like I meant it, and it was BONNIE. This person I had idolized for so long and was now interpreting my song perfectly. Soulfully. That's the one that made me have to sit down and take a minute.
What was your first album on vinyl, CD and/or cassette?
Maia: If you’re asking about my stuff, I fell in the gap. Many of my demos to labels and publishers were on cassette, but when I got my first deal, vinyl had just gone away so all of my albums have been on CD only. Vinyl is back though, in a big way, so I'm hoping to get another shot at it.
The first album I bought on vinyl was Queen’s Greatest Hits. I think my first cassette was The Hurting by Tears For Fears. I still love both of those albums. Damn, I have to rebuy them now.
Who was your first concert and do you have a favorite one?
Maia: Good one. My first concert (that wasn’t my singer/songwriter dad, Randy Sharp) was Men At Work at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. My favorite was soon after. Eurythmics, also at the Greek. I love Annie Lennox so much I can’t stand it.
What are top five albums and/or bands that you wouldn't want to live without?
Maia: Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, Meshell Ndegeocello
Do you have a guilty musical or entertainment pleasure?
Maia: Would Queen count? I have never ever changed the station on Queen. Brilliant. Oh, and “Honey Boo Boo” sometimes. That definitely counts.
Is there any music that makes you cringe?
Maia: Oh yeah. A cheesy lyric wrecks my day. I have nothing against other people enjoying it, but I can’t take it. Bums me out.
Maia performs at Eddie’s Attic, Saturday October 12, with guests AG and Garrison Star. Grab your tickets HERE.
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