Part of the piano covers posted on Twitter, Maëonthebeat never ceases to amaze us. Out of a great curiosity that she constantly seeks to satisfy, Maë can largely be seen today as a multi-talented artist. Pianist, Producer, Artistic Director, Photographer … Honored by professionals in the world of music: Damso, La Viv, Metro Boomin, Khali, Chansko, Lala & C and many others. Artistik Rezo invites you to discover the world of this highly inspiring young artist, due to her extraordinary artistic sensitivity as well as to her positive and charitable state of mind.
Hi Mai! First of all, thank you for accepting our invitation. To start, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about your educational background, please?
Hello artist Rizzo! My name is Maëlys, I’m 21 years old, and I’m mainly a pianist, music producer and art director. After getting my baccalaureate, I went to an art school in Belgium called Saint-Luc. There, we learn a lot of subjects: photography, graphic design, art direction, advertising… In short, it’s very diverse. After that, I did an internship at the end of my studies in Paris, in an advertising agency.
How did music come to you?
It didn’t really come to me in the end; I always bathe in it. My parents love music, my mother used to sing when we were young, and my father played the piano and played the djembe. With my little sister we were always very creative, inventing songs, doing shows and dances… Otherwise, the person who made me want to learn to play an instrument was Lisa Simpson with her saxophone. Unfortunately when I got into the conservatory I was 1m 20 and I was a bit asthmatic at the time and the thing was really big so I was told: “Uh no, the saxophone won’t be possible” (Laughter). So I went back to my second choice, the piano: the instrument that rocked my childhood thanks to Alicia Keys CDs. But I really don’t regret it, even if I don’t give up on learning the saxophone now. So there you go, I started playing the piano at seven years old, and I created the Roubaix Conservatory. I did 5 years of music theory and 4 years of classical piano. Arrive at 6eI decided to stop the conservatory because even if it teaches you rigor, it’s really school next to school: you had to have an average of 14 to get to the next level, and you played great songs but it wasn’t really in the style I listen to every day.
When did you start taking music seriously? To tell you you can make it your job?
Everything happened during Covid. Music played a really important role at that time. It wasn’t very good for me mentally, so I resorted to piano covers. You posted well, I took on the rap sounds that I loved. It made me feel good, because despite the fact that I was alone in the living room, I told myself there were still people listening to me. Plus, many artists have given me their support: they either liked, reposted, or commented, so that really encouraged me to keep going. It allowed me to progress, too, as I reproduced the sounds by ear, without the music. So there it is, even if I already posted covers on Twitter or in Instagram Stories, it was really 2020 that I assumed that aspect completely by posting covers directly on Instagram. At first, I was a little afraid of the look of the people I knew, people from my hometown; I was afraid they would say to themselves, “But what does that person do when you mention a rapper?” There was something of this imposter syndrome. But in the end it was a good thing, since from that moment on I was approached by beatmakers to work with. They asked me if I composed, and sure enough I did, but only for my own sake; I must have 200 videos of me inventing a piano melody on my phone, but before, I never took the time to finish them. And I thought to myself if people in the music business asked me that question, I had to be serious about it; So I started buying stuff, thanks to my family and friends.
I understand you have synesthesia. Can you explain to us what it consists of?
Synesthesia is an excessive connection of nerve cells. Basically, it’s a combination of the senses. There are several types of synesthesia: There is color synesthesia, and this is what I do: it is the fact of feeling and perceiving color when you hear music. It’s very hard to explain…and no, there are no drugs in it (Laughter). Otherwise you have another type of synesthesia, which is really associating smells with visuals. There are also people who associate emotions with numbers. For my part, I don’t really know if it helps me in composing, but in any case, there is a motivating aspect to it. Suppose it magnifies the fact that I tend to produce my feelings, from my heart.
What was your first collaborative work?
Already, you should know I’m more of a tune. As a pianist, I hadn’t officially started playing drums…so my first collaboration was with a guy called TMI, whom I basically asked for advice. Then, finally, I sent him a tune, he added his drums to it and I thought it was really cool. In 2020 I must have done about twenty collaborations in this style. Then the first time I heard a rapper on a tune was Khalil. The sound never came out unfortunately, but it was a crazy experience.
And then the first time I really had to make an a cappella tune was for Astro Boy, on vocal Too late. For once, he was the one who called me saying “I’ve been following you for a long time, I’d like to be on the project. I have a voice in my head and I want some piano on it.” It was a very difficult workout, because I usually do the opposite. But in the end it was a great experience and I’m happy with the result. Next, I worked with Yvnnis & Lilchick on Written conclusionwho wanted me to add some notes at the end of their EP Parhelia. And besides, the project was launched this year.
And what about Golden Grunt with Chanceko? How did the meeting take place?
I took one of his voices on the piano, which is called Rainbow. So he and his team followed me too. A few months later, her manager sent me a letter telling me that they needed a pianist for Grünt d’or. I was really ready for it, even though I had never had a live stream before. I was received very well, we did rehearsals and it went really well. This is the day I said to myself “It’s so cool to make music with real musicians with perfect acoustics”.
Lately, we’ve seen you a lot alongside rapper Baby. Where does this cooperation between you two come from?
Basically, it was Theo Lofstein who made the bond between us. He suggested that I accompany Beeby to the Crimson sessions. We trained together for several days, and the feeling went really well. Two days before the Crimson sessions, Beeby had his first solo gig at La Place, so he asked me to accompany him. In the end, fortunately, he told me that because we had so much fun, there was such a great atmosphere, I got to meet a lot of people and it was so amazing. After that, I still didn’t have enough self-confidence to enjoy the moment 100%. I was so focused and focused, it was obvious I was into this thing. I think it’s really your habit to start having fun on stage and watching the audience… but it was still a pretty cool moment. Then there were the Crimson Sessions as planned, and then finally there was the Mouv’ in October. Again, Pepe wanted me to accompany him on the piano for his nickname after winter. Again, it was a completely different experience from the previous ones. On radio, you don’t necessarily realize there’s a whole team in the room behind it…and yet, that’s the way it is! It’s impressive.
What are your future plans?
Right now, I really want to build my identity in music. Because people know me by my covers, but apart from that, I don’t post what I author because I’m too afraid of plagiarism on social networks. I started preparing my project in July 2021. I think there will be 5-8 tracks, I collaborate with other beatmakers that I like, and then I invite the performers to stand up. So I’m driving the thing, but it’s not a complete piano project. I’m not in the “do it all myself” mentality. I don’t care if there are 15 products in the project, as long as the result is heavy, that’s all that matters.
What would you advise young artists who do not dare to get into music?
So… it’s kind of a boatswain to say that, but you have to dare! Not complicated compared to others, there is room for everyone. You shouldn’t try to imitate others either, you really have to find your own universe and identity and find who you want to work with; Because we are never alone. It is very important to know why you make the music and why you share it with the audience. You really have to do it according to your feelings, according to what you want to make people feel. And if it satisfies more often, the better, if not much worse.
You also have to know how to surround yourself with the right people, and dare to send direct messages; There is nothing to lose, don’t ask too many questions. Everyone started from nothing: if others did it, why not? Honestly when I think of “me” 3 years ago, I could never have imagined everything that happened to me. For some, this might be nothing, but for me it’s really huge.
Thank you very much Mai!
Follow Maë on her Instagram and Instagram (photography) accounts as well as on her website.
Interview by Iris Guazzini
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