“It’s fresh yet crisp and natural, soothing yet deep
Being 23 at the forefront of an Alternative genre in the Capital of your home country Kenya, Maya Amolo is the perfect definition of a cool kid. What else beats the reality of a spontaneous creative pattern, a father who plays the clarinet, and a photographer mother who directs your music videos…Nothing.
The Kenyan Alternative RnB singer, songwriter, and art enthusiast captivates listeners with her soothing, natural vocals and deep lyrics. Maya Amolo describes her sad girl music as an umbrella term representing music as the best outlet for an honest expression of her personal relationship experiences, encompassing the ups and downs but majorly focusing on the journey to self-realization. She doubles down on repositioning herself and leaving behind whatever shackles or love chokehold she was formerly suppressed by. One of the most constant and recurring themes she consistently sticks by is transparency in her emotional vulnerability; whether it is characterized by sadness or happiness, these moments reveal honest music. And honest music to Maya Amolo is great music.
In 2020 she released her debut EP, earning her first No 1 spot at the Apple Music Kenya Top 100. In 2022, she is enlisted as one of the first artists, to be on Spotify’s Fresh Finds in Africa initiative. Later in November, released an album Titled “Asali.” The 2-year wait showcases Maya’s growth. She goes from being the heartbroken record singer to being loved precisely how she always wanted and would have dreamed of. With “Asali,” a major takeaway is the sad girl music had a good run. She ushers her listeners into a colorful and vibrant new era. This one-way ticket to bask in the rich luster of love and enjoy every bit of it. The best part is Maya Amolo stays true to her initial plan of making honest music. Irrespective of, whether it is inspired by a toxic relationship or otherwise. Each body of work conveys diverse emotions and projects different reactions, but one undeniable common ground is the relatability of both projects, regardless of their contrasting themes. Her journey to self-discovery and locking in on her soft femininity amidst travailing the dark route many females her age go through. It’s battling ditching the barest minimum with baggage men and choosing herself. Maya wins this battle victoriously. On “Leave Me at the Pregame,” she is conscious of this and the toxicity this relationship carries along. On the album “Asali,” she gives 11 strong points and convincing reasons to ditch the toxic love cycle and experience love in its most natural state. She takes the bull by the horn and enjoys the streets, in her definition is love on her own terms.
Leave Me at the Pregame is her debut EP, released in 2020; The title is inspired by the diverse ethos of the party culture in The New York Nightlife scene and the accustomed Kenyan Pregame culture. Maya seeks solace in her safe space, away from all the unexpected reality New York nightlife presents. Maya could double as a sage or poet, her keen attention to detail and deeper analogies of her art as a medium of honest and transparent expression. “Lush green” alludes to the vibrant color green on the vegetation in her residence, compared to the New York winter and dead fallen leaves. In her opinion the grass is always going to be greener at home and home is where love lies.
In the song “Puddles,” she shares the common feeling of wanting to be free from this toxic relationship space, The verse “Ring around your hoes and she no she is just my bro, and I know you lied’ alludes to the famous safe word for many – “It’s not what you think it is.” -A very relatable experience. On “GRWTH”, the intro infuses a hip-hop beat that retains the album’s general theme, the feeling of wanting to leave for better but recoiled by the soft-spot toxic feeling. Jokes, highlights the clown-circus feeling of settling for less, this song embodies the similar experience many young people experience in their self-discovery era.
The imprints of “Mau from nowhere” is championed heavily in this body of work. Mau is a Kenyan – British Rapper and producer. He produced the lush green track and has released various projects under the imprint “Mau from Nowhere.”
Leave me at the pregame serves as Maya’s therapy phase. She touches on navigating finding love and experiences the negative side effects that come with loving the wrong person as a young female. For many at this young age, it either makes or breaks you. Maya begs to differ; she describes this as instrumental to her journey of self-development and discovery.
Asali is the transition space from experiencing heartbreak to the street because why not? Asali interrogates diverse themes; the most prominent and outstanding is growth.
The first track, “About Time” is a voice memo it sounds like what everyone thinks they sound like in the bathroom. She sounds like the singing voice in your inner thoughts, the one you think you sound like during those morning shower concert moments. Asali is a sequel to a blockbuster that plays out nicely. Better than even expected. Basking in love, the track ‘Can’t get enough’ recounts a tale of a woman in the love she always manifested. The lyrics “It’s like the colors go HD when you come by. I get goosebumps round my neck like every time. And I can’t get enough” The feature list contains the familiar Mau from Nowhere, Lukorito, and Kalibwani. They all brought their A+ game, complementing Maya’s Voice and blending seamlessly on each track.
Drawing the curtains in 2022, Maya Amolo gives an electrifying Beneath the Baobabs Festival stage performance. Performing at the festival is a highlight she describes as a dream she is grateful for.
We might only be halfway into the year 2023, Maya Amolo sure does have her highlights. From gracing the front cover, of Issue V of Kenga Digital Magazine to performing at the Blankets and Wine Festival and the release of her 2023 debut single “Cotton Candy.” The single was produced by Oamen “Sir Bastien,” Additional vocals by singer and Songwriter MAUIMØON, and the mix and mastering by Lukorito. Lukorito is a familiar name in Maya’s discography as he has worked on previous bodies of work like Asali and Foundry amongst others.
As she dishes out the plans for her music, there is sure a lot to expect from Maya Amolo and her team, and my advice is to ” stay locked in.”