Check out our interview with rising Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Maya Donovan who just released her new single “We Should Get Dinner” on May 11th. Inspired by the all-too-familiar feeling of growing apart from friends following college graduation, the track is a brutally honest testament to the frustration that comes with the experience of one-sided relationships. We would love the chance to work with you in securing coverage for this highly-relatable single.

In an age of social media and instant messaging, friends should theoretically be two clicks away. Unfortunately, we often lose touch with the people we care about, which according to Maya Donovan, creates a particular sting in this digital world. “We Should Get Dinner” expresses in a powerful combination of raw lyrics, a soulful melody, and buttery vocals, the frustration of growing apart from people due to lack of effort and communication.

Follow Maya @mayadonovanmusic

Hi Maya, please tell us a little about you.

Hi! I am a 24-year-old Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter. I write a lot about anxiety, interpersonal relationships, and what it feels like to be a human in the age of the internet.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Warm, nostalgic, sarcastic

We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?

I’ve been writing and singing for pretty much as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d improvise little songs about my thoughts, feelings, and the characters in imaginary worlds I’d invented. I was always convinced this was what I wanted to do with my life and luckily my family has always been in full support of me pursuing music. My parents are both creative people so they have an intimate understanding of what it’s like to do project-based work and hustle to make a living outside of a 9-5 corporate world. I think having them as examples has been a massive force in allowing me the patience to push past the many discouraging parts of being a young artist.

How has this changed your life? 

Making music has actually been one of the few throughlines I can trace throughout my life. It’s the thing that makes me feel the most connected to younger versions of myself and it’s the practice that has remained consistent through many other circumstances changing around me.

Describe your sound in 3 words.

Fresh, but familiar.

Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?

The singer-songwriter genre is so dominated by guitar-centric music, so as a pianist I always identified with piano-playing artists like Sara Bareilles, Carole King, and Norah Jones. Oh, and I think the final scene in the Lizzie McGuire movie made me want to be a performer. My cousin and I used to act it out like every night.

Do you play any instruments?

I do! I play piano. I used to play cello as a kid, but I haven’t picked up that instrument in quite a few years. I’d love to learn guitar, but right now I’m too committed to my nail art to cut them for the sake of playing lol…that’s the honest reason I’ve avoided it.

Do you ever get nervous?

Oh boy, yeah, I get very nervous. Overall I’m a deeply anxious person, and performing is no exception to that, but something magical does usually happen when I perform. The anticipation is always an emotional mess for me, but once I’ve settled into myself on stage, I actually feel pretty at peace. I joke with people that I often feel more comfortable singing about intimate details of my life to a full room of strangers than I do having certain social interactions with people I know.

Tell us about your new single “We Should Get Dinner?”

We Should Get Dinner is different sonically from a lot of my other music (at least in the way we produced it). It has a kind of 80s vibe while hopefully still feeling modern and staying faithful to a singer/songwriter sensibility. It’s an angry song, or at least it was born out of a moment of frustration, so it has some bite which makes it cathartic to sing.

What’s the story behind the song?

After I finished college practically my whole graduating class moved to Brooklyn which is where I grew up. Very quickly all of these Brooklyn transplants became way more knowledgeable about the city – the best new restaurants to eat at, shows to see, etc – because I tend to prefer hanging out at my apartment over competing to be heard at a crowded bar. There was this simultaneous experience of no longer feeling like an expert in my “hometown” and also losing touch with friends who were spending their time really differently from me.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is performing. There’s nothing more gratifying than playing songs live and having the real-time exchange of energy with an audience who is audibly reacting to what you’re doing.

If you weren’t in music, what would you be up to right now?

In another life, I would’ve been a linguist. I love learning about language and I wish I spoke more!

What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?

Recently I’ve learned not to hesitate to block people online. For a while, it felt like cheating to do that, like in order to be authentic I had to sit with mean comments, but once I decided to start blocking, it was such a relief to take back just a tiny bit of power from the unwieldy ocean that is social media.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

I was always very caught up (and still am, so this is advice for my current self too) in what other people find fun and how different it is from what I find enjoyable. I’ve always judged myself really intensely on that and I wish I could let myself enjoy what I enjoy, which is spending a lot of time alone and often acting like I’m 40 years older than I am haha.

How would your best friend describe you?

I hope my best friend would describe me as dependable, thoughtful, and really fun to watch reality tv with.

If you were a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

“Don’t Fuck With My Siblings”

I’m the oldest of 4 and I’d take a bullet for my little ones.

What’s next for Maya Donovan in 2023?

You’re going to see more new music from me in 2023!

What is your favorite healthy food?

Chickpeas. I eat so many chickpeas and though they often betray me and make me very bloated, I love them roasted, raw, as hummus, anything!!

And your favorite cheat food?

I don’t think there’s such a thing as a cheat food… food is just food:) With that said, I have a massive sweet tooth and would love to eat Haribo gummies all day long if they wouldn’t ruin my already terrible teeth.

How would you explain your fashion style?

It really depends on the day, but I think when I feel most myself my style is ~ grandma on the prairie~.

What is your own definition of happiness?

I don’t think happiness is a place we can (or should) strive to arrive at. As the saying goes, it’s a feeling, not a destination. So I guess to me, happiness is in the little moments where I get to lose track of time and feel like a kid. Honestly, that often comes from playing music!

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

I wish I could spend a little more time with my grandma. She died when I was 14 and we were very close. I always wonder what our relationship would be like if I got to know her as an adult.

What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?

I’m not a huge fan of flying, so my favorite vacations are road trips with friends.

Best advice ever given?

My mom taught me and my sister to pee after having a bad dream. The idea is to flush it out of your system. I have nightmares constantly, so it’s practically a nightly ritual for me.

Do you support any charity?

In the scary world we live in, there are so many people and organizations who are doing invaluable work. I think the most effective place to channel resources is into community funds like mutual aid so we can take care of our neighbors.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

I’m not sure! I assume my career will take twists and turns that I can’t even imagine. I’m open to whatever opportunities present themselves! As long as I get to be creative and make music, I’ll be excited about what I’m doing.

What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?

Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”! It never disappoints.

What do you think of Social Media?

It’s the worst, it’s a black hole. I am so easily manipulated by it. I wish I could say I’m the kind of person who avoids it entirely, but I am a big consumer and not a big content creator, so for the most part I just get the brainwashing and not the juicy dopamine spikes.

Where can we follow you?

TikTok @mayadonovan

Instagram @mayadonovanmusic

Book: I can’t lie- I’m a slut for Sally Rooney. I love all of her books so much.

Quote: I won’t repeat the whole thing here (it’s long), but it’s Martha Graham’s eloquent words on the “divine dissatisfaction” of being an artist. The quote comes from a conversation between Graham and Agnes de Mille and it inspired the title of Sara Bareilles’ 4th album (“The Blessed Unrest”), which is how I first came across it. Whenever I’m being cruel to myself as an artist, I think of her words.

Movie: I’m always in awe of the movie Arrival, I think it’s so beautiful.

Tv Series: This is hard, there’s SO much phenomenal TV out there and I am an avid watcher, but I’d have to say Pen15. It’s absurd, devastating, and hilarious. I can’t recommend it enough.

Favorite Food: Literally anything pickled.

Travel Destination: Iceland is probably my favorite place I’ve ever been. It feels like the end of the world in the best way.

Sports Team: Unfortunately, I could probably only name like 3 sports teams and I can’t say I have any loyalty to any of them!