Surrey-based Maya Lakhani was inspired to go it alone as a solo rock artist when the pandemic hit and made it impossible to start up a new band. She’s since honed an alluring, atmospheric alternative rock sound fusing heavy guitars and pounding drums with her soaring vocals, which she describes as “dark, stylish and fierce.”
When the pandemic set in, Maya set about learning how to create her own music, on top of performing all the guitars and vocals, from her bedroom. She’s since released two singles that you wouldn’t think twice to having been professionally produced and recorded.
As Maya tells us: “I have been in bands all my life, my first one was at the age of 12 – very School of Rock! When the pandemic hit in 2020, I really missed making music. Starting a new band seemed impossible, so I decided to start making solo music! I learnt how to record, produce and release songs in lockdown from my bedroom.”
Maya released her debut single The Line in November 2020. The track is a personal anthem for the circumstances we all found ourselves in at the start of last year, which gave Maya the opportunity to cross “the line” and pursue her solo career.
It jumps straight into engaging vocals “I’m always drawn to the darkness, Things that wreck my mind, I’m always drawn to a sweetness, That don’t satisfy.” It soon feeds into a catchy chorus with a darting guitar lick and driving drums under Maya’s vocals “The line the line, I’m drawing over, The line the line, I take control of, The line the line, It’s my disclosure, The line the line I’m starting over.”
A second chorus feeds into engaging vocals “I’m starting again, Shock to the system, There goes my sanity, Hit by reality” over drawn-out guitars. That drops into a final blast of the catchy chorus with soaring vocals coming in over the top. Check it out in the stream below:
She’s since followed that up with the darker Walk Alone, which addresses the important issue of women’s safety, the injustices women face, and the need for women to be able to feel safe without fear of attack or abuse.
It opens up with haunting vocals “It’s not just after dark” over stabbing guitars, which develops into delicate high-pitched vocals. That flows into echoey repeats of “All I want to do is walk alone” over a delicious guitar lick and heavier drums.
A second chorus is followed by the meaningful vocals “I want to walk all alone in the dark, It’s not much to ask, It’s not much to ask, With my music in blaring, Don’t want you to stare, Or to pull me out, Into the dark.” The delicious chorus vocals return and bring the track to an atmospheric ending.
On the track, Maya told us: “Walk Alone is a dark alternative rock song, electric and emotional. I wrote Walk Alone on Friday 12 March, when much of the conversation was around women’s safety. I was angry, sad and frustrated that women still can’t walk alone without fear and that our culture still promotes victim blaming. I put all of these feelings and emotions into this song.
“The chorus only features the lyric “All I want to do is walk alone.” I wanted to highlight the fact that in 2021, women still feel fear over such a basic human right, to walk alone.”
Maya’s music is largely inspired by Red Hot Chili Peppers and female singer/songwriters like Lana Del Rey and PJ Harvey. As she explains: “Red Hot Chili Peppers were my first introduction to rock music, I went to see them live at Hyde Park when I was 12, my first rock gig! Shortly after this, I started my first band. I’m still influenced by them to this day.
“Lana Del Rey is a huge inspiration for me. I think she’s an incredible songwriter, the pictures she paints with her lyrics are beautiful and totally unique. PJ Harvey too, I love strong powerful women of rock & alt! Stories from the city, Stories from the sea is one of my all-time favourite albums.”
And on what inspires her to write music, Maya tells us: “Songwriting is a really cathartic exercise for me. It can be a way for me to process big issues, like I did with Walk Alone and also to make strong statements. My debut single The Line was a way of me setting an intention to pursue music and to lay down healthy boundaries. I love writing songs that have catchy melodies and hopefully stay with you.”
There’s much more to come from Maya, who’ll continue to write music from bedroom. As she says: “There will be lots of new music from me in 2021! The beauty of producing all my music from home is that I can work on new music whenever I want to. It’s very freeing, and means I can release as much as I like no matter the restrictions.
“I’m very excited to start booking gigs too! I have literally never played any of my music live with other musicians, so it will be awesome to experience it in that way!”