If you close your eyes while listening to Maya Payne’s “Jungle” you may imagine a girl running through the forest, light haphazardly illuminating her through holes in the dense canopy. She avoids numerous perils, quicksand, darkness, a tiger, and climbs a tree, emerging through it’s dense branches, surveying the jungle surrounding her.
But this is not the kind of song you close your eyes to.
This is the kind of song you bop your head to, dance to, sprint to. It is a pump-up song, an excellent work-out song. It’s like the funky EDM version of “Eye of the Tiger”.
Running towards the light
I won’t stay down, back down, won’t drown
in the quicksand that pulls you under, be a tiger have the hunger.
Way down, way down, way down way down
Through the jungle.
In these lines, like in so many others, you get the sense that she’s a fighter; it feels like the whole song is taking place while someone is sprinting through the jungle, facing adversaries she’s not scared of.
She relishes the challenge.
The consistent pumping of the music, from its initial building rhythm to its sudden stop, calls to mind jungle imagery – someone groping at branches, climbing to the top of a canopy of trees. Even the beat drops, which are preceded by an assembly of notes that climb up toward a sudden fall, resemble someone crashing through branches on an adrenaline high.
Maya’s electronic music mixes with the sounds of drums, pulling the wild jungle into a contemporary city scene. When she questions
Why you trying to put a cage around me?
…you imagine looming trees, and looming buildings.
This song is fun, catchy, and has the ability to get any listener pumped, like most of this New Zealand singer’s music. Maya is a self-made success story; she released her debut EP “The Lucky Ones” in 2016, where it reached number six on the New Zealand album charts. The single “If Only” from the EP hit number one on the Spotify viral charts in New Zealand and Poland. Now, in 2018, she’s back with this driving single, “Jungle”.
Go check out Maya’s new music for yourself and read all about how it came to be below.
When and why did you start writing songs and music?
I started writing when I was really young. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t writing. Honestly, if I think back to being 7 years old and asking my parents for singing classes, I think it was all of the Hannah Montana shows I watched haha. I also had a very musical family so I was always surrounded by music.
What is your favorite thing about making music?
There are a lot of things I love, my favourite would have to be the release I get writing down my thoughts and feelings. As cheesy as that is, I believe it’s really helped me through a lot. I also love being able to travel and meet lots of amazing people.
What is your process for creating music?
I usually start off sitting at my piano or guitar and play around with chords, then I do a lot of vocal improvisation until I find things I like. I record EVERYTHING on my phone so I don’t forget anything. It’s not always the same though, I might start with lyrics already finished and work around that and other times I feel inspired when I’m about to sleep or driving and I have to get my phone out to record it. I feel it’s so important for a song to be great on its own away from production, so I always like to write the song on a piano or guitar first.
What emotions, thoughts, feelings do you want your music to inspire?
Love, empowerment, happiness, inspiration, comfort… anything that makes people feel good.
What was the first part of “Jungle” to be written?
The chords came first and I had the idea for the song before going into studio.
I won’t.. stay down, back down, won’t drown…
was the first melody we liked. Then I started singing the
way down, way down, way down we go, way down, way down, way down through the jungle
part in my head while Kai worked on the music. It was a really fun song to write.
What is “Jungle” about, for you?
I came up with the idea for Jungle when I flew to LA for a spontaneous writing trip with a friend. I knew basically no one there, and had been thrown into this concrete jungle. We wanted to play on the theme of a real life jungle and the idea of going for what you love.
Whether it makes you uncomfortable getting out of your comfort zone, or others who want to tear you down. It’s about breaking out of that shit and doing what you love. For me, that’s related to pursuing my music career, pushing myself to do things I wouldn’t usually do and growing thicker skin, because I know not everyone’s going to like what I do.
What’s next for you in terms of upcoming music / shows?
I have an albums worth of songs that I’m finishing. It’s really exciting, once they’re out I plan to play more shows!
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