Actress & Singer/Songwriter Maya J Sits Down With TMI To Talk About Her New Song “Symptoms Of You”

So Maya, you started your acting career at a young age, what inspired you to begin acting?

I’ve always been artsy, and I grew up in a performing arts community. I played violin for a long time, and I was around orchestras and theater programs constantly. The first time I realized I wanted to act, I was in 8th grade. I had wanted to be a singer before then, but it just took so long for my extreme stage fright to go away.

What was your favorite role to play and why?

As of now, my favorite role I’ve played was probably Monique in Muted, and not only because the story was rich… but because that was such a warm set to be on. Everyone was supportive, loving, and unbelievably welcoming. Getting to meet and work next to Chandra Wilson was fabulous I must say, and such a huge bonus!

What actor/actress are you influenced by?

Oh Gosh. This is tough, but at the top of my mind as far as actress influences, are Taraji P. Henson and Reese Witherspoon. Their careers are so inspiring and they prove that actors can do any type of role. I am also completely in love with comedic geniuses like Tina Fey, Kate Mckinnon, and Jim Carrey. You do not have the ability to watch them and not laugh. It’s just impossible, right?  

You are getting ready for the lead role in a new teen / young adult comedy series, Live Out Loud. Can you tell us about this new project of yours?

It’s a pilot actually, and still in pre-production. But as more people are finding out about it, and wanting to know more about it, it’s very exciting because we feel like the show can really go somewhere and enjoyed by so many people. It’s more young adult than teen per say, but based on the script, I think that people aged 14 can like it, and people aged 50 can like it. If you like funny, we’re coming at you. I can’t really divulge any other details right at this moment about the show. Just keep checking in about it!

You also started your singing career at a young age, what inspired you to start singing?

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to finally start getting music out there. started it at all. Music has always been in me, and I knew that my career had to include it. I wanted this for as long as I could remember, so it’s so rewarding to see things finally starting to come to fruition.

Did you want to be an actor and singer when you were little, or did that develop later on?

I knew I wanted to be a professional creative since I was old enough to talk. However, I wasn’t able to verbalize exactly what that would be until much later.

How would you describe your musical style?

My musical style is extremely moody and minor toned. Whether a song of mine is up-tempo or a ballad, it is almost always written in a minor key, and has a chill factor to it in some way. Based on my personality, you might think the opposite, but when it comes to music, something else just pours out of me.

People have their own idea of how they would describe it, but I’ve heard some tell me that musically, I remind them of Skylar Grey, Rihanna, Carly Simon, and Melissa Manchester. Those comparisons are obviously ALL over the map, but each of those 4 people are extremely talented artists, so I am definitely going to go with it! If you think I’m like them in any way, I think I’ve done something right.  🙂

Are there any artists you look up to right now?

There are a lot of artists today, that I admire for their work and dedication, as well as the impact they’ve had on the music industry. My music may not be like theirs, but I do have so much respect for them. Britney Spears, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, and Skylar Grey would fall into this category. I also admire Justin Bieber, because he has been through such a hard time with the world and his career, and he still managed to come out on top holding his head high. That kind of strength is beautiful.

Your new single, “Symptoms of You” is amazing. How did this song come about? & What’s the meaning of the song?

Thank you ! This melody and these lyrics really did come from inside my heart 100%. I wanted the song to have an ambiguous meaning for the general public, because then everyone can find the way they relate to it on their own. This song is about true need and longing, even when that need does you wrong. Insert however your heart feels, and sing it that way. I’d be interested to know everyone’s experience with that.

What’s the process for you to write one of your songs?

Chords, Melody, then Lyrics. Sometimes, it’s lyrics, chords, and then melody. It really depends on the day, or on my mood. If i’m not alone or in quiet, I can’t cultivate a song in the best way possible. That being said, I still know that a song can come to me at anytime, and anyplace.  

Can we expect any new music soon? If so can you spill some details about them?

Yes definitely! You’ll see 2 new singles from me this year, and an album out soon. Dates are kind of up in the air as I speak, because my schedule keeps flipping around, due to working with different people, but I’m having a blast and I hope you love what you’ll hear next. The next single will be called “Come Find Me”. Stay tuned for that, because I’m very excited to release it.

What are your friends and parents thoughts on your career in singing and acting?

My friends are so supportive, and funny. They’re always parodying Symptoms, putting their own lyrics to the music. My family is proud of me, and they’re proud of my accomplishments, however that doesn’t stop the lectures and advice from coming in. Haha! I’ll always be the baby, so they just can’t help it! The important thing is, no one treats me differently, or acts weird around me.

What goals have you set out for yourself in your career and in your personal life?

My goals right now are truly to make great music, and to be a part of awesome films and television shows that tell a compelling story. I also want to make people laugh, and make days a little brighter. I will be happy as long as I make a living being creative, and able to share what I love in the world. As for my personal life, I just want my family healthy, safe and happy – and for me to keep the three of us strong as ever.

What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your career as a singer and actor?

I think the release of Symptoms of You, honestly. That record took so long to work on, and it went through so many changes. To get to the place that it is now, is such a big accomplishment to me. I know I’ve had my share of accomplishments in my acting career too , but I also know I have miles to go in both arenas. I have so much more that I want to share and say. All in good time.

Overall, how has this whole acting and singing career experience been for you?

It’s been fun, it’s been rough, and it has been everything in between. This journey is something that I never expected to be so bumpy and so fun at the same time. It’s hard, it’s sad, it’s happiness. You do take the good with the bad in anything that you do, so I’m not complaining. I’m just thankful to be in the game at all.

Do you have any advice for anyone trying to make it as a singer or actor?

Absolutely – Never quit. It sounds completely generic and basic, but actually it’s the only true advice I can give. There is no formula for making it in this industry, but the one thing that every successful person has done is persevere. So do that, and you will succeed in life.

What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?

Probably Twitter. I know people say twitter is dying, but I totally reject that! Honestly, I can talk on Twitter without necessarily having to post a picture, like you do on Instagram. I love Instagram, don’t get me wrong! – But with Twitter, it’s just easy to talk without posting anything if you don’t have a photo to post at the moment.

Does your fan base have a name?

Glitter Bombs . 🙂 I share that with the BIGGEST smile ever. All of you need to head to my official site, www.thisismayajenkins.com, and subscribe for exclusive updates and BTS access.

What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?

Well, I haven’t had any insane fan encounters (yet) ! I have had a very cute fan encounter though. One day in Target, a little girl walked up to me and said “OMG I love you, and I love your hair so much! I follow you!” and it was so adorable coming from a 10 year old’s mouth.

What’s an average day for you look like?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my music, preparations and recording. Unfortunately, since I live in LA, bad traffic accounts for at least 50% of my day, lol. We have to try to laugh about it or else you can be tempted to jump out of the car!

What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?

Curious, Dreamy, Believer, Jumpy, Different.

If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

Secret Tales on the Pink Puffy Cloud  

Who would you want to play you?

If it wasn’t me, I would want either Tia or Tamera (Mowry) to play me. They could pull it off so well, plus I’m such a huge fan !

Last thing, Do you have anything you want to tell your fans?

I want to tell them that I truly love and appreciate all the support. I also want to let each one of you know that you’re all beautiful too. And No matter what remember, no one’s life is perfect. Embrace your journey, and STAY SPARKLY. Hugs! – Maya

1Symptoms of You Cover Art - Photo by Ryan Domingpe

Check Out Maya J’s New Song “Symptoms Of You” Here: 

Maya J iTunes Link: https://itun.es/us/0WBHgb
Maya J Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2JEzN9Kd27sCWAUoSASQKQ

Make Sure To Follow Her On Social Media: 

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA0qtgjQw9c
Twitter – https://twitter.com/everythingmayaj
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mayapapayalove/

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