Can you tell us what you’ve been up to over the past few months?
- Maryze: I only started releasing music as Maryze in April, so I’ve been writing a lot of lyrics and figuring out my voice as a solo artist. I performed a few shows in Montreal and Vancouver last summer, and it’s been exciting to try out new songs live!
But most of the past few months have been dedicated to preparing for this release! It means so much to us and we wanted to make sure everything was perfect with production, mixing, artwork…We also had to prepare emotionally to share our stories.
- Ciele: I recently jumped into being a full-time freelance artist and musician, so the last few months has been a big hustle. Getting an online shop running, working on paintings, released some prints and enamel pins and also a lot of the fundamental work for this project has been happening the last three months. And as Maryze said, preparing every element of the release, include ourselves, emotionally.
You guys just released your new single “Men Like You” a few days ago. Can you tell us how “Men Like You” came about?
- Maryze: I started working on the lyrics for “Men Like You” about seven years ago but was too scared to share them at the time. I didn’t even want to admit to myself that I had experienced assault. It wasn’t until I started hearing so many similar stories to mine from other women in the music industry (like Ciele) that I realized I wasn’t to blame for what had happened to me. When the conversation around #MeToo exploded last year, I felt like I needed to finish my song and put it out there to contribute to the conversation – both for myself, and to hopefully help other survivors feel like they weren’t alone. I asked Ciele if she would collaborate on the idea with me and here we are! She was really the only producer I wanted to work with on “Men Like You”, since we’d already built such an awesome foundation of trust and support. I knew she understood exactly what I had gone through, and that we’d create something really special.
- Ciele: Five years ago, I experienced a scary and traumatic assault by someone I was working with on a musical project. At the time Maryze and I both lived in Victoria, BC and were both connected to said project. I was growing increasingly uncomfortable having to be around the individual and one day I confided in her what happened because I felt I could trust her. Sure enough it turned out Maryze had also experienced assault a few years prior and we connected over getting through the trauma, and supporting each other. It wasn’t really until a year ago that this project began taking shape, even though she had written the lyrics and melody several years prior. We had a lot of discussions around our experiences and trauma, and it kept coming back to taking our power back. So we decided to step into the roles (musically) of the individuals who abused us and create something together in spite of them. Maryze as songstress and musician, myself as producer and vocalist.
What is it that you most want listeners to take away from “Men Like You”?
- Ciele: It’s important to us that survivors of abuse know that they aren’t alone. And that abusers know that we aren’t going to stand here and take it anymore. Expectations around what is acceptable behaviour needs to change, especially around sex, consent, and people’s bodies.
What has been your process leading up to this very personal release? Biggest struggle? Best moments?
- Ciele: I think we’ve both had moments where the reality of our pasts, and of making it public, really hit both of us. It went in waves and usually one would feel it and the other would rise up to support them and vice versa. We had many conversations around what was safe for us, emotionally, to tell the public once the song was released, and what each other’s boundaries were. It’s been really important that we both feel safe during this process and supported by each other.
- Maryze: There have definitely been moments when it felt overwhelming, and like “why are we bringing up all these painful memories for ourselves”? But I personally felt like the longer I suppressed trauma, the more it started negatively affecting different parts of my life. In my healing journey, and I think in Ciele’s too, this is a really important chapter for moving forward. The best moments have been connecting with each other and realizing that we are in full control over the way that we choose to tell our stories. No one can take that from us.
Are you making a music video for “Men Like You”? (if yes can you spill any details about the video) Will there be an EP/Album out soon?
- Ciele: There maaaay be a music video! We have a concept and a plan, but we’re looking into funding at the moment so it all hangs on that factor. I think telling this story in an artistic, visual way would give it even more power, so fingers crossed we can make that happen (hopefully sometime next year).
I think we’ve both got some personal projects on the go currently as well. For myself, I am working on a 4-5 song EP that will hopefully come out early next year!
- Maryze: I’m finishing up my debut EP, and planning to release it in early 2019! It’s going to be bilingual (some songs in French) which is an important part of my creative identity and expression.
Will you both be pairing up again on any upcoming releases?
- Ciele: We don’t have any specific plans for it at the moment, since we’ve been so heavily focused on this project but it’s definitely not out the question. I love working with Maryze so much and I would collaborate with her again in a heartbeat.
- Maryze: It was such a great experience that I would love to work with Ciele again! She is seriously an angel. Maybe next time we can switch roles and she can perform the main vocals
Do you have any last things you want to tell your supporters?
- Maryze: Thank you for listening. Please know that there is always someone you can talk to if you are experiencing abuse – there are great online resources available to survivors. You don’t have to stay silent if you want to speak out. I would also add that everyone has different ways of healing, and that however you decide to move forward is completely YOUR choice.
- Ciele: We’re really grateful to everyone who has taken the time to listen to the song, and share it, and send us their messages and stories. We love you guys, and we’re all in this together. We believe you. We believe survivors. All survivors.