A native of Fukuoka, Japan, San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Maya Hall’s initial encounters with music – like many musicians who go on to make a career of it – began early - and naturally. Maya’s inner nightingale first blossomed via sing-a-long videos her parents bought for her when she was young, and, in the process, taught her basic English skills. At the incredibly early age of 6, she got a cassette player/tape recorder and independently started recording herself singing harmonies on top of the recordings. Japanese Karaoke Boxes were common hang out haunts in Maya’s teen years, and she and her friends frequented them after school and sailing activities- whenever they got the chance, and, it provided her a platform to sing her heart out. During her college years and before her move to the US, she soon became musically recognized in her community, taking part in a variety of different acts in Fukuoka and Tokyo. It was during this period she began to truly begin to create a foundation for her artistry and intrinsically sculpting her personal musical style. Today, it has grown to encompass a conglomeration of contemporary jazz (Norah Jones), folksy singer-songwriters (Joni Mitchell) and gentle, introspective Indie rock (Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten, Keren Ann).
Maya took her first major leaps in her journey with music after moving from her small seaside town to the metropolis of Tokyo. Fresh on the heels of a 10+-year stint with a collegiate competitive sailing team, one afternoon Maya strolled the streets of Tokyo’s Koiwa neighborhood where she lived and noticed a new “Live Jazz Bar/Café” that had opened. She spotted the owner of the café pouring coffee in a fashionable manner, also noticed on the wide-open heavy steel door was a flyer posted: “Looking for bands and players. Book a Show!”. Noticing there were no customers, Maya felt herself magnetically getting sucked into the café.
“As soon as I walked in, to my own surprise, I directly announced to the owner, ‘I saw the flyer outside and I want to sing’,” Maya wistfully recalls. “I was so nervous. He looked slightly surprised by my odd approach. But then he picked up a nearby guitar and asked me if I wanted to sing a song.” She chose the Norah Jones version of the classic jazz standard “Nearness of You”, and sang along coyly and bewitchingly.
And that was that. The humble, serendipitous beginnings of Maya’s singing career. Without delay, the owner invited Maya to join the Jazz Jam Session Night that was held every Thursday night at the “live bar” club. Still building up her confidences, these thrilling jazz nights became her first experiences singing in front of crowds which, thus far, was the most terrifying experience she has ever had – floating about in a new Country with different ideas and customs. She immediately became a regular performer at the Jazz bar.
Maya went on to self-train herself to play guitar in order to write her own songs (and because it seemed the easiest musical instrument to carry around, she jokes!), and has done so with the same musical agility and signature silky and sweet style she reveals when she sings. Like her voice, her guitar-playing style mirrors her singing. When she plays, her chord progressions, dainty riffs and interesting rhythms seem to paint an exact glimpse into her soul. The very first song she wrote on guitar “Summer Ashes” (one of many of Maya’s compositions inspired by nature), which she eventually recorded for her first album. (From a small beach town, Maya was inspired by the beautiful scenery at the end of summer and the beginning of fall.)
But, greater shores were beckoning, and in 2014 a wide-eyed, shy Japanese girl arrived fresh faced and full of ambition in the enchanted City by the Bay in the US – San Francisco. Knew she had the urge to pursue her growing musical desires and ambitions although ,other than that, had no real direction in mind other than setting herself on a new Californian adventure, one rife with bigger musical pastures.
Although she was new to the land and the people, she quickly began performing at open mic nights (her first was at SF/s legendary Hotel Utah) and performed her first official U.S. show at Bazaar Cafe. The evolved into forging valuable connections within Bay Area music circles, becoming an integral part of the local singer-songwriter set. All of these connections let to Maya finding herself in the studio in 2015 to work on her debut album with Tommy P (11 Ave Records), a local producer and singer-songwriter she met in the SF songwriter community. She released her highly-anticipated debut record in April 2016. Today, Maya continues to play shows in San Francisco, albeit at larger renounced clubs such as Brick and Mortar, Bottom of the Hill, Doc’s Lab and Neck of the Woods, The Lost Church.
Maya Hall is currently working on her 2nd studio album and plans to branch out with a cross—country U.S. tour, to share her unforgettable music with other regions of the States.