Maya Killtron is a singer/songwriter, violinist and DJ from Toronto, Canada.
The musician unveiled her debut album Never Dance Alone on March 22nd. Fusing elements of funk and r&b, Never Dance Alone explores heartbreak through fun and energetic records. “I wanted to capture the mood of dancing through your bad times. You still have to face them, so why not dance through it,” explains Killtron.
With the help of producer Don Mills, the Canadian artist designed an explosive debut album made of catchy melodies, brilliant harmonies, soulful vocals and up-tempo records. Never Dance Alone features the previous releases “Whiplash”, “Satin’ Sheets”, and “Red Dress”.
Never Dance Alone is now available everywhere.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
My name is Maya Killtron. I’m a singer, violinist and DJ from Toronto, Canada. I write & sing funk boogie pop songs, I still play in an Orchestra, I believe Chaka Khan is a god & gross Ikea hot dogs are my favourite food.
What's your story?
I grew up playing Classical Violin & Fiddle and also Saxophone in band at school. The only musical dream I had was to become an orchestra violinist and if that didn’t work out I would cruise into Egyptology…Neither of those really solid plans panned out...
When did you realize you could sing?
In Gr 6 I entered the school talent show and sang “Always Be My Baby”. I didn’t win and I don’t think it was good AT ALL but it started something.
Growing up, what were your favorite records to sing along to?
Mariah Carey - DayDream. I listened to it every day for hours and copied every note, run, inflection… I had to buy the tape twice cause I wore it out!
Do you remember the first record you've ever bought?
I saved up my allowance from raking leaves & shovelling snow to buy Dance Mix ’92 - which included such hits as “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones, “Sensitivity” by Ralph Tresvant (FROM NEW EDITION) & “Strike It Up” by BlackBox. I also wore this tape out.
Do you remember your first performance ever? What lessons did you learn since then?
I’ve always performed since the age of 5 but I really learned about how to entertain much later. My Classical training taught me to always be prepared, always practice and with that you can really have fun with the audience. If you’re having fun, smiling, dancing, enjoying being there, your audience feels that energy. The worst is going on stage unprepared, worried about the show. An audience can feel that too.
What gave you the confidence to release your original music?
I played for a lot of other groups coming up, wrote music and collaborated with them but always felt I wanted to do something different. It was something I really wanted for myself, make something of my own.
You recently released your debut album Never Dance Alone. How would you describe this album?
This album is the music I always wanted to make. It’s fun, dancy and takes it back to a time in music that I love. I talk about a lot of heartbreak, bad decisions & bad relationships but I wanted to make the music fun. The idea was that I could dance through my problems. It’s boogie, it’s funk, it’s R&B.
Could you describe us the songwriting/production process for this album? Who did you work with?
I worked with a great team. Specifically producer Don Mills who helped solidify the sound and direction of the record. We both love boogie and funk and wanted to make an album where each song was full of old school synths, thick baselines, horns and of course full string arrangements. It takes a lot longer to make music like this, co-ordinating more players, writing more parts but it was worth it. We like to think if it as timeless, not just a throwback sound. Digital recording with real people playing.
Any favorite memory from the making of this album?
Finishing the first single “Never Dance Alone” and realizing “hey, we have something here”. It made us all feel like we had started something great. More importantly when we all sat back and listened to the finished track, everyone said, “that song sounds like a Maya Killtron song”. I found my sound.
What's the story behind the song "Automatic”?
I love the Pointer Sisters. They delivered hit after hit in one of the widest span of genres by any one group EVER. They also really sang. No autotune, no effect, just straight up singing and tight harmonies. I wanted to include one of their songs on the album. While “I’m So Excited” and “Jump For Your Love” are the big big hits I always loved Automatic and Ruth is QUEEN as lead on the original. I think the sound is the perfect post-disco funk 80’s sound that I love so much.
What was the best part about making this album? And what was the hardest part?
The best part of making the album for me was doing the strings. I love singing more than anything but I had never figured out how to incorporate being a violinist into any solo project. It felt amazing to finally figure that out and to equally embrace being a violinist and singer. The hardest part is doing all the admin, business, marketing on my own. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and the list of “to-do’s” is never ending.
What did you learn about yourself after finishing this album?
I learned what I’m capable of creating. I learned that it’s just the beginning for me. It feels fantastic to be finished but I am anxious to keep going, keep writing, tour and continue to make more music.
What made you want to name your album Never Dance Alone?
While it’s the title of the first single, it’s also a little message to myself about working hard, valuing your team & sharing what you have, then you’ll Never Dance Alone. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that. Maybe it’s a bit cheese but it’s just a little thought in the back of my head that keeps me going with a smile.
What is your goal for this album?
First and foremost I hope the music reaches people, makes them dance and smile. So far so good but still a long long way to go. Also I hope the album opens doors to international touring. My dream is to tour with Chromeo or Chaka Khan.
What do you like the most about creating music?
It’s very freeing. It’s cliche to say but writing music & lyrics often more easily express my feelings then talking about them in every day life. It’s also ownership. I made something with my name on it, from my brain. Even if it’s not a Billboard #1, nobody can take away that you were its creator.
What does it mean for you to be an artist?
I’m still figuring that out. It’s my identity. The art may change as I evolve and grow but I’ll always be an artist.
Any favorite songwriters?
Stevie Wonder is probably the one great living songwriting legends of modern times. He’s so prolific. He’s someone who’s evolved as a writer with the times using music to teach, heal, spread joy. He is a living legend.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
Equal access to opportunities in Education.
What biggest lessons have you learnt as a human being and as an artist?
Kindness reigns above all else.
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