Maya Jupiter is a name synonymous for being one of the first women of the Australian Hip Hop industry to burst onto the scene with her artful rhymes and fierce flow, representing Sydney on a local and international scene for many years. Always one to stay true to her roots and represent the real in hip hop, Maya has gone from strength to strength in her Hip Hop journey. Through several album releases ( Today, Maya Jupiter ) , chart topping singles ( ‘Get Yours’ with Foreign Heights) and tireless work as a radio and TV presenter supporting the Australian Urban Music community Maya has branched out across the pond and begun setting roots in the urban metropolis of Los Angeles.
Fitting that she has taken on a move and change in musical scenery given her rhythmic ancestral roots being Mexican and Turkish, Maya has never been one to conform to the confines of what hip hop should sound like. In her later years she has defined her sound to comprise of a fusion of Hip Hop, Chicano Rap and World music that has seen her travel the world with her husband and fellow artist / musician Aloe Blacc, both sharing the stage and engaging crowds at festivals, concert halls and stadiums filled with the new breed of hip hop followers.
Maya may reside in LA for now, forging a new path for her sound and creativity, but her legacy remains firmly intact back home in Sydney. She has kicked open the door for many up and coming femcee’s to follow in her wake and has some left some mighty big shoes to fill in her absence. Maya continues to promote Aussie hip hop on her global grind, never forgetting the community and scene that was her springboard to success. Respected for her hard working ethic and originality, Maya continues to elevate her game and make her journey in Hip Hop as unique and authentic as she is. Read on to discover the next instalment in the life of Ms Jupiter.
Such a pleasure to finally get a chance to talk to you Maya …..How has life been treated you how late and where are you currently based?
I currently live in Los Angeles; I’ve been here for almost 5 years now. Time sure flies! Life here has been full of personal and professional challenges, but that’s part of why I wanted to relocate so I definitely got what I was looking for.
Most of the Australian urban music community knows of your tireless work promoting not only Aussie Hip Hop on a global scale but also paying close attention to the world music genre as well and always connecting with your culture through all you do…. Would you say that your focused has changed somewhat now that you are permanently based in LA and working musically with your husband?
I have grown a lot as an artist. I was lucky to meet two inspirational musicians shortly after arriving in LA. Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez have been a big influence on me artistically. They have encouraged me to take singing lessons, learn Jarana* and participate in Fandango*. I feel that a part of me has been nurtured here that was somewhat neglected in Sydney. The experience has expanded my musical palette and given me confidence in expressing myself in different ways other than Hip Hop.
My husband Aloe has also been a big influence, watching him create music and travelling the world together, I’ve learned a lot about the art of song writing and storytelling.
(*an 8 string instrument used in Son Jarocho. Fandango is the practice of Son Jarocho)
How would you best describe Maya Jupiter and what you stand for as a female in the Hip Hop / World Music community?
I am an artivist (artist/activist) who uses music as a tool to create positive social change.
Your thoughts on the roles of the females in Hip Hop today and how that role has changed over the years from when you first started in this game to now?
I’ve never looked at Hip Hop through gender (nor race) so it’s hard to comment on this question. Society has changed and so has pop radio. When I was growing up I heard Salt n Pepa and Queen Latifah on the radio. Listening to them made me feel empowered, as did Janet Jackson, MC Lyte, Monie Love and Lauryn Hill. We don’t have that balance on the radio anymore. It’s hard to find a song on pop radio that talks about social issues, the betterment of people or progress. And Hip Hop has merged into Electronic Dance music. You can’t stop change, I get that, so I understand that my style of Hip Hop will forever evolve and with that, I too evolve.
There is so much great Independent music coming out from all over the world so I use blogs to stay connected and informed.
What do you love about Hip Hop and its message?
Firstly, I think Hip Hop’s message depends on the artist and the song.
Mostly, Hip Hop is a personal expression. I love that it is a vehicle to tell your story and experience. There is a lot of therapy in telling your story; Hip Hop also informs others about circumstances, living conditions and situations.
Have you been creating any new music and what projects are you currently involved in?
Yes I am working on a new album right now; I’m having a lot of fun with it and being very free musically. I’m in an optimistic, fun place right now and I think the music is reflecting that.
Other projects I’m involved with, I volunteer with Tiyya a non-profit organisation who assist in the settlement of refugees. I have been co-facilitating a writing course.
I also have a fortnightly show on community internet radio station www.radiosombra.org called “Black Beans and Brown Rice Radio.”
What are your thoughts on the perception of Aussie Hip Hop to the rest of the world and why?
Most people I’ve met in The States and Europe aren’t aware about Aussie Hip Hop or what happens Down Under. They don’t realise how culturally diverse we are or what goes on musically. They are always excited to learn about us though, which is why I love having the radio show, I try to bridge the gap.
Maya Jupiter – Phenominal
What do you miss the most about Australia and how often do you come back home for a visit?
I miss my family and friends most, especially the young ones I’m missing out on watching grow. Lucky for Facebook I can keep up through pictures 🙂
I miss our Healthcare system! And how our government supports the Arts. Sometimes the arts community complains about how sport is a bigger priority, well we’re doing fine compared to the US where funding comes mostly from private philanthropists.
I miss our beaches and our quality of life.. ok you’re making me homesick now!
But I know that as far as the entertainment industry, this is where my family needs to be right now.
Relaxin – Cornbread feat Aloe Blacc & Maya Jupiter
Your current playlist of tracks you are listening to at the moment?
So much new music hitting my ears right now…
Mr Zux just released another album on fire! AfricanSpearacy, I love this man, check it out.
Ladi6 just put out Ikarus which I’m loving..
And Quetzal’s Imaginaries just won a Grammy Award, it is by far my favourite album of last year.
Your mission statement in life?
Live life powerfully, with integrity and purpose.
For more information on Maya Jupiter visit : www.mayajupiter.com
Always Hip Hop,