We had the good fortune of connecting with Maam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maam, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
There is an illusion of safety in making decisions aligned with social norms, but the truth is there’s no safety. Any decision you make and even the ones you don’t is taking a risk! I’ve never seen diverging from prescriptions as taking risks, but rather as an opportunity to align with my personal vision and follow my intuition. Taking a risk for me is placing myself in modes of action and thought that are antithetical to my vision, values, and sense of purpose. I’d rather fail 1000 times pursuing something meaningful to me, than something perceived as safe but instead is insidious to my emotional, physical, and mental well being. It is this particularity that has guided me as an artist and helped me be steadfast in my pursuits.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Life is a brief but unwavering absurdity where we try and distract ourselves from the inescapable reality that everything and everyone will eventually fade into nothingness. In this, I’ve learned that meaning isn’t derived from some grand destination point or achievement, but is created in the everyday mundane moments in which, we commune with ourselves and others. My work strives to hold and create space for individuals to be subsumed in beauty, hope, and wonder even in the darkest of times. Whether through composition, performance, piano instruction, film, or even photography, these anchors continue to ground and propel me to utilize my creative agency to help others generate spaces that foster introspection, self awareness, empathy, and curiosity.
My latest music release is the soundtrack for the feature film “Tethered”, now out on all platforms. I also just finished writing the music for the documentary “Black Over Blue” about policing while being black, which is in post-production. Currently I’m finishing up my sophomore project entitled Whatever Gods, set to release this summer. In addition to my endeavors as music artist, I’ve began teaching private piano lessons and just had photography work published in the February issue of Vanity Fair.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Leisure for me is centered around developing a cocktail of natural beauty, art, music, community, and food. Listed below are some of the places and things I really enjoy:
Point Dume (one of the most gorgeous places)
Bike riding in Santa Monica
Drinks @ EP/LP
Hiking the Devils Backbone
Wabi on Rose
Degnan In Leimert Park on Saturdays/Sundays (it’s a whole vibe)
Art Gallery Pop ups
Houser and Wirth
A long walk through Venice beach right before sunset
Community spades game with my neighbors in Leimert Park
Drinks @ Elephante
Chocolate Sundays @ The Laugh Factory
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a whole tribe of folks who hold me down on a regular basis, but this shoutout goes to the most important book I’ve stumbled across “The Power of Now”. I was introduced to this text by a friend in 2008 and regardless of how my personal perspectives have shifted, it has been an unwavering reminder to be still, to have gratitude, and to understand what’s truly important. Perhaps the most salient lesson I’ve learned from it and continue to strive for as a moment by moment practice is one of mindfulness. This teaching has single-handedly been transformative in my work, relationships, and those quiet but sometimes turbulent moments alone with my thoughts. It’s a kind of attentiveness that’s concerned with only what’s happening in the moment, not of things to come or things past. It’s a particular liberation that enables you to dismiss the mental noise, gain clarity, and engage with your creativity without judgement. In my artistic endeavors, mindfulness has been a paramount to completing work without the interception of judgment spoiling ideas and setting unattainable expectations for what the work should be and how it should capture audience’s attention.