Story // JoAnn Zhang

Photos // Courtesy of Facci PR

Indie pop singer MARIS’ new single “Voicemail,” reminds us of the joy of a conversation that doesn’t require an immediate response. Like a spoken letter, it records feelings too important to lose in thin air, and has all the nostalgia of a slower, more peaceful world. A voicemail is a gift, a little capsule of someone’s voice, their day, their tears, their joy. Reprising that, we sent MARIS a few questions, and then we waited patiently for her to leave a message in our box.

What sparked your interest in music?

My interest in music was definitely sparked by a general love for noise. I love to just sit and listen, and I also love to be loud and make as much noise as possible. I love using my voice in dynamic ways, and really experimenting with the expression. When I was little, I spent a lot of time alone after my parents got divorced, and I’d sing and dance to music all of the time, so naturally I became codependent on it. The rest from there is history!

What are your biggest sources of inspiration in music?

My biggest sources of inspiration vary depending on the day, how I feel, what I’m obsessed with at the time. Right now, my biggest source of inspiration has been the band FIZZ, random bands from the 80s, and Phil Collins.

Growing up, what experiences most influenced your music and decision to make music? 

As I touched on a bit previously, I was definitely drawn to music as a friend and a comfort when I was a kid. My sister would make me mixtapes on CDs that were full of pirated music of all different kinds. From Leonna Lewis to The Backstreet Boys, I got a little taste of everything on these mixtapes.

What inspired this single, and what was the process of creation like?

Voicemail was inspired by the long, drawn out voicemails and phonecalls I make to my family, especially when I’m going through an existential crisis. I tend to overthink, so I experience these quite often. I’ve also been away from home since I was 18 years old, and being in a big city can be so lonely and so scary. I noticed that I always end our phone calls, or the voicemails I leave with “anyway, I love you. Thanks for calling, ’cause i miss you. Guess I’ll see you when I see you, I’m just lonely so I gave you a call.” and it ended being the perfect run-on lyric to end the song on.

What makes you passionate? What topics get you heated?

I can pretty much get passionate about anything, but recently I’ve been very excited about practices of presence, taking a lot of inspiration from Buddhism. I’ve also been practicing guitar a lot more, preparing for a show I’m opening for the Wrecks on October 26th! I won’t get into all of the topics that get me heated, though. We’d be here all day.

What has the response been like? 

The response to the song so far has been exciting! I’m dedicating it to my family, particularly my little brother William, who i call Squid. So, I asked my Instagram friends to comment squids on the announcement reel, and the comments were flooded with them. To the outside eye, it’s totally random, but I love having an inside joke with people who enjoy me and my music!

How do you feel?

Overall I feel very excited to be putting out my last song of the year. I love this song so much, and it’s helped me shake away so many feelings of anxiety and heaviness since I wrote it. I am stoked as hell to see if it can do the same for everyone else!

What are your biggest goals for the future?

My biggest goals for the future are definitely to play a headline tour that immerses listeners into the world I see when I write my music, release a full length album that I feel really represents me right now, and get better at being present in every important moment, so I can fully soak it in.

Thank you so much for chatting with me! I’m a huge fan of Lady Gunn, so it’s truly an honor. I hope you like Voicemail!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *