INTERVIEW: Mariya Stokes

Hi Mariya, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great – thank you for asking! Things have been a little nuts with Covid but because my touring schedule has been so relaxed this year I’ve had a lot of time to focus on songwriting and that has been awesome.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Rebound”?

Recording this song was terrifying and freeing at the same time; I’ve never released anything as raw and honest as “Rebound”. This song explores the complexity of being in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable without judgement: the vulnerability and compassion expressed in the lyrics are at its core. 

My producers and I decided to keep the production stripped down and acoustic sounding so the story told in the lyrics would be the focus, like a traditional country or Americana song. It’s is very close to my heart and I hope when you listen to it, you know that if you’ve been in a relationship like this – whether you’ve been the rebound of the person who was rebounding – you’re not alone.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Let’s just say I’ve been the “Rebound” before once or twice. 😉

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

My good friend, Julianna Procyshen of “Not Your Designer” created a beautiful lyric video to go with the song. She hand drew illustrations that deepen the story told by lyrics and I can’t wait for you to see it.

How was the recording and writing process?

Initially, I showed up to a co-writing session with Aaron Pollock with the first line of the chorus: “She’s the one that you get when the one that got away is already gone.” Once I pitched that line to him, his eyes lit up and we both knew we were onto something that resonated with both of us. The song poured out in about 90 minutes – which is pretty short for a co-writing session – and we were both really proud of the story we told.

The recording session was a bit of a different story. I kept getting in my head while I was singing so my producers Justin Kudding and Spencer Cheynce and I had a little tequila to loosen up. As you can hear on the vocal performance of the song, I loosened up a little too much and started to cry. It ended up serving the song in the end though because the emotion really came through in the final recording.

What role does Canada play in your music?

Canada plays a huge roll in my music. I am a prairie kid from a tiny town about an hour south of Calgary, Alberta – my rural roots hugely influence the artist I am today. My parents raised me with Terri Clark, Corb Lund, and Shania Twain and without those iconic Canadian musicians I would not be who I am.

I was fortunate to work with Terri Clark at National Music Centre’s RBC Masters in Residence program in 2019 in Calgary, Alberta and it was a surreal experience. My whole life I have listened to her songs on the radio and looked up to her, so spending time with her and hearing her advice was so cool. In my experience, Canadian musicians are some of the kindest, most down to earth people in the world and I’m so thankful to call this place my home.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Absolutely. I have new music coming out in 2021 that I’m stoked to share with you. During the past few months, I have been writing for my own project and also for a few other artists I love. Keep your eyes open in the new year – I’m collaborating with a funk project, an EDM producer, and a pop artist so there might be a few surprises coming out alongside the Mariya Stokes music.

Any tentative release date or titles in mind?

I can’t give firm dates yet but I can give you a title, even if it’s a little edgy. Look out for “F*** Pretty” in the new year! It’s a song I wrote with Shea Michael about creating your own standards for self-worth and loving yourself for what’s on the inside, instead of focusing on appearances.

What else is happening next in Mariya Stokes’ world?

Vintage, local fashion is a huge passion of mine, especially around the 1970s era, so I’ve been working on a fall Lookbook with Lorelle Holmes, who is an amazing designer from Calgary, Alberta. I curated a Calgary Stampede Lookbook in 2019 featuring clothing I love from Western Canadian, female-run clothing brands and I can’t wait to shoot a different season in 2020.

Music wise, I’m heading to Saskatchewan and BC for a series of shows in September and am opening for Jade Eagleson with Devin Cooper at a drive-in concert! Hope to see you on the road when it’s safe!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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