Interview

Meet Maris: The Viral 18-Year-Old On Fire

It all started when Maris cold-entered a competition to sing on a popular YouTube series Postmodern Jukebox. After its founder, Scott Bradlee heard Maris’ voice, he brought her in to sing a version of “Jolene” in May 2017, which would go on to earn over 900k views

However, she experienced her true taste of internet fame only later in July. While she was practicing for a local Montana gig, Maris jokingly grabbed a bottle of soy sauce and used it as a microphone to sing Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” as requested by her mom. The following morning, the video had over 100k views and 60k shares. The next day, Kikkoman Soy Sauce asked Maris to write a song for their commercial. Viral fame was not something Maris was aspiring for, but the video settled at just under 4M views on Twitter.

Later that summer, the producers for the return season of American Idol approached Maris for a chance to audition. Fast forward to November 20th, and Maris was in Los Angeles standing on the ABC stage next to Luke Bryan at the final round of auditions. It was the season where American Idol partnered with the American Music Awards. Maris took a risk by performing Etta James’ standard “Fool That I Am” completely acapella. Unfortunately she did not make it through, but she has continued posting different covers and her own original songs. Affinity had the opportunity to interview this soulful artist as she continues her journey. Enjoy!

What have been some of your favorite experiences over the past year? 

One of my favorite experiences over the past year have been moving to New York, because it was really my launch into adulthood. Challenging, but I love a challenge. I also loved going back home and visiting for the holidays; I really miss my family and seeing them again made my heart warm.
Playing Carnegie Hall also has to be one, because it was such a magical night, and I got to spend time with my parents afterward.

How will your new EP, LOVELUST, be different from your previous work?

The EP isn’t actually coming out anymore, with life issues and management issues, it was too prolonged for me to be behind it anymore. As an artist, my goal is always to grow and grow and grow. Over that time I grew exponentially. Not only as an artist but also just as a person. I put up a secret SoundCloud with demos and other little tunes from the EP, but the EP won’t be formally released.

Did you ever expect to come as far as you have at such a young age?

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve come quite far enough! I think I’m always craving more, but I’m obviously super fortunate and grateful for the madness and amazingness that I’ve experienced. I’m always going to be reaching higher, though. Looking to grow more and get better.

How do you balance your music with everything else in your life?

I work a job where I often have 14hr shifts (not even counting in the time it takes to get to and from work with MTA: the world’s biggest scam). Those days, I barely have time to do human things, let alone make music. I’m hoping that soon I won’t need a day job, but I’m never going to put my financial stress on music unless it’s easy to do so. However, when I have a day off or film a cover for my Instagram, it relieves the tension of not being able to create on the hectic days. I do need to do a better job of getting out and making friends, though.

What is one artist that inspires you? Why?

One artist that inspires me is and always will be Frank Sinatra. I really admire and strive to achieve the stage presence and charisma he attained. A whole room would be captured in his voice, so he wouldn’t even need the gimmicky shit.

He was a complete and total class act, up to the very end. That’s the kind of performer I want to be.

Where do you see yourself by the end of 2018? 

I’d like to see myself happy, working full time in music and maybe touring. Touring would be the shit.

Check out Maris on her Instagram, Twitter, and her WebsiteAlso, check out some of her music on her SoundCloud.

Cover Photo Courtesy of Kaitlynn Hildebrand.

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