Maina Doe is music’s latest rising talent that is getting the world acquainted with the Sydney, Australia sound. Emerging from a scene that for years was rooted in old soul and jazz; she is branching away from the shadows of artists like Hiatus Kaiyote to be at the forefront of the city’s shift to more contemporary styles of music. Maina Doe cites artists like Andre 3000 and Frank Ocean as inspirations. Her music is best described as an R&B fusion influenced by electronic , hip hop, and soul.
The singer-songwriter was born in Bandung, Indonesia to Somali and Indonesian parents and moved to Australia during childhood. Music was a path of her own choosing considering the fact that she did not come from a musical upbringing.
My mom thinks she can sing, but she can’t (laughs). My dad however, he plays the guitar, he plays drums, and he sings as well. Fondly enough though, I didn’t grow up with him. I think maybe the passing on of like musical interests and musical inclinations is probably genetic if that’s a thing.Maina Doe
Maina’s path in music has consisted of her paying her dues. Prior to releasing her own music, she worked and performed in the Sydney music scene for five years under her first name Nasra before adapting a new style and stage name to match.
In 2019, Maina Doe dropped her first single ‘Delusion’ to great reception and worldwide attention. Building on that momentum in 2020, she released her latest track, ‘Unwritten Laws,’ produced by fellow Australian artist, Genesis Owusu. The themes presented in her song writing speaks to the artists plight. A journey of working past self doubt. The process shedding old versions of ourselves while being transparent and fearless enough to follow our hearts.
Maina Doe’s natural charisma not only comes from her positive energy, but also her unapologetic honesty. She makes it known that she’s creating her own lane and you can either be here for it or not. Either way, she’s still going to do her own thing.
I had the chance to connect with Maina Doe to know more about the new artistic territory she plans to step into and how she’s pushing her own creative limits while embracing her seasons.
Check out our conversation below:
So you’re from Sydney Australia. I’m curious as to what the scene is like artistically or musically out there and how it has shaped your sound.
The Sydney scene here is like only starting to really bloom in terms of like R&B and Hip Hop. I grew up going to a lot of jazz gigs cause that was really big here in Sydney and Melbourne. I think the landscape here is really so interesting because R&B and Hip Hop only really started taking off maybe in the last five or six years. Being exposed first by jazz then moving onto meeting people who were doing a lot of R&B and Hip Hop really shifted me from being this live performer who did a lot of jazz and soul, into being more contemporary exploring R&B as my thing. I mean I always knew it was my thing, but I just didn’t have people who were in it with me.
That leads me to my next question about your single “Delusion,” Which you cited as being your first release. Since you had been doing music for some time, what was it about that particular track that made it the start?
Delusion was the track I chose because it literally is like me working through my insecurities. Working through my own thoughts of doubt. I never thought that music was gonna be like a viable life option to be honest. Then, I was like you know what, I’m gonna do this. This is my song, this is how i’ve been feeling, let’s go.
You mentioned you didn’t see music as a viable career option was there a certain career path you were trying to choose?
I was at Uni working towards a liberal arts and science degree…Quit that shit obviously (laughs). To be honest, i’m really blessed. I was working with all of these successful musicians as their backing vocalist and session vocalist. It really exposed me to the fact that music is viable and it is something that people make a living out of. It’s not this far away unattainable dream that I thought it was. It was actually something that I could have in my life if I just plucked away at it and just worked towards it and stuff. So yeah, that’s kind of where it flipped for me.
You’re an independent artist in the digital age. What are some insights you gained so far about your creative process or just the music industry overall?
My biggest lesson so far, I think when it comes to the music industry is; One, the team around me, they have to be people I fuck with as humans. If that’s not the case it makes me feel like I’m doing a job rather than expressing the freedom that i’m trying to create for myself. That’s kind of my biggest lesson so far in the music industry and the digital age, like that is freedom…I can do what I want. I can release when I want and the people that do resonate with it are obviously people who really fuck with me.
It’s very interesting to see how artists are now navigating trying to remain creative and push content during quarantine. One thing that you did was your song ,“Overtime” you did a performance in your home. How did that come about?
That idea came about, while we were in quarantine. I was like okay, there’s no live shows, I really want to sing live, let’s do a live video. At first we were just going to keep it really simple, just film me, in the house singing. But then obviously, me being a Virgo perfectionist, I was like; I think the vocal should be live and they are, and all the footage was live. I wanted it to look and feel a certain way because that’s really how romantic I saw the world when I was in quarantine.The logistics was so easy cause I have a team that is like my family. Everyone that was involved are people that I truly, truly love and we just made it happen.
You had mentioned that the live show was going to be important for you to do because you’re going into new territory. Im curious as to what that means, what’s up next?
The way I sang, the way I wrote was very old soul influenced and that was very much the old me…I knew that people are gonna be like surprised when they hear the new project. I just wanted to close it off with like the most purest musical essence that I had which is just the keys, the backing vocals, and myself. I’m going to go into new territory. It’s going to sound different , it’s going be different effects, it’s going to be more experimental in many ways for me. I just wanted to close it off with that simple, natural , vibe you know?
You said new music is coming, is there like a date, when can people expect that?
Definitely 2021. It’s in the process of being finalized now. I’m fucking nervous dude. I’m nervous as shit!
Why are you nervous?
Because it’s so different. I think as an artist, people start expecting the same thing from you in a way. The nerves come from doing something completely different. Like what if they don’t fuck with it? What if it’s so left of center that they’re like; what is she doing? But I really don’t give a fuck. Like i’m going to do it anyway.
How would you want the world to know Maina Doe?
I just want to be real.There’s so much out there that’s so different and everyone’s pushing their own thing. Just want to solidify myself as someone who is doing me you know what I mean? I want people to hear my shit and be like oh that’s definitely a Maina track…There’s only one of me and I want to be as real as possible.