“Sunday Night” by MAY is cinematic; a walk down a rainy street in a forgotten city, her voice is simultaneously inviting and bewitching which is the perfect ambience for her haunting, yet bright music. I sat down with the Australian singer-songwriter to discuss herself, her music, and her time in the unforgotten city of New York.
MAY’s clearly defined aesthetic is drawn from time-honored inspirations such as Leonard Cohen, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. The influence of the classic greats is apparent in her use of a full string ensemble and the deep jazzy timbre of her voice. “Taking Champagne” could essentially be a 21st century parlour song.
“I’m a big fan of film noir and I love all things black and white. My style is monochromatic and I’m always wearing shades of black.” When asked what her dream gig would be, MAY replies with “I would love to do a tour of cathedrals for the visuals and for the acoustics. I want beautiful churches with an amazing orchestra and a never ending budget so I could have beautiful lighting and scenery”. This setting would coincidentally be the perfect platform for her style.
What is particularly astounding about MAY’s music is how she is able to transport these influences beyond imitation to a contemporary scene. She does this through her beautiful voice and poetic yet accessible lyrics.
Like most artists who use their own life as a canvas for their perspective, MAY’s lyrics have a strong narrative and is drawn from personal experience, yet they speak to universal themes about love and loneliness. This gives her songs a very timeless and empathetic quality.
“I do write for myself initially but the way in which I write has an element of mystery,” the songwriter explains. “This is what I hear- audiences can make the songs their own because of that and that makes it a bit more personal.”
This is MAY’s second time in New York City and she sees, “a lot more of a buzz from the last time”. Her schedule is hectic, but rewarding. “I’m very busy which is great. I’ve been really overwhelmed by the positive reception from ‘Sunday Night’ and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what’s next.” MAY has a new single coming out in a few weeks which she now just taking the time to perfect. In anticipation, I asked her to describe what to expect from the upcoming single. “It’s very volatile and its very heartfelt and quite edgy. It’s like “Sunday Night” but on crack. Retains that classic vibe but grittier.”
MAY graced the stage at Rockwood Music Hall last month and will hopefully be coming soon to a theater near you. You can listen to her music here on her Soundcloud page.
Written by Alessandra Licul