May Lyn is very much an artist that defines a modern generation by embracing urban music influences, political surroundings and her understanding of the world we live in.
Having rarely any collaborators involved in her songwriting journey, May crafts and forms music independently with her vision kept and left for you, the listener to interpret. “I usually come up with the music first and then I’ll listen back to the track and see where that takes me with the vocal melody and the songwriting. I find it much more natural to write lyrics to music as there is already a certain mood and rhythm in place.
“As for the narrative, I find myself going into a reflective, introspective state of mind and put those thoughts and memories into writing.”
Vessels is the second released EP of hers, which follows the Australian artist and producer’s first EP, Ascension (released on Dub Temple Records). Both releases tell detailed stories of self-discovery and growth. ‘Vessels’ signifies the different blood streams that course through our bodies in relation to introspection. The seven tracks are more than just a ‘body of work’. Jokes aside, concept releases are traditionally introduced to us in clear view, or in this case in ear range but few artists build on narratives and progress ideologies and concepts further without insincerity.
The name may be interpreted to translate to each stream to represent the thoughts or emotions inspired by experiences of personal growth. Lyrically the EP furthers memories and imaginations of growing to become a person. Speaking about single, ‘Touch Base’, May confessed, “[it’s] about pursuing my dreams and having the courage to step out of my comfort zone and sacrifice things such as financial security and career stability in order to live for something bigger than myself – “Tell me what you crave, tell me if you’re brave enough to embrace it, lose all complacence, stagnation, resist it and go your own way.”
“Similarly in ‘Young Again’, from the Ascension EP, it talks about the aspirations I had from the perspective of my younger, idealistic self and reminding myself to never lose that inner passion and desire for creative expression through music/writing/art. -“I’d like to live in a dream than to dream in life, that’s where the money is.”
Making Vessels has allowed May to tread over numerous music genres, modern R&B, trap and pop in great dimension. Whereas the first release is “more indie pop and R&B influenced” the latest is “a bit more experimental and hip-hop and trap influenced.” Particularly noting examples from the rich, brooding bass hook driven ‘Soldiers’ to the tribal influence in ‘Vibes (feat. tomtom), May explains, “This probably reflects the music I was listening to at the time I made those EPs. After releasing Ascension with Dub Temple Records, I became immersed in the underground hip hop and bass scene in Brisbane and started listening to lots of alternative hip hop and dub/reggae type music, which has definitely influenced the way I write music and my vocal delivery.”
Testament to her performing and recording routine, she notices a change in her own voice having been given the opportunity to fully use it. “It’s allowed me to be more aware of the different kinds of sounds I can make with my voice and I’ve found particular vocal tones that I like to use.” Referencing artists like Anderson Paak, PARTYNEXTDOOR and SZA, she says they have “had a big influence on my lyrical rhythms and rhyme schemes.”
Her lavish instrumental architecture spreads in moments throughout her writing in both loose and sporadic pace through both releases and her conduct to creating insightful ambience in contemporary hip-hop forms is of a rarity.
This is all true to May’s vision but with a swift arrival of politically inspired new music and independent beat makers, are we going to see more artists follow in her gleaming footsteps?
Words by Chris Graham
Photo by James Hornsby