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28.4.14

Setting the Scene: Maryann Hunter


The N-Crowd's Maryann Hunter is set to take the industry by storm one sensual song at a time.


The twenty-seven-year-old Sociology graduate turned vocalist has been on a wave of success since the release of her debut album Timing is Everything, from being featured on Lostribe's No Other Word with Talib Kweli to building a major following after the release of #CookingForBae and earning herself the title Bae God. With her wide range of abilities, from her airy, soulful voice to her graphics arts prowess, a hobby she's kept up since the days of MySpace, experimenting with Photoshop and making icons, she's definitely a force to reckon with.

Today marks the official release of her sophomore album, Futuristic Always but I managed to get a few words with her via e-mail (with the usual technical issues that seem to plague me) beforehand. Hopefully you guys enjoy getting to know Maryann as much as I have!


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What is your music story? When did you decide this was something you wanted to do?


Maryann: I've been singing since I started talking, and writing songs since I was about eight years old.  I always dreamed of being a singer; I did choir in high school and sang in talent shows, but it didn't turn into anything serious until I was eighteen.  I met some local artists and got into the studio.  Everything snowballed from there. 



Your music is quite relaxed, futuristic and versatile, drawing from 90's R'n'B but more synthesized. How did you end up finding your unique sound, or would you say you're still experimenting?

Maryann: I'm definitely still experimenting!  The 90's R'n'B sound came partly from what type of music I was drawn to growing up, and the other part was my voice has a natural soul element to it.  My first record was me finding a sound in general, a lot more of a pop R'n'B thing.  This new record is more about me experiment and delving deeper into finding my voice and what I'm capable of.


How did you come up with the Bedroom Trap subgenre?
Maryann: Nate and I were working on a song one night and somehow were trying to describe what we were making.  Sexy trap music was what we compared it to, so the Bedroom Trap name was born.

You met N8 the Gr8 of The Cuf fame in 2008. How did your teaming up come about? Would you say your relationship could develop into a permanent "duo" arrangement, like Britain's AlunaGeorge?


MaryannNate and I met through a mutual friend.  It was one of those random meetings but we clicked automatically.  After the first time, we really hung out we realized we had chemistry.  He told me he always wanted to make an R'n'B record, we started working on Timing is Everything and realized we were really musical soulmates.  We already are at the duo stage, even though we have other artists that we work with, we do everything together as a team.  That is where N-Crowd Entertainment came from.



The N-Crowd seem to have quite the work ethic, doing all the ground work themselves from songwriting to PR. Do you ever feel that the group's independence could be seen as a bit too exclusive? 
Maryann: I don't think so. We do everything ourselves because that is the only way for us to make sure things get done right now. We do reach out and work with other crews and pick up artists along the way. We have some great collabs in the works that are with artists outside of our crew. If we like an artist, we always try and find a way to involve them or work with them.



As a singer-songwriter, you've penned songs for yourself as well as others. What artists have you written for? What challenges, if any, did you face in the process of writing for someone else? 

MaryannI've written for a few male and female artists.  One of them is an amazing singer named Deja, who you may have seen the beautiful Bliss Dance statue of on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The hardest part about writing for other people is finding a way to make it sound true to who they are and not like it's coming from me.



You direct most of your own music videos and design your cover art. Do you feel that doing so helps you tell your story better as opposed to someone else's interpretation?
MaryannI think it can be a deeper look into who I am as an artist, but I do think working with other creative minds can bring beautiful ideas to the table.  I'm open to doing both, it just has to be the right fit!


How are you feeling about the 'Futuristic Always' release?

MaryannI'm excited.  This is my second album, I think it shows other facets to my personality and sound. I spent a lot of time on it, so getting it out there is a good feeling.  I'm already making plans for the third record as we speak.  My mind is always looking to the future.


What does this album mean to you; what story are you trying to tell with it?
MaryannIt means me maturing as a person and an artist.  I am a lot more open, and I had a lot of fun making it.  Although for me maturing meant not taking myself so seriously and not caring so much about what people are going to think.  In doing that, I have found creative freedom.



Can you give us any teasers ahead of the release date?
MaryannSince we are so close now, go ahead to DJBooth.net and stream the record. If you like it, please buy it!


What's next for you after Futuristic Always?
MaryannI have more new music coming, a few collabs I'm really excited about and I will be doing more shows over the summer too!

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And there you have it, folks!

With three hours to go until the official release on DJ Booth, shall we synchronize watches? To kill time, you can head over my first post about the incredibly talented, driven artist if you haven't already to hear a few gems off the track - or just head straight over to her Sound Cloud page, and have a good gander. Dare I say it, you will not be disappointed!

If you do like what you hear, you can support her and keep up with her through the links below:

Twitter: @xtraordinaryann



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