One of the best things about music is that during those times when we may feel alone in a certain scenario, a song comes along that proves someone has stood in your shoes. It’s a comforting feeling. Maura Streppa realizes that everyone has something going on behind the curtain, and with her EP Singer and the Song, she hopes to have provided a four-track sense of peace.
Those same four songs perfectly capture Streppa as an artist, she says, as she injects a personal touch into each of the songs, crafting music that means something to her, in turn, crafting music that will mean something to those that listen.
We caught up with Streppa to talk all about the EP, all of the songs on it, her EP release show and more!
Pro Country: The last time we talked, you mentioned that the four songs that make up your new EP, Singer and the Song, represent who you want to be as an artist. Can you put the artist and songwriter you strive to be into words and how these songs capture that?
Maura Streppa: The first word that comes to mind is honest. I want to write and release music that truly means something to me; not just a song that I think people will like. I wrote and performed for others for a really long time, and once I decided that I deserved to write and release the songs that I wrote for myself, it made my relationship with my fanbase and my ability to perform my music far more authentic and honest. “Pretend” and “Sinner” were two solo writes that were just for me. I wrote “Pretend” as an outlet for my frustration with the way the weather affects my mood. I wrote “Sinner” simply because I was jealous of another girl in the songwriting community. I didn’t expect these songs to resonate so well with people, but that’s exactly why they’re special: they weren’t written for anyone except for myself.
PC: The last time we talked, you also mentioned that you wrote and recorded the songs on Singer and the Song for yourself. Though the experience was personal for you, was it a cathartic experience for you to release them into the world for people to hear?
MS: It was definitely an experience that scared me and excited me at the same time. It’s hard not to want validation for something that you’ve created, but I just continue to remind myself that the song has been so good to me and it will resonate with the people accordingly.
PC: Now that Singer and the Song has been released, what went into the decision to release “Singer and the Song” first and have it serve as the title track on its EP?
MS: The decision was a pretty quick one that didn’t require much thinking; I wanted to release it right after I performed it at The Bluebird Cafe. While figuring out the title for the EP, I knew “Singer and The Song” was the best title for it. There is no other way to describe it: I’m just a singer singing my songs!
PC: “Brave Heart” serves as the opening song on Singer and the Song and is a song of resiliency and a “keep on keeping on” mindset. Because of how personal the EP is to you, was “Brave Heart” a message to yourself in a way?
MS: 100%. When Sean Swenson and I first wrote it, I didn’t really connect with the idea. I take heart break pretty hard, but I hadn’t thought about my heart’s resilience when she wants to get back out there. When Sean and I re-visited the song before recording for the EP, I had just gone through a breakup (literally a day before going into the studio), and I had a lot of feelings which helped fuel the rewrite of the second verse. The song was definitely a reminder that I was strong enough to get through the breakup and keep on keeping on. I always find it funny when songs come back around right when you need them; you could be teaching yourself a lesson and not know you needed it until a year later!
PC: “Pretend” is one of two solo writes on Singer and the Song. Is there an added level of vulnerability you feel as you release songs you wrote yourself as opposed to songs you co-wrote?
MS: I definitely think my solo writes add a level of vulnerability. The words are all mine with no editing or influence of another person’s experience. I’m truly just putting my unedited thoughts and feelings to music.
PC: “Sinner” is one of our favorite songs on the EP, and is also a solo write. Can you take us in the room and talk about the inspiration behind the song?
MS: Back in the fall, I was interning at a PR and marketing firm for creatives and creative companies. There was a client who was insanely talented, beautiful, kind, genuine, and in my eyes, had everything going for her. I was messaging my sisters about her, sharing her music and explaining how I wish I had what she had. My sister Kara responded, “envy is a sin” and I replied, “then call me a sinner.” The minute I got home from work, I grabbed my guitar and just started writing about her. It was one of those songs that seemed to write itself.
PC: You recently had your EP release show at The Basement Nash. How much did you enjoy getting to celebrate the release of Singer and the Song? What was the night like for you?
MS: It was truly a dream come true. There’s an inexplainable feeling you get when a room filled with people you love as well as strangers all sing your songs with you. I’m so thankful to The Basement, especially Gil Costello, for believing in me and allowing me to celebrate at their legendary venue. I’m thankful to my band for not only being my friends, but for being my biggest supporters and cheerleaders when I get those pre-show jitters. I’m especially thankful to everyone who came out, specifically my dad, to share the evening with me!
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Singer and the Song after listening all the way through?
MS: I hope listeners relate and feel a sense of belonging, and a sense of peace with where they are in their life. I personally really struggle with looking sideways instead of forward , and I hope my listeners can use my EP to continue looking forward and realize that everyone has stuff going on behind the scenes.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
MS: I’m extremely proud of this project. I want to thank my parents and siblings for continuously supporting me and this insane dream of mine. I want to thank Thomas Dulin for taking my visions and putting them to life. I want to thank my band and my tracking musicians for putting their all into the performance of my songs whether that’s in the studio or on the stage. I want to thank Keith Harris for mixing the project and Joe Causey for mastering it. Finally, I want to thank my listeners for believing in me. I’m just really, really grateful.