Mini Mayda made a song

The St. Paul singer has a lot to say

St. Paul artist Mayda is taking off. PHOTO COURTESY SONIC MATRIMONY COLLECTIVE

Ashley Goetz

St. Paul artist Mayda is taking off. PHOTO COURTESY SONIC MATRIMONY COLLECTIVE

WHO: Mayda WHERE: The Beat Coffeehouse WHEN: May 15, 9 p.m. http://thebeatcoffee.com If you stuffed Joan Jett and Mavis Staples into PrinceâÄôs body, rolled the mileage back about 30 years and then forcibly opened and glued their eyes to MTV for 12 years, youâÄôd have St. PaulâÄôs buzzworthy singer/songwriter Mayda Miller. This 25-year-old South Korean adoptee takes a funky approach to producing unapologetically poppy songs and (ready for the wildcard?) the girl can shred on the guitar. The connections between Prince and Mayda donâÄôt stop at chops on the axe, either; MaydaâÄôs 2007 EP âÄúThe Stereotype,âÄù as well as her recent full-length âÄúThe InterrogationâÄú were produced by Michael Bland who, among other feats, was the drummer for PrinceâÄôs New Power Generation circa 1989. Unique to the current Twin Cities scene, MaydaâÄôs sound is unassumingly catchy without being too lost in thought. Even when the songs become irritatingly frivolous or overdone (think Gwen Stefani or, much worse, Pink), there is an innate appeal in what Mayda does. Maybe itâÄôs the spare-no-expense production value or the radio-ready track list, but thereâÄôs something enduring about an independent artist who seems largely unmoved by indie music. So whatâÄôs on the agenda? Blues rock? Sticky pop? A&E decided to ask the songstress herself. What do you think is the largest age demographic that makes up your fans? Well, IâÄôd like anybody to be a fan, really. I write for as many people to understand my stuff as I can, but I think the main people who are buying it are 20-somethings. YouâÄôve toured with artists like Soul Asylum and members of Morris Day and the Time. Do you think that draws an older crowd to you? I think I do get people from that age group who are interested because of the people who IâÄôve worked with, but I think my sound is a little newer than who my influences are. Who are your main influences? I really like Nine Inch Nails. I mean, I really like so many things that itâÄôs always a really hard question. I identify with old blues music. Musicians like Skip James âĦ I really like Beck a lot âÄî old Beck, not so much new stuff. Prince is an influence in the sense that he wears his heart on his sleeve and heâÄôs not afraid to do what he wants. How long have you been playing guitar? IâÄôve been playing for about eight years. Do you play any other instruments? I play piano, keyboard âĦ I try to play a lot of other things, but I am not very good at them. IâÄôm sampling from records, too. I donâÄôt know if that counts as anything. Do you play with a band? I play with a band. I play with a DJ if the venue calls for a smaller setup, and I also play alone acoustically. When you play with your band is it a band that is put together by Michael Bland? Yeah, he basically gets the right musicians âÄî ones that would fit my music. He knows more people, so he definitely helps out in that area. When youâÄôre writing songs do you start out with a guitar riff? Lyrics? An idea? How does the process work? I write the lyrics, the harmony, the melody, the whole foundation of the song and usually, yeah, it starts out with a guitar part or a lyric, or just a sound I wanna do. ItâÄôs kind of like building a house. I describe what room is where and what room is what and then basically I give it to Michael and he gets the electricity going and the water running and stuff. ThatâÄôs the best way I can describe it.