“Maya Ghazal, a Mexican musician tells history about playing Chopin at an early age to completing his new album. Maya talks about Mexican society, living in Palestine and the struggle pursuing his art.” ~ Eric Pearse Chavez
I am humbled and grateful to have worked with Eric in this series. He is a unique and talent storyteller that captured my life, fears and hopes in less than 15 minutes.
Check out his amazing work here!
Born by the Yaqui river in Sonora, Maya creates art influenced by the streams of his past. Having lived all over the world and come of age next to bustling waterways like the Charles, Seine, Jordan, and now the LA river, Maya invites listeners to experience the gentle & violent currents of his story in hopes that they can catch a glimpse of their own reflection in the water –flowing to the sea of our shared humanity.
Maya Ghazal’s musical career started in 1999 when he was five –using a piano with colored-marked keys. He built himself up as a multi-instrumentalist ever since.
His first singing gig happened at the age of ten, recording and performing in a church musical in Mexico City themed after the ‘Sound of Music’. The first time Maya played electric guitar was when he was twelve and started jamming with his school friends. He enjoyed covering 70s Punk hits like ‘Anarchy in the UK’, hence his early political radicalization. Maya’s favorite band was Green Day at the time, so his first live performance was singing and playing ‘American Idiot’ with his electric guitar for the end-year ceremony of his elementary school with his band of class friends.
At the age of thirteen, he moved to British Columbia where he continued to be influenced by other genres with bands like Pantera, System Of A Down, and Rage Against the Machine (still his favorite group) molding his musical style. According to Maya, his musical turning point happened after assisting a live performance by The Mars Volta at the age of fourteen. He traveled from Nanaimo to Vancouver with his Iraqi best friend to hear them perform and even got to meet Thomas Pridgen and Cedric Bixler-Zavala in person. The charged political content of Zach de la Rocha mixed with the aggressive riffs of Dimebag Darrel and the musical mayhem that was The Mars Volta in 2008 completely changed the way Maya related to music, society, and every aspect of the world around him.
The guitar had definitely become his main instrument by the time he returned to his birthplace, Sonora, to continue his middle school studies. He used to record and upload music covers to youtube by skilled guitarists like Jimmi Hendrix. He met and befriended other music prodigies like Julian Pardo, a world-class drummer and current performing musician in Boston-NY, while there and developed several music projects, and even organized music shows with many of the underground bands in the city. He grew the most as a musician in this 3-year period, even studying a technical-career in a private music center. He performed in countless venues, apart from the rock shows, from restaurants to weddings and eventually earned his spot as the lead guitarist in a Pantera tribute band where integrants ranged in the mid-twenties.
Moving to Mexico City for high school affected Maya’s musical career. Maya had recently traveled and had become fascinated with the music and culture of Cuba, Palestine, Egypt, and Russia; It came as no surprise that his musical style started to diversify, and he became interested in singing and experimenting with different instruments. By the age of eighteen, he was proficiently playing ten instruments and was recruited by an orchestra for a university musical. He played the alto saxophone regularly in a school ensemble where he met Eduardo Togi, actor and singer, with whom he wrote and performed a few songs for national festivals. However, much of this golden time for his music came at the huge expense of becoming bubbled in an upper-class community and hence he stopped developing his “critical and alternative” look at human and modern history.
In 2014 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he was accepted to pursue a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology degree at Boston University; After a year, however, he switched to the Business school following a thorough “reflexion” session. He met many musicians but because of the complex living set up and noise rules at the dormitories, he was pushed to explore the electronic music scene. He became best known for his DJ duo with David Shepankiewicz, ‘Godoii and David’, where he debuted with an opening act for Sound Remedy in the Middle East Nightclub and performed in events such as iExperia in the House of Blues and as a guest artist with Josh Bernstein in Amazura Concert-Hall NYC, sharing the stage with Araab Muzik. He dissolved the duo in the summer of 2015.
In 2016, he moved to Paris where he went on a musical hiatus while mastering his proficiency in French and Arabic. He did buy a concert ukulele and would use it when he moved to Palestine where, among many things, he would perform for family, friends, and members of the community.
Maya went back to Boston, jaded and nostalgic, said goodbye to his friends and finished his last semester of college. He then spent some time in Mexico before going to Normal, Illinois. He got his hands on Ableton LIVE and immediately became inspired to produce some tracks: Maya had retaken his musical journey. On May 6th he released an 8-track recording called ‘Normality’ along with a music video to his collaboration with Wandrew, a producer, and friend from Boston University. He released additional music videos to the titles ‘Deschedule’ and ‘Jarhdin’. With all this momentum, he decided to move to the music industry’s own belly of the beast, but not before making a quick stop to visit his friend and renowned-producer Jim James in Atlanta, GA.
Maya moved to Los Angeles, CA in June 2017. Soon after arriving, Maya found venues to perform and started to collaborate with other artists, including local ska band BAH RAM YOU, where he plays the alto saxophone, accordion, and backing vocals. He collaborated for the single and music video of ‘Blizzard Through the Years’, a song that made it to the finals of BlizzCon 2017. He crossed paths with childhood friend Andrés Maldonado again and they both began creating new art. They started to record and perform together for Maya’s debut album and eventually even started an anarchist project: Comuna de Artistas para la Enmancipación Colectiva (CⒶEC).
On September 2017, Maya started working with Haskel Jackson Entertainment in Genesoul Productions, a studio in Inglewood, and on June 5th, 2018, he released his debut album Venado Alterado.
Maya currently spends his time exploring new collaboration and giving people a taste of his new album with The Maya Ghazal Experiment.
Maya is humbled to have shared the stage with acts such as El Haru Kuroi, Earth Arrow, El Rio, Brainstory, Migrant Motel, Victory Kid, The Dead Mermaids, Kaustik, One Less Zero, Divert, Pacific Radio, Lost Puppy, Top Shelf Shake, King Sol & the Vibes, The Palechubs, LiveSka All-Stars, Bas360, Twenty Dollar Prophets, Lonely Stars, So-Cal Rocket Dynamics, The Centuries, The Mormons, Raised on TV, Isolated Victims, Operation No-one Knows, La Muerte, Private TreeHouse, FLOCK, and Luke Loww.