Native Detroiter Mayaeni is a Roc Nation recording artist who’s helping to bring a new flavor to music. Mayaeni (Mah-YAY’-nee), comes from a musically talented family — her brother is a musician with the hip-hop band United States of Mind, and her father played guitar with the late great Jimmy Ruffin. Mayaeni also plays guitar and describes her brand of music as “rock, soul, pop.” She says her sound is like a female John Mayer or Gary Clark Jr. “I don’t know why that lane hasn’t been filled, at least mainstream wise. Why there hasn’t been a black John Mayer or Gary Clark Jr. I became it, because I wanted to see it so bad,” she said.
The singer-songwriter recently took a break from touring with Citizen Cope to headline the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Neighborhood Flavor Block Party in Detroit on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the famed Majestic Theater Grounds. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey partnered with Roc Nation to highlight the stories and culture of neighborhoods as viewed through the lens of artists who grew up there. The Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey tour will also make stops in L.A. to highlight DJ Mustard and in Philadelphia to highlight artist Santigold.
Rolling out was able to nab an exclusive interview with the beautiful Mayaeni before she took the stage. We discussed her music, upcoming projects and how it felt to be back home in Detroit. Check out the details below and let us know what you think. Find Mayaeni on social media @Mayaeni on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also find her at www.RocNation/mayaeni.
How does it feel to come back to visit your hometown? Is there anything different for you now that you’re a major recording artist?
It’s cool to come back because I have a lot of family here and I’m really close to my family. It’s that warm family feeling, good cooking, hanging out, especially in the summertime. I think what’s good about coming home is it’s that one staple thing. I feel like Detroit is changing a bit, but it’s positive. But as far as just a home feeling, it’s always the same.
So, what are some of your favorite places to visit when you’re here?
Well, actually, I like checking out where we’re at now [Majestic Theater] and checking out shows. I do like going to Saint Andrews a lot. I always check to see when bands are in town, if I’m going to go out and have a drink, I want to see some live music.
You’re in town for the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Neighborhood Flavor Block Party. Tell us about your involvement in the event.
Well, they’ve [Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey] partnered with Roc Nation [to highlight] three of us, me, DJ Mustard and Santigold, to represent our hometowns. Jack Daniel’s is really a like a hometown brand, and it’s just about celebrating your hometown city. So, it’s been really cool.
You’ve been signed to Roc Nation for several years now, how has that experience been for you?
It’s been really cool. They’re really a — let’s say a “music familia” type of thing. They’ve got your back. They let me have my space and do what I want, and bring out the best in what I’m doing. They’re very supportive.
Tell us about some of your other projects that you have coming up. You just wrapped a tour with Citizen Cope, and you’re going to go back on tour shortly.
I have an EP out called Elocution and it’s five songs. I just finished touring all spring and summer with Citizen Cope. We started in April, we just finished about a week ago. In September, I’ll be going out with Corinne Bailey Rae for a few days, and we’re touring the mostly the Midwest: New York, Philly, Boston, Chicago. So I’m really excited especially since it’s two women that play the guitar. So, what could be better? I’m really excited.
Tell us about any other projects that you have coming up other than touring.
I’m just touring. And then when the winter comes, I’m going to write, I mean, I’ve been writing, continuously, but I’ll be working on my album. Collecting stuff, and writing away. My EP is out now. I called it Elocution because my name Mayaeni is something that people mispronounce. Elocution is the art of speaking, and speaking clearly and how you say things. So, it’s kind of like, Mayaeni, learn my name. So, Elocution is out everywhere.
Where can our readers find you?
Online everywhere. The biggest thing is how to spell my name, so it’s M-A-Y-A-E-N-I. If you put that in Google, everything will show up, my Twitter, my webpage, Facebook, everything.
Photo gallery credit: Raquelle Harris for Steed Media