Spotlight: Maya Jupiter

Meet Maya Jupiter, the charismatic and talented hip hop artist, activist, and philanthropist who is helping Music Forward surface new musical talent by hosting our Open Mic Fridays. She is also the co-founder of Artivist Entertainment, which provides support and produces events for artists who use their work to promote positive social transformation. Maya’s third solo album, Never Said Yes, produced by Grammy award winner, Quetzal Flores, explores themes that intersect feminism, activism, and revolutionary motherhood.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a hip hop artist?

I grew up in Sydney, Australia and started rhyming as a teenager. I loved hip hop music and learned about hip hop as a culture in my late teens.  It resonated so much with me –  the art of telling your own story, being able to express my culture through music and talk about things happening in my community. I knew I wanted to be involved with music in every way so I completed a Music Business course at college in Sydney.

My love of hip hop led me to radio, presenting and producing hip hop shows as well as television, and becoming a presenter on a music channel.

I live the “each one teach one” philosophy and have been facilitating songwriting workshops for the last two decades.

I have toured Australia, Europe, UK and the US and co-founded Artivist Entertainment, a company that works with creatives centering radical transformation.

What did 2020 teach you as an artist?

That we really have no control over what tomorrow brings. We truly must live in our purpose and make the choice to heal ourselves, as individuals, communities, and as a country.

In honor of Women’s History Month, who are some of the female artists that have influenced you and why?

Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, Janet Jackson, Angelique Kidjo, Celia Cruz,  Erykah Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Bahamadia, Mystic, MC Trey, Jean Grae, Medusa, Missy Elliott, Eternia, Ana Tijoux and the list goes on…

These women taught me about embracing my whole self and identity, using my art for radical change, sensuality, confidence, empowerment, independence, lyricism, hard work and self-determination. I am grateful for the difference they have made in my life.

How have you seen the music industry evolve and what changes are you most excited to see happen?

The evolution of home recording equipment, digital music, and social media has been really exciting to witness. We have access to programs and equipment that used to be financially out of reach.

The power is now in our hands. Artists have so many more tools to be independently successful and to take control of their own narrative.

I’m excited to see more diversity in every aspect of the industry, a true reflection of who we are.

What do you enjoy about hosting Open Mic Fridays? 

I really enjoy learning about new artists. It’s wonderful to be in the presence of young, talented people and a privilege to be part of their musical journey and we have a lot of fun.

What piece of advice would you give to an artist first entering the music industry?

Practice and perform as much as possible, collaborate with others and find your community.

Know the business. Learn about how the industry works. Learn about publishing, synchronization, royalties, splits and always consult an entertainment lawyer before signing a contract. Know what you’re signing!

Be yourself, be authentic.

How does music move you?

Music flows through

Nourishes, nurtures

Allows me to be myself

Allows me to be someone else

Moves me through moods

Can change my whole attitude

Music is healing

It’s more than a feeling

Music ignites us

Music unites us.

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