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Meet Maia Moham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maia Moham.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Maia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Newport Beach, CA, a coastal town known for its surfing community, the hit Fox show “The OC,” and the astonishingly accurate “Arrested Development.” As one of a few Iranian-Americans in my area, I had a hard time fitting in and often doubted myself, simply because I looked different. It wasn’t until high school when I started participating in theatre, choir, and a small sub-community of artists that I really began to find my voice – both literally and figuratively. Through these groups, I had the opportunity to perform regularly and even had a chance to sing with Foreigner and open for the Canadian singer-songwriter, Feist.

I don’t think I truly found confidence in my identity until college. I joined a brand new acapella group, The ChapTones – at Chapman University, and was able to see it grow from an eclectic group of naive youngsters to an incredible creative force. We competed together, laughed together, cried together, and always appreciated the qualities that made each of us unique. I did not fully realize this growth until my senior year when we won 2nd place in the 2018 ICCA West Coast Semifinals amongst a slew of unbelievable talent.

There was one thing, even after all of this, that I was still afraid of – songwriting. I had been encouraged for many years to try it but never felt courageous enough to go for it. I believe to be a great songwriter, you have to be ok with vulnerability, not just with yourself but with your co-creative and of course your audience. I knew I’d have to push myself to dig deep and decide what I wanted to say. So for a year, I wrote every night, little by little, and before I knew it I had gone from “I can’t do this” to “this is scary” to “oh I kind of like this” to “oh my gosh this is actually therapeutic”. That first year after college, I didn’t like anything I wrote particularly, but it helped me hone in on my intention – and that is when I began to write music I loved.

If there is one thing I have struggled with more than anything else in my life, it is identity. The peeling back of excess gunk, negativity, and years of self-doubt so that I could not just be comfortable in my own skin, but thrive in it. That is why I chose this idea of identity to be the center of my debut EP “FACADE.” I began writing it back in March of this year, and the whole thing came together in a matter of a few months (at least the songs did). Each song on the EP dives into a different level of vulnerability, with the first track exploring our outer shell and the last exploding with self-empowerment and pride. I want listeners to be able to open their eyes to the barriers we implant in ourselves, these assumptions of who we are or who we must be. I really think that that is the first step in leading a more full, meaningful life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think that there have been challenges in figuring out my identity. Being both a woman and a person of color, there are so many opinions, individual and societal, trying to box you in. Throughout my life, people have made comments on my figure (I once read an article about my “unique physique” – I’m not kidding), the shape of my nose, and even my ears. There is so much pressure on young women, both explicit and subliminal, to look a certain way or behave a certain way. I think what is interesting now is that we are seeing women do it all, but there is still this dichotomy of judgment. If we shake our asses we’re sluts, if we don’t shake our asses we’re prudes, if we call something or someone out we are “aggressive,” if we don’t we are “weak.” I am still learning to shut all this out, to just focus on what I want for myself.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
To tell you the truth, I don’t really believe in luck, beyond what you are born into of course. All of the greatest things that I have gotten out of my life have come from putting myself out there and showing not just talking. I showed my college professor that I was a hard worker and ended up getting a job right out of college at NBC. I showed others that I love singing and songwriting and have gotten a wealth of support from my peers. I shared my music with industry professionals and have been exposed to a network of established Sync artists and Grammy Award winners. My biggest piece of advice for anyone is to not rely on luck, but rather manifest it for yourself. I also would consider the value in experiences that may seem like bad luck. The quarantine really felt like a loss initially but it has given me the time to meet new people online and develop my artistry.

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