Feature in Vortex Music Magazine
Maiah Wynne Collaborates with Portland Cello Project and Rush's Alex Lifeson on Her Beautiful #MeToo Anthem [Song Premiere]
With eight cellos and guitar textures provided by the legendary progressive rocker, Maiah Wynne's new single "Fearless Girl" provides strength for those—"for her, for him, for them, for you"—who are experiencing sexual assault or domestic violence.
by Chris Young
July 25, 2019 2:00pm
“This song is about the battle to find inner strength in the aftermath of sexual assault,” versatile singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne reveals about her new single “Fearless Girl,” which features beautiful, symphonic instrumentation from the stellar Portland Cello Project and guitar from Alex Lifeson of Rush. It’s “a #MeToo-era song that encourages strength for survivors as they encounter triggers and vulnerability in their day-to-day lives.”
“I wrote ‘Fearless Girl’ a little over a year ago, after reconnecting with my best friend from middle school,” Wynne tells. “We had a long heart to heart about everything we had been going through during the time of our friendship, but didn't have the ability to express. This realization of the pain we had both been experiencing during that time was saddening and frustrating. It reflected many of the emotions I had been feeling: fear, distrust, and a strange connection with millions of women—and men—around the world who had experienced these same things. At one point during that conversation she asked, ‘What happened to those fearless girls we used to be?’ As I reflected on that conversation later that night, those words stuck in my brain and I began writing this song. This song was my story, her story, the stories we hear every day, and a call for inner strength in a world where sexual assault and domestic violence prevail.”
Listen to Maiah Wynne's new single "Fearless Girl," featuring contributions from Portland Cello Project and Rush's Alex Lifeson, below and then don't miss her at GLASYS' record release show at the Jack London Revue on July 27“This song is for anyone who needs a reminder to hold on to that inner spirit,” she continues. “For anyone that needs to reconnect with the strength inside of them after experiencing this specific kind of pain. This is for her, for him, for them, for you.”
An expertly crafted song with a powerful message, the all-star lineup masterfully executed Wynne’s vision. Laying down tracks at Sorcery Studio in Oregon with producer Aliephant, “We recorded the song in pieces over a six-month period between work and touring,” Wynne says. In addition to arranging the song and writing the lyrics, she also played piano, guitar, synth and bass, while Portland Cello Project’s Douglas Jenkins provided the “absolutely stunning” string arrangement, which also features cellists Skip vonKuske, Kevin Jackson and Lauren McShane. “It was powerful singing with eight cellos,” she recounts, “and we laid down so many layers that we are talking about a second release down the road that is just a ‘cello and vocals’ version of ‘Fearless Girl.’”
As for the contributions of Rush’s Alex Lifeson, Wynne’s mentor Andy Curran of Anthem Entertainment connected her with the legendary progressive rock guitarist. So Wynne boldly asked if he’d play on “Fearless Girl” “and within a few days he sent me tracks that he recorded at his own studio,” she says. “They were absolutely amazing, and I loved the textures and depth they brought to the track.”
Alex Lifeson with Rush at the Moda Center in 2015—click to see more photos by Paul Garcia“Maiah’s ability to fuse her evocative vocal arrangements with the haunting narrative of ‘Fearless Girl’ is a testament to her skills as a strong songwriter who can deliver an emotive soundscape as a platform to lyrics both personal and universal,” Lifeson says. “I was touched deeply when I first heard ‘Fearless Girl’ and felt any guitar arrangement required a delicate but resolute approach to echo the sentiment of this moving song. I feel very fortunate to be able to collaborate with Maiah on her music as well as mine.”
While the new song is just a one-off single, “eventually we will collect the singles we have created over the last year and have them available for purchase as an EP,” Wynne says. But if you buy “Fearless Girl” now, 10 percent of all proceeds will go to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women and its Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women initiative, which seeks to stop violence against Native women because “four out of five of our Native women are affected by violence today,” the group reports.
As for other projects, Wynne’s plate is plenty full. She recently won the Music from the Moon songwriting competition—“commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing”—for her original song "Show The World" (watch the video below) and got the opportunity to record at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. The results “will be my next single, hopefully releasing in the next eight weeks,” she says.
And, “My next EP is a collaboration with Andy Curran, Alfio Annibalini and Alex Lifeson called In the Middle of Nowhere,” she tells. “We haven't set the release date yet but I've heard the masters and I am really excited for it. Should be happening in the next couple months.”