Q: “First Grade” is a beautiful pop and singer-songwriter song that effortlessly takes you back to your first love in the first grade. When did you write this song and what was going on through your head as you were writing this? How were you feeling?
MAYA SALAFIA: I began writing this song in May of 2020. It was about three months into quarantine and I found myself being able to take a break from present day and look back on fond memories of my early childhood. The memory of first grade and my first love was one I was feeling especially nostalgic for. I could still see the clear images of the classroom and decided to do what I always do…document it in a song.
Q: In the song you say, “I hope you crack a smile when you hear this song” and you mention how you and the person lost contact, which a lot of us can relate to. What do you encourage listeners to do once they start thinking about that one person this song makes them think of?
MAYA SALAFIA: I think it’s really easy to get caught up in planning for the future and forget where it all began. I feel like listening to this song is a great moment to remember beginnings and reminisce on the past. When listeners start thinking about that one person this song makes them think of I would encourage them to hold on to the feeling that person gave them, and keep it in their back pocket as they enter the new stages of their lives.
Q: If the person this song was written for heard it, would you want them to contact you to reconnect? If so, how would you feel?
MAYA SALAFIA: That’s funny that you mention that. The person this song was written for did end up hearing it and left me some supportive messages on the song. I thanked them and we left it at that. I’m content with it because we’ve both grown up so much since the first grade and it’s only natural that we make new paths for ourselves. We meant a lot to each other at one point in our lives and the fact that the fond memories are mutual is the reason why I’m okay with losing touch. Just knowing that we’re always there to support each other is a win in my book.
Q: Obviously, you’re a big fan of Taylor Swift and it’s evident because the song has a bit of her influence in it. If you could perform one song with Taylor, what would it be and why?
MAYA SALAFIA: That’s such a difficult question because I love all of her songs so much. If I had to pick one it would have to be “Love Story” from her album Fearless/Fearless (Taylor’s Version). This song means a lot to me and holds so much sentimental value. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve sung karaoke to it with my friends, re-enacting the music video at the same time. It’s also popular when I’m just jamming out in the car with my mom. This song gives me an incredible amount of happiness no matter where or when I listen to it.
Q: Your entire life has revolved around music and you wrote your first original song when you were nine, which is amazing. What do you have to say to young musicians out there who want to be the next Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran?
MAYA SALAFIA: I would repeat the wise words told to me by various songwriting mentors over time, which is to keep writing. Even if you don’t think the idea is good or you don’t think people will like it just keep writing and you might just surprise yourself. Even if it’s just a line or two a day it accumulates fast and before you know it you’ll have an entire collection of ideas and songs that you can draw from.
Q: What are some things that you are working on right now?
MAYA SALAFIA: I’m currently in the process of putting the finishing touches on a song I hope to record soon. Seeing people’s reactions to “First Grade” was so amazing and I can’t wait to share new music with everyone!
Interviewed by Taylor Berry