Music News and Interviews

Breaking Through the “Nepotism Baby” Title

In the music industry, there are quite a few artists that come to mind when I hear “nepotism baby.”

To preface, in this case, I do not mean this term with a negative connotation. There are a few indie artists that just happened to be nepotism babies like Clairo or Finneas because they had connections to the industry before pursuing their careers. However, even with this privilege, these artists have worked art to earn a name for themselves as musicians. 

In this post, I want to talk about Maya Hawke, one of my favorite “nepotism babies.”

Though her parents are the Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, she wasn’t big in the acting scene until Season 3 of “Stranger Things.” She didn’t want to be an actress like her parents in the first place, but eventually, after growing up around movie sets and theaters she found a good fit.

Her parents were in movie classics such as “Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Dead Poet’s Society” and “Training Day.” 

What many people don’t know about Maya Hawke is her music career. 

Like most people during quarantine, Maya Hawke began exploring music production. The first two singles she released in 2019 were called “To Love a Boy” and “Stay Open”. 

At first, I didn’t have many expectations for her music because a majority of young actors these days do music on the side. But her voice and style are so unique and unexpected.

“To Love a Boy” is a unique take on a love song. It’s about wanting to be in love, yearning for that feeling when you don’t yet have it. The authenticity of the lyrics and her ability to display her insecurities for an audience like that is impactful. 

“Stay Open” is much different. The violin with a guitar makes for a folk melody. It’s a song about keeping your heart open for someone regardless of their flaws. It’s short and sweet. Like the countryside during the fall.

The acoustic guitar with her soft vocals and instrumentals make these songs feel like sitting on a boat drifting in the river on a rainy day. They are dreamy and have a ’90s jazz vibe to them. Something about the harmonies and drums brings the songs to life. A childhood nostalgia to them, or a song fit for a Pixar movie. Short yet eliciting deep emotions.

All of her music is like this. Maybe that’s why I find it so comforting. 

She released her first studio album in 2020 titled “Blush” and it’s chock full of healing tracks. Many songs sound like lullabies and apologize to friends and family. The feelings of sentiment are fitting for the time they were written.

The vulnerability she highlights in her music and the intellectual lyrics at times give her an edge against many newer musicians. 

Maya Hawke’s latest single is called “Thérèse” and is an unpredictable track. Going from a light acoustic guitar too hard electric guitar yet it carries the messages all the way through. The slow introduction of drums takes us back to the initial melody. It’s more upbeat compared to her and sounds dreamy at times. The song is about a painting called Thérèse and how Maya sees herself in it. 

Seen in the lyrics “She reminds me of memories | Sleeping off the growing pains” and “Thérèse does not belong to you |

The horses, cars, and cowboys do”.  Maya highlights that neither Thérèse nor her belong to the public even though they have both been in the spotlight for most of their existence. She sees herself in Thérèse, always facing criticism from strangers, as the child of famous parents. 

It’s my favorite one.

While she doesn’t have a lengthy discography quite yet, I do think she has a distinctive voice she could bring to the industry. As an up-and-coming actress as well as an up-and-coming musician, I can’t wait to see and hear her future projects.

If this sounds interesting to you, check out Maya Hawke’s discography.

By Mitali Joshi

A Senior at NCSU who is an enthusiastic consumer of music and loves writing about it.