“I Wasn’t Really Country Back Then”, Maura Streppa Talks Musical Evolution, New Single

For rising artist, Maura Streppa, Nashville wasn’t always the destination. Raised with an affinity for blues and rock music, Streppa fell in love with music at a young age and knew she had to find a way to make this love more than a hobby. As a teenager in Charlotte, North Carolina, Streppa recorded an EP at which point she realized she could live the life she always dreamed of. Now residing in Nashville and fresh off the release of her new single, “Line Dance”, Streppa has developed a genre bending style that draws in audiences from all around the music world, and allows Streppa the opportunity to carve out her own unique place in the industry.

Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting with Streppa about her new single “Line Dance”, musical style, and artistic growth.

Worlds Of Country: When did you know that you wanted to pursue music?

Maura: It came from a really young age, I always loved being on stage, my mom put me in dance classes growing up, and I was always just the most vibrant one on the stage. And that’s where I kind of lived. She started putting me into musical theater and I really fell in love with that. And then as I got older and started, like going through more things, I was able to process that through writing songs. And so. It really has been a long time want, dream and desire, and I really started putting in the work when I was in high school, so it’s been. forever.

Worlds Of Country: So once you realized that it was something you could seriously pursue, what was your first step towards making it a reality?

Maura: I honestly don’t think I had that realization of like, oh, I’ll do this as a career. I was working at the School of Rock back in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I was a vocal instructor there. And I had been writing a bunch of songs. And my mom was like, these are not bad things. So I was writing these songs and she was like, we should record these. And I was like, OK, that sounds fun to me. So I asked my boss at School of Rock if he knew any producers in the area because I didn’t know anyone. I was new to Charlotte and I was new to this whole music thing. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, one of our students, dad, was a producer and so we recorded this EP. I had written it when I was 14. So it was like the first songs I ever  really wrote. And he secretly pitched it to a guy at Red Light Management. And then he reached out to me. His name’s Mark Cunningham. He reached out to me and was like, “I want to do kind of an artist development thing with you”. And I think that was the moment where I was like, oh, like, this is serious. Like, this isn’t just a hobby. This isn’t like a sport for me. This is what I’m actually going to do.

Worlds Of Country: Did you know at that point that Nashville was where you wanted to end up?

Maura: I didn’t. So I. It’s actually funny. I am a big Clemson football fan. My brother and sister went to Clemson, and when I was in high school, I was like, I’m going to Clemson. No question about it. Nashville wasn’t really in my head, I wasn’t really country back then, I was more bluesy. Amy Winehouse type music and so Nashville, in my mind, was country music and only country music, so I didn’t think about coming here until Mark sent me here to do a bunch of co-writes with some really talented people. And once I came here, I found Belmont University and I just kind of fell in love with the city. I fell in love with the thought of writing with people every single day. I had never done a co-write before I came here. And so they call Nashville the co-writing city, which is so true. You write with everyone. It’s any time you meet another songwriter, you’re like, oh, we should write some time. So I came here for about two weeks and I just wrote my little heart out. And that was when I was like, OK, I’m moving to Nashville. There’s just no doubt about it. So then two years later, I moved here.

Worlds Of Country: So how would you describe your personal musical style now?

Maura: It’s a great question because I don’t know, I think that it varies heavily. It’s definitely had a country influence since moving here. I’ve really fallen in love with the country scene and I’ve had more time to really dig into the old school country, which I’m not as into current country music, but I love it. But I really appreciate Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton and I’ve really gone back. But I’m also biased for my of the band and the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead, and that’s really what I grew up on and what I fell in love with, so. Right now, the songs I’m writing are a little bit of folk Americana with a dash of country, a dash of blues, a dash of pop, it’s kind of a steam pot, I guess, of all of the influences I had growing up. So I’m all over the place. But “Line Dance”, the song I put out today is definitely country.

Worlds Of Country: So how do you sort of blend all those genres into one?

Maura: I don’t know, man, My words are very honest, I would say, I really just write from the heart, I have this little I’m looking at it now, this little whiteboard on my desk. And when I start writing, I just refer to it as throwing up on a piece of paper. And I just put everything out that’s in my mind. And I’m the biggest Bob Dylan fan you’ll ever meet. And so that influence has been super happy. And I’ve really gotten into Lucinda Williams in the past year. And so. I think it’s honestly just saying things that we all know to be true in a new way and in a way that people haven’t heard it before, lyrically and musically, so whether you think it’s a folk song, but then you hear the pop rhythm that gets stuck in your head or you hear this country song, but it gives you this nostalgic old timey feel. That’s kind of how I do it. It’s nothing that I do on purpose, to be honest. It just kind of comes out that way, which I’m not mad about. But I think what’s great about it, if I do say so myself, is it appeals to a wide audience, which my whole goal with music is to connect with people. That’s why I fell in love with music, it was a way for me to connect with some of my greatest influences with my dad, he is one of my biggest influences with music in general. He kind of taught me who I love now in music. And so it was a way for us to connect. It’s a way for me to connect with my brothers and sisters and just a way for me to connect with the audience when I’m playing. So it’s definitely. Just kind of happening that way.

Worlds Of Country: So you mentioned “Line Dance”, can you tell us the story behind that song and how that song came to be?

Maura: Yeah. So my buddy Ben Wagner came over. He’s a writer in Wisconsin. He’s in the process of moving here. We met at the Bluebird when we both first moved here, and I think it was his first trip to Nashville. And I just moved here and I went to the Bluebird for an open mic night. And I heard him play and I was like, his songs are great and I found him on Instagram. And then we didn’t connect until post covid because the world ended. So we finally connected,we just clicked really well, and during our writes we just kind of spit it out and get really good messages across. So we were at my house and I was venting about some boy probably, and he’s also a great therapist. He just really lets me spill the beans on my dating life. But I was venting and I was like, it’s never, you know. We’re together, it’s never we’re apart, we’re just kind of walking this line and he was like, oh, walking a line, you know, Johnny Cash, like he never walks the line. I was like, yeah, it’s a line dance. It turned from there, and I was actually listening to the original demo the other day, we wrote it back in May, I was listening in the demo and just the way that the song is changed, we kept working on it and kept perfecting it.

Worlds Of Country: So what’s next for you after “Line Dance”?

Maura: So I think I’m going to record another single that I wrote with Ben as well called “Singer and the Song” that hopefully will get out in the spring. And my plan is just to record at least three singles and then release an EP that I wrote over quarantine that I entitled The Quarantine Tapes after the Basement Tapes. That’s the goal right now. I am still in school, so I have a lot going on. I’m working. We’ll see if that comes to fruition. But right now I’m going to kind of enjoy a little break and then I’m going to hopefully be back in the studio around December and January and just start recording again and keep writing and keep playing. I have three shows next week and a bunch more in October and November. So just keep playing, writing and recording.

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