Whether you come from a small town or the big city, music knows no boundaries as it connects those with passion and talent regardless of background. This was the case with country trio, Maybe April. What started out as three strangers (Katy Bishop, Kristen Castro, and Alaina Stacey) from different walks of life simply attending a music industry camp in Nashville in 2012, as turned into, what can only be described as a “family”. Their deep love of country-folk music and genuine admiration for one another’s unique sound; helped develop a faction that sounded and presented itself as if they had worked together and known each other for years.
As part of “The Resurgence of The Girl Groups” series, in an exclusive feature Maybe April discusses the meaning behind their name, their thoughts on the sudden interest in female groups in music and the defining moments/influences on their journey thus far.
Where does the name, Maybe April come from? Is there a particular meaning behind it?
The name came from Grammy Camp where we met, we were writing a song together and getting to know each other and decided to present ourselves as a trio for the week. We had a hard time coming up with a band name, and then Katy and Alaina realized that they were both born in April. We asked Kristen, hoping that she was too, and found out that she was born in December. So now we say she’s the “Maybe.” On a more sentimental note, Katy mom’s sister was killed in a car accident when she was only 10 years old and her name was Molly April (Katy’s full name is Molly Katherine). We didn’t even put two and two together until about a year and a half after we had formed.
Each performance and song tells a story “of everything from hardship to heartache” and when people see and/or hear Maybe April, what do you want them coming away with?
We do write a lot about heartache, and sometimes we think we should start writing happier songs haha. However, that is what we were all going through at the time we met, and a lot of the artists we love have those songs that people can really relate to in hard times. I think it’s important for us to make people happy, whether that’s from our goofy banter onstage or feeling like their situation is not the first of its kind. I think we have a good enough balance of upbeat personalities, that when you do hear sad songs at a show you are still having a good time.
Collectively you guys are described as “a perfect fit”, but like any group you’ve had your ups and downs; what have been the most challenging things you’ve experienced since coming together? What have those lessons thought you?
One of the hardest parts is just making decisions together. We are three separate people with three varying opinions, so it is a task to all be on the same page sometimes. It takes a lot more meetings and discussions than it would for a solo artist. Also, it’s hard getting on the same schedule and realizing you have to take each other’s schedules into account at all times. It’s been difficult, but it has taught us the importance of being aware of other people’s opinions and time.
What do you attribute the sudden interest in female groups in music to, it has been a while since country music has seen a prominent girl group?
The whole “tomato” statement definitely stirred the pot as far as why females weren’t getting airplay. It brought to attention how imbalanced the ratio of male to female artists is, especially in country music. There has been a big push in Nashville by strong females in the business to help change that. Also, I think people want what they haven’t heard in awhile and female groups have been pretty absent the past few years, so we’re glad that void is getting filled.
Coming from different backgrounds and each having unique influences, how are you able to blend everything to develop your sound?
We never sat down and said, “let’s take this influence from Kristen, and this from Alaina, and that from Katy.” It was just a natural sound that came together as we brought each of our voices to the table. It seems like Maybe April is a big mix of all of us because if you heard other things that we do individually you would hear big differences, but you would most likely hear which part of Maybe April came from each of us. We all come from different places too (Katy is from Arkansas, Alaina is from Chicago, Kristen is from LA), so we have entirely different backgrounds. It’s kind of like a miracle that our voices blend so well because we are all so different individually. Sometimes when we listen to our songs we can’t always tell who is who, which is super weird and funny.
Speaking of your sound, what goes into your creative process whether it’s writing new songs or developing your stage presence?
Writing is always a different process. If we are writing with someone else, it’s going to be more structured than if we are just writing as a group on our own. Sometimes we come up with horrible things or just joke around until we actually find something we want to keep working on. Regardless, we usually find a melody first and then write lyrics to go with it. For shows, I think we feel out the type of audience at each venue. Early in the show we can usually tell how funny we should try to be, or if we should tell more stories or just play the music. It is a process that has taken time, and we are still growing as a live band. Since we aren’t running around the stage raising our beers, we have to intrigue audiences in other ways.
Of your varying influences, what would have had the biggest impact in shaping Maybe April since coming together?
Unfortunately, some of our biggest influences are no longer active groups. The Civil Wars and Eden’s Edge really impacted us, we loved the production and instrumentation of their albums and their harmonies. We also love Kacey Musgraves, we think she is instrumental in changing the sound of country music. Of course we also have our influences that we sound nothing like. Kristen’s favorite band is Iron Maiden, and all three of us adore the Queen (Beyonce of course).
Since coming together have you received any advice from family, friends, music personnel, fans, etc. that has just stuck with you?
We played a Grammy event in 2014 called A Song is Born. It was the most incredible experience. We got to share a stage with Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Gavin Degraw, and Joy Williams, just to name a few. After we played, Bonnie and Kris came up to us, and Kris said “Don’t ever give up.” We’re sure he has no idea who we are now, but it meant a lot to us and really stuck with us. Our friends and family have been so supportive throughout our journey. Everyone has different opinions and advice, and it can be overwhelming, but we love and appreciate it all, and it really does help.
Do you have any advice for those hoping to achieve their own dreams, but might be too scared to take a risk?
We would say that it is scary, and it’s not always easy, but if you don’t try you will always regret it. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly like you planned, you will learn and see things along the way that you never would have otherwise. Even though it may not seem like it at the time, everything you do matters and counts. Some things may be blessings in disguise. You never know what will pay off in the end. You only get one life so there’s no reason not to try everything that think you may want to.
What is the plan for Maybe April as summer is around the corner and 2016 continues to unfold as you have been generating quite a buzz lately?
We have a lot of shows coming up! We are traveling quite a bit this summer and hope to build off the buzz we have started. Also, we have an EP coming out before the end of the summer as well so that will be really important for us to get out. Other than that, social media is a great way to connect and introduce people to who we are as a band and as people, so hopefully we will utilize that more over the summer.