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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Designated Driver" - Maya

There is something potently vivid and sensory about the scene singer/songwriter Maya sets on her latest single, "Designated Driver." The 24-year-old artist is blanketed in the night's atmosphere, but her voice is close and clear. It really does evoke the feelings of driving at night alone — or with someone who makes you feel alone. The first half of "Designated Driver" is powerfully quiet. Maya's silky vocals are richly detailed against the atmospheric synths and acoustic guitar. Drums and layers of vocals bring the song to its mighty crescendo. At its peak, the rumbling bass underscores a flurry of vocal harmonies and percussion. It sounds like speeding down the highway in a snowstorm. As she comes out of the other side, "Designated Driver" ends in the stark quiet where it began. Tying together these contrasting elements is the indelible sense of disconnect.

Losing your connection with someone is one of the most heartbreaking subject matters. "We used to go everywhere," Maya winces on the second verse, "now you only call me up if there's something in your cup." It's universally relatable: only being useful to someone instead of cherished ("went from someone you love, to someone you needed"). The specificity of Maya's lyricism, however, elevates "Designated Driver" to both authentic expression and storytelling. "In the morning I'll forget that I swore I would let go of you for good," she admits. It's a story where the protagonist knows how it needs to end, but recognizes that it never will as long as she remains locked into the cycle.

Pop singer/songwriter Maya began writing and recording original music at the age of sixteen. She first gained traction for her viral hit "Bittersweet," which released as the LA-based artist's third single. Maya's discography is wide-ranging, pulling from many corners of pop music, but cohesive in her captivating vocal melodies. In 2021, Maya released her debut EP, 21 Years to Realize, which has since accumulated over 750,000 streams on spotify. "Designated Driver" is released as her second single of 2023, following "Award Season." The official music video for her latest single is beautifully shot as a perfect companion to the sound and lyrics.

Written By Andy Mockbee



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