#LetTheGirlsPlay: Maybe April Have No Doubts About Future Together
Nashville trio Maybe April are proof that some arranged marriages are meant to be. Three soloists came from three very different parts of the country and were paired up because, essentially, they were the last three picked at gym class.
It was Grammy Camp, a live-in music camp where participants learn about the industry. Alaina Stacey was still finishing high school and trying to choose between becoming a doctor, an actor or a musician in Nashville. Katy Bishop had recorded some solo cuts and was in college in Nashville. Kristen Castro was still heavily influenced by death metal. Theirs was not an obvious pairing, but when groups started breaking away for special projects, they were the only ones left, so an advisor said, “Go write a song or something.”
Okay, he may not have been that casual about it, but four years later the Americana-inspired country trio (think the Civil Wars with more energy) are among the most talented groups you haven’t heard of. That part is changing. September’s #LetTheGirlsPlay featured act of the month are finally putting together all the pieces.
And they’re having a tremendous amount of fun doing it. While they may come from Simi Valley, Calif. (Castro), Chicago (Stacey) and Jonesboro, Ark. (Bishop), they share similar stories of love and heartbreak. They were all big dreamers, and all supremely talented. Google Castro’s name to find her shredding on a mandolin at Grammy Camp. And then just for kicks, spend a moment watching her headbang like she’s part of Metallica. These days she’s more Pantene than Pantera — a small concession for the good of the group.
“We got along really well, and every time we got together on Skype it was fun,” Castro says, explaining why the odd grouping worked. “And I just remember us laughing a lot of the time. We wouldn’t write anything, we’d just be catching up on each other’s lives.”
A year passed before Castro and Stacey joined Bishop in Music City. Remarkably, all three stayed committed to a shared dream, even if they didn’t have much in their pockets when they arrived.
“We wrote one song at Grammy Camp,” Stacey says, “and then Kristen mostly wrote and we tried to help her over Skype write another one. So by the time we moved in we had two songs.”
Still, their parents were supportive of each of them chasing a dream with strangers, hundreds of miles away from home. “A little too supportive at times,” Bishop jokes as the others share a knowing laugh. Together, their energy is infectious. They support one another, but bust each other’s chops when given the chance.
They quickly found something in common when they sat down to write: All three had been done wrong by a guy.
"Too Late" is the byproduct of shared experiences. Stacey recalls having a “Should we or shouldn’t we?” kind of relationship with a guy she’d known forever. One would be interested, and the other would not. Then, they’d flip-flop. Bishop has been through something similar, although Maybe April’s most organized member was off to visit a boyfriend two states away after the group finished talking to Taste of Country. Maybe you’ll find him in a song sometime (he'd better behave himself).
“I feel like songs we’ve written in the past, we’ve all gone through the same heartbreak so it’s just really easy to write about it, all of us together," Castro says.
Almost everyday / I thought about a time when you finally change your mind / About me, and you’d see / We were always meant to be / Now that’s all in the past / Because I had to move past you / Not gonna change my mind / What did you think after all this time / It’s too late.
Individually, Maybe April’s interests are varied, to say the least. While all are strong Beliebers, one finds solace in Ben Folds, while another may turn to the Civil Wars. And then there’s Castro.
“I feel like I’m one of those people who genuinely loves everything,” she says. “I love death metal, I love bluegrass, I love old-school hip-hop.”
Her love of country came from watching Keith Urban — a singer she had never heard of before her first Grammy Camp. He was the dean that year, and Castro got a chance to be on stage with him. Man, can he ever play guitar, she thought.
“I hated country music before that. I just thought it was cliche and metal was better,” she adds.
As it turns out, metal and country aren’t too far apart. Castro says bluegrass and metal picking use similar techniques, and “Everything I learned in metal I apply to the mandolin now."
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? A death metal cover in the middle of an Americana inspired country set? The Californian lit up at the notion, but Bishop and Stacey will need more convincing.
Maybe April will play shows in and around Nashville through the fall, including several #LetTheGirlsPlay shows at the Listening Room in Nashville. Their debut EP is finished, but they haven't officially celebrated the release. To learn more about them, dive into their YouTube page, especially the "Tour Shenanigans" playlist that mixes rough cuts of their music with personal footage from the road.
Watch and Learn About Maybe April