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DJ Steve helps Maz take road to stardom

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: August 15, 2011

  • INTERVIEW: Young musician Maz, top, was invited to London by BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq, above

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A TEENAGE singer-songwriter from Devon is on the road to stardom after being invited to record some of her songs at the Maida Vale Studios in London.

Maz Totterdell was asked to go to the legendary studios after impressing BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq.

The 14-year-old from Crediton recorded four of her songs for BBC Introducing. Two of them were aired on Steve Lamacq's show on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday between 11pm and midnight. The show also included a short interview with Maz.

Steve explained, on air, that Maz was the show's first ever guest in session, and that every two or three months, an up-and-coming musician would be invited to go to Maida Vale and then feature on the show.

"It was exciting but nerve-wracking," Maz told the Echo. "It's really weird hearing myself on the radio. I keep pinching myself."

One of the songs aired was Maz's version of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, which was recorded in the same studio that Amy herself recorded the song some time ago.

"It's a really beautiful song and I wanted to cover it," she said during the show.

While Maz was in the capital, she played her first ever London gig, at the Bull and Gate in Camden. She was greeted by an appreciative audience which included Steve Lamacq, Simon Williams from Fierce Panda Records, Neil Pengelly, booker of the Reading and Leeds festivals, and an established radio plugger.

Maz has been singing publicly at open mic nights and other events around Crediton and Exeter since the age of nine.

When she was 10, she reached the final of a national talent competition, UK Unsigned, and performed in front of hundreds of people at the Hackney Empire.

Maz told Steve on his show that she had been playing guitar on and off since she was around eight, but started playing more when she was around 11.

"I've grown up with music," she said. "My mum's a musician and so is my dad, so they taught me, and I taught myself.

"The first inspirational artist I really got into was Taylor Swift.

"I found it really inspiring how she just picked up a guitar when she was little and started writing all these songs and she's got so far. I thought I want to do that."

She said she likes rock music but the style of music she plays is influenced by artists such as Laura Marling and Florence and the Machine. Online, she lists other influences as Tom Milsom, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Amy Macdonald.

Steve told Maz: "From what I've heard, the songs sound like the words in your head coming out in an imaginary conversation with somebody."

The Queen Elizabeth's Community College student signed a recording contract with Essex-based Series 8 Records earlier this year.

She recently recorded her debut album with esteemed engineer Mark Tucker, who has worked with artists including Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention. The album is due for release in January and will be preceded by a single release.

During her interview on Saturday, she said: "The album was recorded in a little shed in a little village. It was really laid back and relaxed, and all the scenery was beautiful. It was a really nice place to record my first album."

One of her songs, Smile On Sunshine, is gaining a lot of attention from industry executives and publishers, and has already been played a number of times on national BBC radio.

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  • omnivore23  |  August 15 2011, 9:08PM

    Good for you Maz. You have a great voice - well done!