Bay Area singer/songwriter Mae Powell fills her music with that loving optimism about the way the world guides its denizens. Raised in San Diego, Powell got the chance as a kid to watch folk musicians record tracks in an ad-hoc studio her mother and sister had set up in their garage. That early exposure to the labor and magic of music-making would ultimately shape her own path.
Powell moved to San Francisco in 2014 to study broadcasting and audio production at San Francisco State University, where she began meeting and collaborating with other musicians who first drew her out of her shell. Inspired by the easygoing reflectiveness of the New York songwriter Frankie Cosmos, Powell began penning her own observations of the world around her and the people who filled it: the warm connections she’d been forging, and the anxiety that sometimes precluded them.
Mae Powell’s upcoming debut album is due in 2021 via Park The Van Records. It evinces a vibrant collaborative spirit, from its playfully layered instrumentation to its lyrics about caretaking and camaraderie even in cold, hostile environments. Recording the album opened an opportunity for Powell to collaborate deeply with other members of her band: bassist Mayya Feygina, drummer Sam Jones, guitarist Spencer Owings, and Garrett Barley on lap steel.
Mae Powell’s latest musical offering is the angry call-to-action “Fuck I.C.E.” “I wrote this song two years ago when Trump was being very vocal about essentially militarizing I.C.E. and cracking down on deportations, family separation, and detention centers,” Mae explains. “I realize now that I.C.E. has been a huge problem since it existed, under any president, but it was the first time that this issue came to my attention. I decided to write this song for two reasons: one, out of anger for what was happening, and two, to and bring attention to an issue that was and is still largely ignored. I wrote it as a starting place for people (especially white people) who were either unaware or didn’t care before to start paying attention and calling for change.”
Here are some resources to help end the injustices and detainment harming Immigrant communities:https://www.parkthevan.com/fuck-ice
(Photo Courtesy: Holiday Hagan)