Episode 009 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* is back with Brooklyn, NY-based Mayteana Morales, singer/percussionist with Pimps of Joytime, and leading an exciting new project Walk Talk. Ms. Morales has been wowing audiences with the Pimps for many years, and it’s been a joy to observe her blossoming as a singer, on the congas, and now as a songwriter in her new endeavor. Mayteana was out in NorCal pulling double duty, playing a pair of gigs with the Pimps of Joytime (Oakland and Lake Tahoe) as well as three shows with Walk Talk. As such, I was lucky and grateful to get Mayteana for a few minutes before band practice one afternoon.
PLEASE EXCUSE THE TRAFFIC NOISE ! Time crunch and had to get the convo in when/where we could.
MAYTEANA INTERVIEW STARTS AT 15 MINS
Seated outside in an industrial-like area of Oakland, Mayteana takes us back to her humble beginnings studying music theater in school, and how she fell in love with singing, and one day just knew that would be her path. It was during these fertile years that she was introduced to a wide swath of music that would shape and influence her, everything from Nina Simone to Jeff Buckley. Slowly Mayteana found her way to the stage, and then spread her wings to fly. Before getting into her career arc, we take a lengthy detour into her recent trip to Cuba, where Mayteana regales us with tales of the cultural explorations she enjoyed, and makes plans for a return to sink even deeper into the Cuban traditions.
Ms. Morales then gives us the lowdown on how she came to be a long-tenured member of Brooklyn electro-funk syndicate Pimps of Joytime, a collective headed up by the enigmatic Brian J. We discuss how the electronic element and onstage sampler, once a formidable component of the band’s DNA, is no longer a part of their onstage performance, as they’ve evolved into more organic instrumentation.
A brief chat about some PoJ lineup changes, making sure to love on longtime KDTU drummer John Staten, who did a tour of duty with the Pimps after leaving Denson’s brigade. Mayteana touches on her new project with PoJ bassist David Bailis, they call it Walk Talk, and it’s fantastic. She details how her creative muse is able to blossom freely into colorful expressions in this new musical paradigm. We finish up with some reflections on first Brooklyn, and then New York City. We geek out on how revolutionary Antibalas was when they hit the scene, and how they’ve influenced and evolved through their two decades. Some favorite NY spots of yesteryear, the cultural impact of the music scene, and how it’s mutated and coalesced, and been reborn again and again, over the past fifteen or so years. A fascinating powwow with an amazing artist and lovely human spirit, Ms. Mayteana Morales.
From there, I couldn’t help but take a moment to address an unfortunate incident that transpired at a concert in Oakland last weekend, a short story, a diatribe and heartfelt appeal to look out for and respect each other, to treat all people with dignity on the dancefloor, and other golden-rule isms. I wasn’t sure I was gonna go there, but I guess I just had to.
Then we segue back into some positive vibrations, and introduce one of the best people I know, Ms. Maria Herrera, a journalist, activist, community organizer, and cannabis business consultant. Maria is one of my most loyal, trusted and treasured friends in this life, an unwavering and unconditional connection unlike any other I’ve shared. She is also a brilliant woman on the front lines of the legal cannabis revolution taking place in Northern California.
MARIA HERRERA INTERVIEW STARTS AT 1Hr 22Mins
Maria checks in on the heels of the Emerald Cup in mid December, to share some fascinating experiences from a variety of perspectives: political, personal, community, business, and beyond. She’s worked extensively with the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, hosts her own women-in-cannabis radio show on KVMR Higher Frequency. Maria’s got boots on the ground at City Council meetings and commiserates with mayors and farmers alike, and she headed up the opening team at Elevation 2477, the first cannabis dispensary in Nevada County, CA. Meanwhile, she continues to consult with numerous boutique cannabis brands and labels throughout NorCal.
If you are wondering what legal weed is like, and how it is all happening beyond retail shopping in a dispensary, then this conversation will be quite interesting to you. Maria may even inspire listeners to get involved in this movement and/or industry in their own backyards, or take action in their community as the legislature continues to evolve and the laws follow swiftly behind. I am honored and proud to know Maria professionally, and eternally grateful to call her a best friend. Look forward to future appearances on the podcast from Maria, on this topic and much more.