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Welcome to Maya Hawke Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented actress Maya Hawke. Maya has been in films like "Human Capital", "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood", "Mainstream", "Fear Street: 1994" and "Do Revenge". She's also been in TV Series like "Little Women", "The Good Lord Bird" and "Stranger Things". This site is online to show our support to the actress Maya Hawke, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.
Several new magazine interviews and shoots!
Posted by Veronique on Jun 6, 2024

Alternative Press: Maya Hawke appears on the cover of Alternative Press’ Summer 2024 Issue

For our summer issue, musician, actor, and overall polymath Maya Hawke introduces AltPress to Chaos Angel, her heartstrings-tugging third studio album, and grants us access to the inner sanctum of inspiration that gave way to it. The Stranger Things star outlines her eclectic musical influences, from Miley Cyrus to the Great American Songbook, and the spiritual journey she underwent for her role as Flannery O’Connor in the 2023 film Wildcat, which ultimately led to the inception of Chaos Angel, the character and concept guiding her new album.

“This angel thought she was an angel of love, and came down to Earth to try to be one — only to find that everywhere she was trying to create love, she created chaos.” Hawke reveals. “First she hated herself, and then hated her maker… And then, she realized that in all the places that she thought that she’d created chaos, beauty was growing back.”

Across 10 tracks, Hawke lays bare her relationships. Through the lens of the angel, she unravels the often uneasy complexities of humanity, and human connection — which she serves us with urgent, romantic lyricism, and a raw, honest sonic landscape peppered with air whistling against teeth, tiny gulps, and soft inhales.

“This is a record about codependency, self-actualization, and self-forgiveness,” she says. “It is sonically explorative while keeping you in an indie-rock comfort zone. And more than my other records, it has more drums and real moments of pace but remains, as a whole, dreamy and confessional.”
Her confessions continue in our summer issue, where Hawke opens up to Alternative Press. Also in AP’s 2024 Summer Issue, find features on Wallows, Remi Wolf, Luke Hemmings, and more.

Source: altpress.com

The Line of Best Fit: Embracing imagination as an act of faith helped Maya Hawke find a new level of self confidence, she tells Sophie Leigh Walker

On 17 January 1956, the author Flannery O’Connor wrote of guardian angels in her journal addressed to God. The slender volume was penned fitfully in searing bursts of youth and loneliness in the confines of her mother’s Andalusia Farm in Savannah, Georgia.

Her body had failed her, by now atrophied with lupus, though her mind – the most singular in the Southern Gothic tradition – raged on with questions of the paths not taken, the lives not lived. She wrote: “Between the ages of eight and twelve, I used to lock myself in a room every now and then and making a ferocious face, I whirled around with my clenched fists, beating up the angel. It was the guardian angel which, according to the nuns, we were all provided. He didn’t let you go for a moment. I despised him to death.”

It was an image that left its mark indelibly upon Maya Hawke, and one which she found herself revisiting as the curtains closed on the first act of her twenties. Her third album, Chaos Angel, was written during her own crisis of faith: “I couldn’t understand how I kept ruining my own life,” she says.

For all the world, however, it would appear that Hawke’s particular guardian angel plays favourites. Born to actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, her childhood was steeped in the creative arts; the supporting cast of her life being those in possession of exceptional mind and talent. This acknowledged advantage stoked within her a relentless passion and curiosity, yes – but also a suffocating desire to please, to make something worthy that could be entirely her own.

As a teenager, she turned her hand to acting, having earned acclaim for her performance as Robin Buckley in Stranger Things before going on to star in films by Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson. Hawke’s charisma and execution, even in her minor roles, is not unearned. Her music, however, was for a long time an act of personal communion – a part of her life suspended from judgement. As a child, she would write lyrics to other people’s songs as an outlet for a private emotional experience. A self-confessed poor student at learning the music of others, her teacher changed tack and helped her to realise her own, showing her how to complicate and improve her instincts as a songwriter. “It excited me as a tool for communication, as a way I could tell someone I had a crush on them or tell my mom I was sorry,” she reflects. “It was a way of communicating my inner world.”

She was thrilled by finely-spun wordplay of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, the exacting simplicity of Bright Eyes and the way Taylor Swift granted young women the confidence to speak about their interior lives. There’s more. There is always more. Hawke froths with enthusiasm for art, for music – for particular lenses through which she can see the world and make sense of it. She talks excitedly but not without eloquence. Years spent loving and learning poetry have made her prone to offering up smooth, perfectly rounded turns of phrase like stones ripe for skimming. But then, always, she apologises for herself.

Her debut album Blush, released when she was twenty-two, is “barefoot”, while Moss, its successor, was “bloody” – not unlike how your first foray into adulthood can feel. Especially so, if the world is watching you.

Blush, she reflects, “is very sincere and poetic, steeped in a love of real instruments.” There is not a single electronic instrument on the record; it is understated, a collection of folk-indebted lullabies that allow for her natural rasp as if she’s whispering in your ear. “I love playing in a band. I love live music. I love poetry and metaphor – and that record is full of poetic forms,” she enthuses, telling of the sonnets and villanelles which she reimagined into songs. Moss arrived, however, “like an emergency”; born of an intensity that she relates to an introduction to the modern world and an end to her Blush-tinted ideals. But with that came singular acts of storytelling: the animation of Balthus’ Thérèse Dreaming which birthed her most beloved song so far, and profound reflections that burrow under your skin, as with “Sweet Tooth”: “Saw a movie everybody hated in an empty theatre in Duluth / Swear I really loved it, love is such a better thing to do.”

Which brings us to Chaos Angel, the hard-earned accumulation of those experiences. It’s the density of Blush and the modernity of Moss, while staggering out of the tunnel of her early twenties as her eyes adjust to the unfamiliar. “I was on the precipice of a major transition, in many ways,” she shares. “Making this record was about finding love for parts of myself and decisions I’ve made that I had a lot of guilt, shame and regret for. It’s about saying goodbye to a certain kind of self-hatred while I was learning about dating and relationships while my career was just beginning. I’ve finally moved into a space of more self-forgiveness and calm.”

Hawke masterfully side-steps specificity in her interviews, so much so that she often leans into it comically. She tells me how she would “have a feeling, suppress the feeling, and would not talk about the feeling – and then, I would make a radical, life-changing decision based on the feeling I had suppressed and not talked about.” Now, she is less reactive; there are less decisions born of fear. These broad strokes are rewarded with incisive lyrics that offer glimpses into her closely-guarded life: stretchmarks on stomachs, fingers running along an inseam, and the bitter truth that sometimes good things happen to bad people.

“Between each record, I’m closing the distance between the music that I hear in my head and the music that is coming out of the speakers,” says Hawke. It was an effort between herself and her partner Christian Lee Hutson who has worked closely with Phoebe Bridgers throughout her career. “I trusted Christian to really make me feel like this was mine, and to advocate for me and help me figure out what I wanted in a way that it wasn’t just a great idea, it was my idea – which might not even be a great idea, but it was the only idea that was right for that project.”

It’s a project warmed and uplifted by close friends, including her longtime collaborators Benjamin Lazar Davis and Will Graefe, alongside vocals from her brother Levon and fellow Stranger Things actor Sadie Sink. When Moss was written in one fell swoop, Chaos Angel was intentional and a product of slow evolution. “Sometimes, a person can start to hate their record, but I listened to it and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s what I meant to make. That’s what I meant to do’, she says. “Whether or not I liked what I meant to do is up for grabs, and will probably change over and over again throughout my life, but it’s definitely what I meant to do. And that feels so good.”

Chaos Angel is a story which unfurls across the album’s ten parts. As she delved into Flannery O’Connor’s dark interiority for her lead performance in Wildcat, the biographical drama directed and co-written by her father Ethan Hawke, the image of fighting her guardian angel felt akin to the way we wrestle with our own instincts. “Whatever your gut tells you is your guardian angel speaking to you,” she tells me. “But sometimes, you don’t want to listen to that at all and you fight with it – you fight with your best self. And so I came up with this character for my guardian angel, but I wanted to imagine her as being as flawed, human and confused as I was, and am still.”

Hawke’s guardian angel had gone to a prep school in heaven to be trained for the position of becoming an angel of love. On her first earthly mission, she tries her best to enact love and peace – but everything she touches turns to chaos. Her failure to fulfil her purpose leads to self-hatred; she runs to hide in the woods, withdraws from a world in which she does not belong to protect others from herself. The self-hatred turns to guilt, and the guilt sparks anger at her creator. An angel born to love believes she is an angel of conflict. She retraces her earth-bound steps to confront her maker, and on her way back, passes by all the things she thought she had destroyed. “Through the cracks of destruction there grew beauty, and love,” Hawke explains. “She realises that change is the necessary ingredient for love, and chaos is a necessary ingredient for change. She is both the angel of chaos and she is the angel of love, and those things have to work in unison with each other.” The album’s final, titular song is an anthem of self-acceptance.

This realisation was something she found in her own life. “I had an epiphany, of sorts, a couple of years ago when I was extremely sad,” she reflects, “and I understood, even though it’s a super cheesy line, that there’s no light without the darkness. It came to me with intense clarity that the only thing you know for sure is that when you’re ecstatically happy, someday, you will be sad. It’s the only place for that to go. But equally, you can know that when you’re really sad, happiness will be inevitable. We live in flow-like waves, and the only thing you can know for sure is that whatever is happening now is going to change. You can’t hold too tightly to either your happiness or your sadness.”

Hawke grew up with many spiritual ideas, but without any specific doctrine. Her father’s family is Christian in the Southern tradition, while on her mother’s side, she is the granddaughter of Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. “I grew up kind of steeped in all these different ideologies,” she shares, “and so as I was getting to work on [Wildcat], the big thing that was confusing to me was the idea that her pursuit of writing might be in conflict with her devotion to God. I wanted to really understand, if you didn’t grow up with that level of take-it-or-leave-it religion, what angels would be like.” She explored Catholic angels, Hindu deities and other promised protectors. “I think they give us some sense of importance in a giant, ever-expanding and exploding universe where we’re not sure if we have any meaning at all… There are mysterious parts about being human, and we create ideas with which to help understand them, you know?”

Chaos Angel was also a necessary step towards being kinder to herself. “I went through a period of time where every place that I went, I thought people had heard something bad about me and were talking about it – I even thought that people who were being nice about me had heard something bad and were talking about it. When I wrote Moss, I was so sad, so stuck in that feeling of shame, that I couldn’t write about it fully. I hadn’t gotten out of it,” Hawke shares. “I felt like I needed to be working all the time, doing the most, and the public validation made me feel really good. I think that’s something young women, or young people do, especially. You treat yourself like clay. You meet a new person, and you’re trying to figure out as quickly as possible how to be the most desirable version of yourself for that person. Then I’d feel exhausted. I’d be somewhere going to some photoshoot in my underwear and a bathrobe when I’d just been on a plane and all I was able to eat was a plain pretzel. I was in a weird place, and I was like, ‘What am I doing here? How did I make all these choices?’”

The fragmentary “Dark” was written in a period when Hawke had severe anxiety about falling asleep. “I felt like my body wasn’t going to know how to breathe without my conscious brain telling me to,” she reflects. A doctor told her to accept that she was going to die – to let herself go. “I would say my goodbyes before I went to bed and be like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ And I didn’t die. But it helped me with my anxiety, somehow, just leaning into it.” The chorus of the song was written before Moss, an old chorus she could not bring herself to touch for a long time. “I wasn’t in a place where I felt like I could finish all my sentences yet,” she says. “It almost felt too real to me to finish that song and put it on that record. I didn’t know how to finish it yet, and I didn’t want to go near it.” With Chaos Angel, she finally felt able to put it to bed.

As I listened to “Missing Out” for the first time, one of the most textured and sharply written songs on the record, I was reminded of Sylvia Plath’s renowned fig tree analogy in The Bell Jar: “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor… I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Hawke always harboured an insecurity at having never gone to college. She had been visiting her brother there, feeling at odds with her agemates who were navigating this rite of passage together while she, instead, chose her career; adrift and in her own lonely orbit. The path she picked was the world’s envy, and yet with every decision she made, she felt the world was ever-narrowing. One night, while she was at a college party, they each shared one wish they wanted to fulfil in their lives. One girl said that she wanted to write the next great American novel, and Hawke realised, “I don’t want to just make something great, I want to make a specific thing. I actually think that the path to making something great is through specificity, rather than through open ambition. This is no shade to that person, I think she was just joking, but it made me realise that specific desire was the way to do something that would be meaningful to me. It became about all these different lives that you’re not living, and trying to make the best of what you have. It helped me let go of some of my demons and regrets.”

Portraying Flannery O’Connor in Wildcat awakened other epiphanies about creativity. “I brought my dad this project and the big idea, but I had a real confusion about how we could possibly make it a movie,” she reflects. “Nothing happened in her life, really. There was no grand love story, no crazy adventure – she was a young person who faced a tremendous amount of rejection, was diagnosed with lupus, moved home with the mother she hated for the rest of her life until she died. So then, he had this idea that actually, the event of her life is how far she could travel in her imagination and that we have so much power and capacity to go anywhere we want inside our heads. It’s a crazy ability, and we can try and understand contextualise our lives through the exploration of fictional storytelling.”

Wildcat deftly tells the story of O’Connor’s life through its inextricability with her work. Her emotions, desires and fears manifest in the dramatisations of the stories themselves; O’Connor appears as her own hero and adversary, and often, her mother is cast as the example through which she exposes white hypocrisy in Jim Crow’s South. This lens through which father and daughter explored the nature of creativity itself is something that applies to Chaos Angel, too. “Really, it could be a thesis and almost a self-portrait about how creativity is a religion we practise, and the exploration of imagination is a form of faith, a form of prayer and meditation, trying to actualise an idea. That’s what we tried to make a movie about – even more than it’s about Flannery, it’s about that.”

What Hawke feels she has earned, on the other side of Chaos Angel, is self-confidence. That, and the grace attendant to letting something go. Without fear. “One thing I say, once you release a movie or an album, or any of these things, when you finish it, it’s a funeral. Because when a piece of art is being made, it’s alive – then, when you put it out, no more decisions can be made. It’s now dead. And then basically all of the people now get to decide whether or not they like your dead thing, the accumulation of its life. But sometimes you get really lucky, and people pick it up and take it on for themselves and give it a new life.” Maya Hawke is long gone, but as long as Chaos Angel is around, we will be divinely protected.

Source: thelineofbestfit.com

Flood Magazine: Music Is in Maya Hawke’s Wise Blood

In our latest digital cover story, the actor and musician discusses her sophisticated new album Chaos Angel, her new Flannery O’Connor biopic Wildcat, and the unlikely ways in which they intersect.

“Sometimes I feel like you’re trying to stick pins in your readers,” a literary agent grumbles in the new biopic Wildcat, as fledgling writer Flannery O’Connor—portrayed by an astonishingly transformed Maya Hawke—attempts to sell her confrontational first novel, Wise Blood. “I don’t think you need to make them suffer in order to introduce them to the unusual way your mind works.”

One might imagine a similar conversation taking place between Hawke and some buttoned-up music executive about Chaos Angel. The wise-beyond-her-years musician and Stranger Things actress’s third album of folk pop for indie label Mom + Pop is at turns dark and comic, messy yet beautiful, and unsparingly honest in its explorations of morality, spirituality, and emotional brutality. The record is, in its own way, an instant-classic work of Southern Gothic non-fiction.

“That’s so kind of you to say. That’s so kind of you to say,” Hawke murmurs humbly, speaking via Zoom from her sun-bleached, sepia-toned backyard in Georgia. She expresses similar wonder and gratitude, almost disbelief, upon receiving praise for her Oscar-worthy breakout performance in the fever dream of a film that is Wildcat. “Well, it makes you extremely special that you feel that way,” she chuckles. “It’s a very weird movie, and it’s really only for people who have crazy brains and really artistic minds and weird dreams. So it makes me feel a lot of commonality with you that you like it.”

Hawke is as unguarded in conversation as she is in her confessional lyrics, prattling on in manic bursts and stream-of-consciousness spurts—rarely censoring herself, with no killjoy Hollywood publicist butting in to block any questions or steer the conversation back to any pre-approved talking points. She tends to talk in metaphors and similes and grand ideas—similar to how O’Connor, as explained to the doubting publishing executive in the above-mentioned Wildcat scene, just keeps typing until her narratives take shape. Hawke’s guilelessness is refreshing, and frankly delightful, coming from a second-generation screen star—she’s the daughter of acclaimed actors Ethan Hawke, who directed her in Wildcat, and Uma Thurman. But at this point in her career, as she releases her most sophisticated and ambitious record yet at age 25, she’s probably unconcerned about any dreaded #nepobaby stigma or about having to prove herself as a formidable talent in her own right.

“Gosh, I don’t even feel like that’s true!” she interjects incredulously. “I mean, it’s true in a way, and yet it’s not true. [My lineage] is still a conversation that I have all the time. I guess I didn’t worry about it at all when I first started. Or I initially worried way more about the whole actor-to-musician eyebrow-raise. I think it’s actually only been in the last year or so, really, since the internet created a hashtag for it, that the other thing really got involved in my thinking, if I’m being honest. In the last year or so, it’s become much more salacious, and it’s actually created a new kind of perception anxiety in me. I spend an embarrassing amount of my time thinking about that, so I’m still figuring it out, I guess.”

Hawke got a later start in show business than some of her young-Hollywood peers, making her screen debut as Jo March in the BBC’s Little Women at age 19 and landing the role of Robin Buckley in Stranger Things at 21. At 22, she released her critically heralded first album, Blush, because she “wanted to do something that I could control when I was acting. I was auditioning and getting rejected all the time and waiting in New York to work, and I wanted to have some creative outlet that I felt empowered in.” A working actor’s life can be tough even if that actor has a famous last name and supposed industry connections, so Hawke’s concerned parents had initially discouraged her from taking up the family business at all.

“There are ways that I’m grateful, and there are times in which I wish that I’d gotten to start work earlier so I could be further along in my career now,” Hawke admits. “My parents were both child actors, and it was very important to them that I not do that. Being a working child is a difficult way of being a child; it takes pieces from your childhood that could be footloose and fancy-free, and my parents wanted me to be as footloose and fancy-free as I could possibly be, for as long as possible.” Hawke didn’t even go on an audition until her junior year of high school, when she was “secretly trying out for things while I was in drama school—during my lunch breaks, sneaking out to casting offices.”

Instead, the young, pre-fame Hawke indulged her writerly side, which would serve her well when she later plunged into the creation of both Chaos Angel and Wildcat. “My first love is storytelling. If you go back to my childhood, I was writing poems with my dad at the typewriter, or telling stories out loud while someone transcribed them,” she recalls fondly. “I have books of poetry that I wrote and collected and illustrated as a kid. I have a little novel that I wrote when I was 10 or 11. I wrote songs. I was in every school play. I loved words and language, and the interdisciplinary aspect of it never mattered to me much as a kid. It matters to me more and more now, because every time you break into a new discipline, it’s newly scary and newly vulnerable, and you have to go in with a beginner’s mind. But as a kid, I just loved storytelling and all the different ways that you could do it.”

It was while attending high school at Saint Ann’s that Hawke became obsessed with the works of Shakespeare, Nabokov, Tolstoy, Ginsberg, and, yes, O’Connor. “It’s a very cool liberal arts school in Brooklyn; if you google it, lots of ridiculous people went there,” she laughs. (A cursory skim of the school’s “Notable Alumni” Wikipedia listing reveals names like the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Lena Dunham, Jemima and Lola Kirke, and Lucy Wainwright Roche.) Despite her naturally vivid imagination and early exposure to the arts, Hawke had previously floundered academically, but once she enrolled at Saint Ann’s, she flourished and “turned into this dyslexic kid who always had a 400-page book in their backpack.”

“My style of writing is deeply inspired by my time in high school,” Hawke says. “Before then, I’d been kicked around between schools. I went to, for lack of a better word, a posh uniform school, and then I was asked to leave because of my dyslexia. And then I went to a school for dyslexics, and then I went to a Waldorf school. So I had a real complex about not being able to read and not being a good student. But then I got to this school that didn’t have grades. That was extremely good for me. At my other schools, if you didn’t do a good job on your homework, there was a sense of shame, but because [Saint Ann’s] was all written reviews, we all felt equal walking into the classroom. So I was able to develop a real pride in my intellectual curiosity, in my reading and in my questioning. I almost started to see my aptitude for reading as my revenge against my dyslexia. I started all these book clubs where we read Anna Karenina and Moby-Dick—I tried to start one where we would read Lolita, but I couldn’t get a teacher to agree to do it!”

And that brings us to Chaos Angel, Hawke’s most poetic and personal collection of stories to date. While she had completed the majority of the album—collaborating with Will Graefe and Okkervil River’s Benjamin Lazar Davis and her producer and partner, Christian Lee Hutson—before she began shooting Wildcat, the spare, melancholy title track was written while she was absorbed in the making of that film.

“I think Wildcat shows up in Chaos Angel in some of the Catholic imagery that I use. I’m very moved by that imagery. I wasn’t raised Catholic or in any real denomination, but I was raised extremely curious and sort of under the guise of the idea that ‘no religion is the moon,’ and that there’s something greater,” says Hawke, whose maternal grandfather is Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. “Flannery has this quote about how she used to wrestle with her guardian angel—if you watch the movie, it’s in the scene in the train station, where she talks about how she even used to sock at her guardian angel. And from what Flannery’s talking about, I realized that the songs I’d written all captured these moments where I didn’t listen to that voice, or wasn’t my best self, and trying to go back to those moments and analyze them.

“And what I started to think about was: What happens if your guardian angel is sick? What happens if your guardian angel is broken?” Hawke continues, her thoughts now tumbling out, much like O’Connor’s words onto a typewritten, ink-smeared page. “I then started to personify my guardian angel as this girl who was as confused as I was. That’s where this idea of the ‘chaos angel’ came from. My own guardian angel didn’t know herself, and she had to find herself in order to be able to protect me. Then I kind of strung it back through the rest of the record. I realized that it was already kind of there, and that this sense of me stumbling around looking for answers was actually my inner voice being a little broken. It was me wanting to heal the inner voice, so that I could heal the outer person.”

That’s where the album’s many meditations and mantras come in: “I want you, I love you, I promise, I’m sorry.” “I need you, I need you, I wanna be alone.” “If you’re OK, then I’m OK.” Hawke explains, “You have these things that repeat in the record, over and over. What I was trying to show through that is that we get stuck in these patterns and it’s difficult to break out of them—but you have to try.”

Chaos Angel opens with the winsome childhood reflection “Black Ice” and its circular, self-soothing incantation: “Give up, be love, give up, be loved.” Hawke says that song and the title track—which, interestingly, is the final track on the LP—are the record’s most vulnerable. “I chose to bookend the album with those two songs because in some ways, they’re inverted—‘Chaos Angel’ should be the first song, and ‘Black Ice’ should be the last song, because ‘Black Ice’ is the conclusion that I came to. But I put it first because people listen to first songs more than they listen to last songs, and it’s more important to me that people get the peace and the optimism that I feel in that song. Then in ‘Chaos Angel,’ they get the pain. But I think people are shown lots of pain all the time right now, and being shown a path toward peace and acceptance is less common. It mattered to me more that people saw the solution before they saw the problem. And ‘Chaos Angel’ is sort of the problem. It’s really raw, because it’s confessional about my difficulty in relationships and the struggles that I’ve had.”

Aside from skirting any queries about Stranger Things spoilers, of course, Hawke’s only brief moments of reticence come when she’s questioned about specific, relationship-centric stories behind certain lyrics—like the aptly titled “Dark,” which begins with the gut-punching lyric “I don’t want to cry in your T-shirt ever again,” and which is described in a press release as being inspired by “a major anxiety episode following a soul-shattering breakup”; or the transactional-analytic therapy-speak recitation “Okay,” which Hawke wryly refers to as her codependency anthem. “I think that’s a question more for a shrink than for an article,” she chuckles.

But soon the floodgates crash open once more, as Hawke explains that while making Wildcat, “I was trying to stop the pendulum from swinging so wide. I think I was swinging between, ‘Oh my God, I need to ground myself—I need a home base, I need a place to live, I need a singular partner, I need to know who I am!’ And then I would get myself grounded and feel so stuck and suffocated that I couldn’t breathe and I needed to escape. So then I would escape and be free and there’d be this moment of relief. But then I’d feel chaotic again. I was swinging on this pendulum between suffocation and chaos, and I was really looking to find more equilibrium within myself, and more patience.

“So I think that was what I was looking to do: take the pendulum and narrow its swing. And I was really on my way by the time I made this record,” she continues, noticeably brightening. “I was communicating differently. Really, the big key for me was just no more lying—not even white lying. I was never a compulsive liar or anything like that, but I was trying to control too much of my life and control the way people thought about me in relationships—getting into relationships and in the beginning being like, ‘Yeah, I’m totally, exactly the person that you want me to be!’ I could sustain that for a while, but then I’d crack and wouldn’t be able to keep it up. So I started being really honest about what my expectations for myself were and who I was, and that started to change everything. Because it’s not the other person that’s suffocating you. It’s the version of yourself that you created, that you think that other person wants, that’s suffocating you. And the only way to find out if that person really likes who you are is to start being who you are. By the time I was recording the album, I was already on my honesty train, and since then, I’ve been catching up with the honesty train and really starting to see the positive ramifications of that in my life.”

And so, with a remarkable body of work both on record and onscreen, Hawke has little to hide or prove anymore. “I don’t feel very fixated on that at the moment. I’m feeling very excited about my life. I think we always have these different fantasies about different versions of our life, and I’ve got a rich fantasy life, but I love my life and I love my job, and I’m not pessimistic about all the chapters I have ahead of me that will look different,” she says. “I’m in a very optimistic mood.”

Source: floodmagazine.com

The Forty-Five: When she’s not battling demogorgons, Maya Hawke pens melancholic, soul-searching indie-folk. Three albums in, she’s unpicking and reframing her past relationships – and being a little kinder to herself in the process.

Maya Hawke is sitting on her porch in Atlanta, Georgia, painting in the morning sun. As birds sing and chirp behind her, it seems like an idyllic start to her day off – a rare moment to catch her breath between filming the fifth and final season of Stranger Things. “You’re lucky,” she says dryly as The Forty-Five comments on her surroundings. “The last interview I did, they heard the sound of someone else’s weed whacker.”

The 25-year-old musician and actor has been having a busy time of late, not just because of the little Netflix hit that introduced her to the world. When we speak, she’s preparing to release her third album, ‘Chaos Angel’, her most accomplished and exciting album yet. The record takes the building blocks of her folky first two albums, ‘Blush’ and ‘Moss’, and levels up, showcasing new songwriting strengths and fresh facets of who she is as an artist.

Hawke came up with the idea for the album’s title when she was working on her latest movie, Wildcat. Directed by her dad, Ethan, the movie tells the story of writer Flannery O’Connor, played by Hawke. “The thing that inspired me was this one line where Flannery O’Connor describes herself fighting with her guardian angel and that she would punch at it,” she explains. “That really got me thinking about the way we all do that. You can call it a lot of things – your instincts, your gut, your guardian angel – but we all know what it is. It’s the voice in our head that says, ‘You need to have that next drink’ or ‘Maybe this relationship isn’t good for you’. This record is my talking to that voice and reflecting on experiences I’ve had where I didn’t listen and fought with it.”

As she pondered that idea, Hawke also wondered about how having bad instincts might impact the imaginary angel trying to guide you on the right path. Soon, she had conjured up the record’s titular character – a Cupid-style cherub who was meant to spread love but, despite her best intentions, leaves pure chaos in her wake. “Bad things can happen to you, in your childhood or whatever time in your life, and knock your instincts off course,” she reasons. “What if I could personify my sick angel and talk to her and say, ‘You’re OK, you just got a little confused about what your job is’? What if I could communicate with my instincts and therefore help heal them so that, when I do hear a voice in my head, I can trust it?”

The chaos angel’s story ends happily. In Hawke’s narrative, the character is convinced that she’s destroyed all the things she was trying to make beautiful, but when she retraces her steps, she finds the opposite to be true. Since she crashed through the path, goodness has sprung up and is in full bloom. That conclusion, the star says, is reflective of something she realised about her habits in her love life.

“I went through a period of time of having an extreme amount of regret over my behaviour and romantic relationships – I hadn’t been in a relationship that lasted longer than a year, and I was in a state of serial monogamy,” she shares. Whenever one partnership ended, she’d quickly enter a new one: “I had this joke that the relationship was never the problem, but breaking up was always the cure – I would get this rush of freedom and then immediately try to tie myself down to something else.” She describes it as a pendulum swinging between two desires – to be free and to be safe – it lurching to whatever was the opposite of the situation she was in at the time.

When the artist freed herself from that vicious cycle, she felt “a lot of self-hatred” for the way she had previously behaved. But, like her chaos angel, she realised things weren’t as bad as she first thought. “I didn’t have a long list of people that hated me or wouldn’t pick up my calls,” she says. “I had friends, actually, and people who we’d worked through our experience together and moved into a friendship. That was so beautiful, and I valued it so much – in my opinion, friendship is the highest [kind] of relationship. It’s people that choose to be around you, not because you can provide them with a home or sex or whatever, but they just love you.”

At its core, ‘Chaos Angel’ is a record about relationships, with Hawke studying her connections to her personal connections and the world around her. The songs are linked by a mantra that only makes itself clear at the album’s end in the title track when she sings, “I want you / I love you / I promise / I’m sorry” over tumbling piano, representing the romantic pattern she had been moving in. Those words and the feelings contained within them are dotted through the rest of the songs that come before the finale. “I feel like the rest of the record is an invitation to figure out how to break the cycle,” Hawke suggests, noting that the album ends on the line “I love you” – proof that she’s emancipated herself from another repeat performance.

It isn’t just love that Hawke is reflecting on with her third album, but other aspects of her life, too. We might not often think of those in the public eye – particularly those who’ve entered the spotlight in their youth – as missing out on much. But, while the young star is grateful for all her chosen career has brought her so early, she couldn’t help but wonder what adolescent rites of passage she had skipped by following her path. The college experience loomed large in those thoughts, but, luckily, her brother Levon was attending New York Ivy League school Brown, and she began to spend time with him and his friends there, trying to fill that gap.

“Everyone said to me that the thing to fear about not doing college was not putting in the time with your own generation, not getting to meet the people who will be there,” Hawke explains. “It’s just four years and then they’re going to graduate and all be friends, and you’re going to have been this weird freak hanging out with 40-year-olds.” Her time on campus made her realise she was right; she had missed out, but it also helped her learn to love the direction she had gone in life. “When I first was hanging out there, I would cry in conversations about whether or not the SAT was a good judge of intelligence. By the end, I was like, ‘Maybe it is, maybe it’s not – it’s not my kind of intelligence, and I’m OK with my life’. That was a big transition for me.”

Her college catch-up is captured on the fittingly titled ‘Missing Out’, a lilting folk-pop piece that’s as wry as it is infectious. At one point, she assesses of herself, “I’ve been someone to talk about / I want to be someone to talk to,” a lyric she says is about being seen as her perceived public persona rather than as a persona, but has more relatable layers for those of us not in the public eye. “In a normal way, if you have some chaotic relationships, you’re likely going to get gossiped about,” she explains. “That never feels good because no one ever understands your point of view. Just in my community, I’d rather be someone to talk to and confide in, be trustworthy and be seen as a good friend and a good secret keeper.”

‘Chaos Angel’ is both a testament to and document of growth like that in many areas of Hawke’s life, including in her songwriting. Where her previous two records found her writing in a more guarded lyrical style, hiding her meaning behind metaphors and poetic turns of phrase, here she’s much more direct. On the slow swoon of ‘Okay’, she strips back her words to largely just two lines – “If you’re okay / Then I’m okay”. This change, in her mind, comes from shifting her inspirations.

“I was extremely inspired – and still am – by poets like Emily Dickinson, Edna St Vincent Malay and Coleridge,” she says. “These people wrote in really elaborate language. I mean, Emily didn’t, but sometimes it’s hard to understand what she’s talking about. I think I was honing in on what was most like if I were to paint a picture of how I was feeling and then write a poem about the picture and then write a song based on the poem – these levels of removal that can bring you to a wider metaphoric wisdom.”

Now, though, she acknowledges, adding in all those layers can sometimes have an adverse effect, breaking “the chain of intimacy between you and your listener”. “A song is such an extraordinary communication tool that you don’t need to add that much more to it. You can say, ‘I want you, I love you’ – on the written page, that’s not much of a poem, but if put to music in the right way, it can almost be a new idea.”

Hawke has evolved musically, too. While most people would have classed her as a musician long ago, this album is the first time she says she’s actually felt like one rather than just “a poet in a band”. She credits that transformation in her thinking to Christian Lee Hutson, the album’s producer and one member of the tight-knit circle of collaborators she’s been building since ‘Blush’. “He really encouraged me to include my own writing in it,” she explains. “There’s a bunch of melodies in the record that I wrote, so I think I feel more agency over it in that way.”

One of those melodies is on the title track. Hutson heard it when Hawke was walking around her house singing it and asked her what it was. She told him it was “just this thing I’ve been working on” and that she needed to give him and their fellow cohorts the lyrics so they could come up with some new music to go with them. “He was like, ‘We don’t need new music – that’s great’,” she recalls. “It was through his encouragement that I started to put my own music on this record.”

Now she feels more comfortable mastering her own melodies, Hawke has chords in her crosshairs next. “I know all the basics, but I don’t know an interesting, cool, new way to play G,” she smiles. “I don’t feel like I have the command to express myself emotionally through chords yet.” When The Forty-Five points out that many amazing songs are built from the simplest of chords, she hurriedly agrees: “Most of my favourite songs have the chords I write with. But there are different emotional connotations to all different chords, and I get very excited figuring out what the chords are going to be and how the phrasing of them is going to operate.”

Talking to Hawke, excitement is an emotion that you sense is a frequent presence in her life. She waxes lyrical about everything from the intricacies of her music to her still-held fantasy of one day being considered legitimate enough to be an acting teacher to the intersection of her acting and music careers and how each feeds the other. After a moment’s thought, she says she can see things she’s learnt through playing Robin in Stranger Things in this album of growth and acceptance.

“Through playing parts, I’ve grown to discover more parts of myself – I’m not exactly like Robin, but there are parts of me that are a lot like her,” she reasons. “Playing her helped me explore those parts, come to accept them and find grace for them in me, like the part of me that can’t stop talking and the part of me that has had massive periods of confusion and revelry over the exploration of my sexuality, parts of me that are sarcastic and discreet and uncoordinated. I grew to have love for those parts and to explore them further for her benefit and, therefore, for my benefit as well. There’s tons of that in the record.”

Considering that character has clearly had a big impact on her over the years, how is she feeling about saying goodbye to her after finishing this upcoming season of Stranger Things? “It won’t be a goodbye,” Hawke replies. “The experience of being on a show like that is once-in-a-lifetime. I think it helps people, gives them joy, heroes, and people to look up to and see themselves in. I will be talking to people about that character and experience for the rest of my life. It’s very sad to say goodbye to my co-workers, but that character will be with me forever.”

As she talks, the red paintbrush Hawke has been creating something with off-screen bobs about the screen. As our time together comes to an end, she lifts up the rectangle she’s been dabbing at to show us her work. On it, is a blue-green sky that softly changes hue the further to the edges it goes, black trees and stick figures etched along the bottom of the card. It’s pretty and intriguing – the light from its brightest patch emanating outwards as if pulling the rest of the scene out of darkness, just like ‘Chaos Angel’.

Source: thefortyfive.com

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  • Maintained by: Veronique
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Stranger Things
When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back.

Follows the life of writer Flannery O'Connor, while she was struggling to publish her first novel.

A devoted Beatles fan attempts to break into the Alaskan hotel the band is staying in, with the hopes of meeting George Harrison.

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In 1977 a young woman begins working for director Billy Wilder and his screenwriter Iz Diamond during the filming of "Fedora". The shoot continued to Germany where she finds Wilder on a journey into the heart of his family history.


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