“I do, August 18,” said an excited Maia Sharp. “Reckless Thoughts” is the name of it. Reckless thoughts is a line from one of the songs. “California” is the song and it’s “Reckless thoughts and broken hearts collide.” As I was combing through all of the lyrics looking for a possible title, that one kind of leapt out at me because the reckless spot can be the thing that gets you in trouble and also the reckless thought can be the thing that leads you to where you’re supposed to go. I feel like songwriting sometimes is just a series of reckless thoughts (laughs); you know? You kind of want to let your brain be free and go somewhere that feels a little dangerous to find the next idea. So, the reckless thought isn’t always a bad thing and it felt like the double meaning of that could be worthy of the album title”
“Reckless Thoughts” is Sharp’s ninth solo album but her past songwriting has served her well as she has penned material for Trisha Yearwood, Cher, with and for Art Garfunkel as well as one of her “Inspirations,” Bonnie Raitt. So, to understand where she started where she is now and where she is going with her music which has been called, “The culmination of a 25 year career,” let’s start at the beginning.
“Originally I’m from California, I was born in Central Valley and moved to Los Angeles when I was five and I was there my whole life until the beginning of 2019,” she explained. “So, I had over 40 years in L.A. and still feel very much a Californian even though I moved to Nashville about four years ago. Nashville is definitely a good fit, it’s a better musical fit for me and the community here is very supportive and even though I have some really close friends back in Los Angeles, there is something about the atmosphere here that just feels like a better fit for how I write and what I want to do with my music and it’s definitely the way to go.”
One “Way to go,” was a project involving legendary vocalist and half of one of the most successful duos of all time, Art Garfunkel.
“I did a trio project with him,” she said with a laugh. “Billy Mann was a mutual friend of ours and Billy had this idea that Art, Buddy Mondlock and I should work together and Art, believe it or not, had never written songs before he worked with us. He had written prose and obviously he had been a singer for years but he wasn’t a songwriter until we all got together and did our thing. That was a really cool experience; getting to write with him, sing with him, record with him, tour with him, I learned a ton.”
Prior to that moment in time, Sharp had another influencer before the term “Influencer” was popular; the aforementioned Bonnie Raitt.
“The Bonnie Raitt experience was incredible,” she stated with reverence. “I’ve been a fan of hers pretty much my whole life and having the opportunity to meet her, hear her record my songs, then I got to record with her and then I got to go on the road with her; I opened up for her for a couple of months and then here and there since 2005. I opened for her at the end of June/ beginning of July; she has become a good friend and it’s like a dream and such a validating one too.I always felt a connection to her music and then when she chose to record my songs, she let me know that she felt a connection to mine also; that was huge. That was such a B-12 shot to my confidence too and since then, kind of anything that didn’t go right, I could tell myself, yeah but Bonnie loves me (laughs).”
“I went to college as a saxophone performance major so I got into Jazz and Blues,” she continued. “I grew up listening to Folk and Indie Rock; I like Classical, I like all kinds of music but she just happens to be really, really good at her kind of music. She’s stronger all the time, I had the unique opportunity to see her many times over the years. As a fan, I think the first time I saw her live I was maybe 15 and then I think the next time was my early twenties and then I got to open for her and see her from the wings in my thirties, forties and every time I see her, she gets impossibly stronger. I got to open for her last March and she just crushed it! How is that possible? How does she just keep getting better? She really is an inspiration. I think a lot of the key to staying that strong is literally staying healthy. After a certain age, your body doesn’t forgive you as much for the shit that you put it through (laughs). So, those that make the right choice at the crossroads; like, I can either start really weathering my body or I can stay strong into my seventies. The people who make the second choice, we get to hear it; Bonnie takes really good care of herself and you can see it and hear it on stage and it’s an inspiration.”
With music royalty such as that in her camp, certainly they must have seeped into some of her “Reckless Thoughts.”
“The Bonnie influence is always there and probably will always be there, the Nashville influence started showing up a little more on my last record in 2021, “Mercy Rising” which is the first album I made since I moved here. It definitely showed up there a bit and it’s in the new record as well but it’s hard to say along the lines of when Nashville has influenced my writing because I’ve been coming here four or five times a year for over 20 years to write. So, even before I lived here I was trying to check-in here as often as I could because there is such a great pool of writers here. So, the influence has come in and out of my writing for a long time but yeah, since I moved here these last two albums; I think you’re definitely going to hear it. When I say a Nashville influence, it’s not necessarily Country, it’s more kind of the brand of Americana that’s strong here now.”
“Reckless Thoughts” has been released to the masses for approximately one week; was there a strategy behind the release date?
“The album has 10 tracks and I wanted to have everything done in time and we wanted to release the three singles before the album came out. We released “Kind,” “Old Dreams” and then “She’ll Let Herself Out” and that was the radio single. I wanted to get a little ramp up and kind of get the conversation started with those which were only available digitally at first and now everything is available since August 18.”
Maia enjoys staying busy and has multiple hot irons in the proverbial fire and with such a diverse workload; how will she go about promoting the album?
“I’ve got some shows, probably half of August, half of September and October; I’ve never been the artist who tours 300 days a year. I like to be in town for writing sessions here, producing other artists here; I write for an organization called Songwriting With Soldiers and I do probably two or three trips a month for them. I’m an adjunct at NYU, I have private students there; I like the diversity of all of these pursuits and it has also been the key to my survival (laughs); I need to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So, when there is an album out I still do probably two weeks a month and I’ll be hitting a lot of the old favorite places and trying some new ones and I’m looking forward to getting out there, it has been a while. Usually, I go out like a Wednesday through Sunday and then come home a few days and then go out again and in Nashville, I can do that. When I was living in L.A, it was a pain in the ass to go out for a few days and come all the way back, go out and come all the way back and Nashville is so central that that’s really the smarter way to play it. I get a chance to come back home and breathe, restock merch or replace the cable that went bad or whatever. My headquarters is in the middle of the country now and that’s way more convenient for touring.”
@maiasharp4543 (@maiasharpvevo3191) spoke with “Paltrocast” host Darren @paltrowitz about her new album, touring plans, writing for other artists, Nashville and more. Recorded via Zoom on July 12, 2023. Theme song by Steve Schiltz.
To discover more about Maia Sharp and “Reckless Thoughts,” please visit https://www.maiasharp.com/