We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve had many jobs in my life, but none of them were something I ever wanted to make a career. I worked as a mechanic for 6 years and before that I was in marketing for about 5 years. There were several little jobs in-between. I wasn’t really creating anything besides meeting quotas or fixing engines. I always had an interest in film and eventually put myself back through college for film and production. My main goal with film became aerial cinematography, of which I had a passion for. Through mastering that skill I was brought back to what I started creating as a child, which was music. Eventually I was able to combine those two passions and compose my own music for the films featuring my aerial cinematography. I would say pursuing my passion for film and music was just the right fit for me, because I’m not really happy unless I’m creating something amazing. When sharing what I create with the world, and seeing how it lifts up a persons day, it makes it worth every ounce of effort I put into it. Today, I still do my own films, but my main focus is on my music which is a mix of electronic, chillout and trance.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am so passionate about music production and aerial cinematography that it’s hard to put one in front of the other, but I would say I am a music producer first, and aerial cinematographer second. Ever since I was a kid I have always played music. Mostly on the keyboard, but I also have played the trumpet, native flute, and some guitar. I guess that makes me a multi-instrumentalist, but I don’t call myself one. I have always played by ear and I’ve never had a lesson in my life. I also can’t read music for the life of me. I play what feels right and it always seems to work out. I guess that’s what sets me apart from a lot of other music producers out there.

When I was around 11 years old I would play songs over and over on a cassette tape, listening to a few seconds at a time to learn the notes so I could eventually play along with the song. I would come up with my own compositions too, but at the time I was only limited to 6 tracks on my keyboard. I had no way to save my work, so compositions would be created and then lost as soon as I unplugged the keyboard. I was a bit crushed as a kid regarding doing music production professionally, because I was told by many people I had to learn how to read music no matter what. Also, I wouldn’t get anywhere if I wasn’t signed to a label, I would need loads of equipment and so on. My Mom raised my brother and I as a single parent with no child support, so money was tight. My Mom did the best she could, but being able to put the money into music production was not something that she could do. Despite financial constraints, she still encouraged me to keep working on getting better and better with music. It was also the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, so the tools and programs available on computers today didn’t exist. Music took the back burner and I eventually moved into film.

At first I vlogged for YouTube, until I eventually was able to fly a drone. Once I took to the sky, I began developing my skills in aerial cinematography and created my production name, Totality Films. I love landscapes and that’s what I would film. Living in Arizona, we have some amazing landscape and I went everywhere I could to film it. One of the things I ended up developing was my method of flying to music. Not editing in post to a song, rather actually flying in real time to it. I found that not only does it help my films come out way better, but it also helps put the feeling into the film. What I feel at a specific moment during my flight in combination with the music and the landscape… it’s all captured through the lens. Finding the right music that was royalty free was a big pain though because sometimes you want a specific feel and mood to the music depending on the landscape being filmed. I wanted to put my music to my work, and that’s when I discovered a DAW (digital audio workstation). With the DAW I was able to finally expand with my music and take my films to the next level. I found that I enjoyed the music production so much, having basically unlimited avenues for creativity, that I dove in head first and haven’t looked back since. For me, I feel music is the ultimate expression that I can create. It can take only a few notes of a song to set the mood, and what a person produces is a reflection of who they are. Music has a huge impact on people. They listen when they are sad, happy, working, studying… and the music listened to can determine a persons mood. If they are sad, listening to something uplifting and positive would raise their spirits. There’s a lot of good that can come from music, and knowing that something I create can have the power to help someone when they need it, that means more to me that anything else.

A big accomplishment recently is a film of mine titled “Cowboy”. It has become a multiple award winning film that features my music by the same name, taken from my album, Wander. The music video is about a lonely cowboy going through love and loss. So far, it has been nominated 11 times and won 6 awards, one of which was for outstanding music. I have also had the pleasure to collaborate with the well known electronic/new age artist, 7and5. Earlier this year we produced the single, Endless. That was an awesome experience. We live on nearly opposite sides of the country, but even when working remotely, the song still came out amazing! I have learned several things the hard way in both film and music. Some people pretend they care and are your friend because all they want is what you can provide for them. In my case, I didn’t realize it until I was left with a broken heart. In film and music, you have to be able to see things as they really are, not what you want them to be. It’s okay though because it’s all part of the journey. Every person and situation is a very important part of personal and professional growth. I am a bit of an eclectic music producer because aside from electronic and chillout, I have some great trance songs along with some synthwave and even metal. My focus point is electronic chillout though. All my music is released under my name, but I do have a side project called “Glamis” which is strictly electronic chillout. The music both under my name and Glamis can be found across all streaming services.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh there are so many places I could take them! Near me is the town of Prescott which is very historical and is home to beautiful Victorian homes dating back to the late 1800’s. There’s also the famous “Whiskey Row” on one side of the courthouse plaza. I actually named one of my songs “Whiskey Row” which is on my Arizona album. Nearby is the town of Sedona which is a gorgeous place that is a hotspot for tourists. Down in Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona there’s a great little sandwich shop with a back patio full of flowers where you can enjoy your meal. That’s a nice little hidden gem not too many people know about. I’d also take them up to the Vermillion Cliffs and Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado river. There’s little places that tourists don’t know about all over Yavapai county that have stunning scenery. Especially on Mingus mountain and in the Bradshaw mountains.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There’s no way I can pick only one person because certain people in my life have impacted me in different ways. Firstly, I would say my Mom. She has been there through it all and has been my rock through thick and thin. My friend Chris Tinard who was the first person to give me recognition for my film work and continues even today to be a strong mentor. He has always had my back with whatever I may need for film, and even lent his vocals for a song on my Taking Flight album. My friend KC Lyon, who was there for me when I was at a very low emotional and stressful point in my life. He has been like a big brother who picked me back up, dusted me off and helped me move forward. KC is a vocalist who has collaborated with me musically, so we also have that in addition to being great friends. Also, my dear friend Lisa Stephenson. Just like how my Mom has been with me through it all, Lisa has been there as well rooting me on and is always eager to celebrate every milestone no matter how small it is.

Website: https://www.mariadavismusic.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariadavismusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MariaDavisMusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MariaDavisMusic

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbIZ72zuLrlhO63KzjHpoww

Other: https://linktr.ee/mariadavismusic https://linktr.ee/TotalityFilms

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