There’s a good chance you’re familiar with Maya Hawke, but might just not be aware of it. The 22-year-old New York City native is not only known for her debut record, Blush, but also for appearing as a cast member of the Netflix smash hit Stranger Things. Also, her parents are Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. But you wouldn’t know that from her record’s organic sound.
Hawke’s debut is a collaboration with Jesse Harris, known for his longtime collaboration with Norah Jones. It’s easy to see why. That specific touch is great for these dozen songs that seem to flutter by, one into another. Take “Generous Heart” for an example. It begins with a barely audible acoustic guitar and brushed drums, with Hawke’s smoky falsetto - somewhat like Leslie Feist gently in the mix. On “So Long,” Hawke sings over dusty chords and a light twang. All of these instruments sound like they’re there to serve Hawke’s elemental voice, not overpower it.
On “Animal Enough”, things start to heat up a bit. Built over lightly crunchy guitars and bubbling leads, it takes the bedroom folk to something, well, rockier. “Coverage” is a stormy ballad that will find a home on any chill out playlist. These small bits of experimentation continue down the line - “River Like You” is straight-up lounge jazz, while the loose-sounding “Cricket” is replete with children’s background vocals.
Not so long ago, anyone that attempted to be a musician after becoming an actor would encounter some sort of derision or ridicule. Maya Hawke also has the added mark of having two famous parents. But on Blush, none of that matters. It’s a quite pleasant and often pretty collection of songs that doesn’t really try to make a statement. It’s a showcase of exceptional talent in the moment, a document of an era and an artist not even close to peaking. Put it on, let it move through you, and hope more songs come from Hawke that builds on its success.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media