Mayaeni (pronounced “mah-yay-knee”) is a rock and soul artist whose sound is electric and instrumentally rich. Inspired by acts like John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr., she’s a no holds barred chick known to rock out on-stage with a guitar and almost spiritual vibe.

Raised in the suburbs outside of Detroit, Mayaeni spent a lot of time with her father in his music studio. There she remembers being exposed to the records of great musicians like Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Hendrix. Even today these records serve as both musical surrogates and soundtracks to her life.

As seen with her current Basement Kid mixtape series, her music is as equally edgy and raw as it is emotional, and she herself compares it to the sounds of a guitar crying out. Involved in music since an early age, Mayaeni was persistent with her vision and career goals. She’s traveled to different cities and overseas for this dream, and after settling in New York City she accomplished a deal with Roc Nation. Find out more on this rising star with her interview below.

What inspired you to begin your profession and when did you officially start?

My father is a musician, so music was always around the house. For as long as I can remember it felt natural for me to express myself through music and my parents were always supportive of that. I started writing songs and recording at age 12 and never stopped.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?

The biggest highlight was hearing a song I wrote (“Broken Glass”) by myself in my bedroom with my guitar on a national television show and then the radio. To know that I have a voice and the ability to reach people gives me a sense of purpose.

How has your life changed since you began your journey and what are you expecting next?

Getting signed to Roc Nation changed my life in a big way. It allowed me to travel and work with people I had dreamed of working with. I expect to travel that world and bring people together through music.

What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful and why?

Gratitude and being present. When you are going after goals in life, it’s easy to get lost in it and only focus on the end result. You sometimes can feel like a failure if certain goals aren’t met. Success to me is being grateful for what I have and enjoying the present moment I am in.

For the young generation inspired by your achievements, what advice could you offer to those pursuing a career in the entertainment industry?

To remember it’s about the art first. We all recognize and connect with honesty. Stay true to yourself and you’re all good.