Rising Singer/Songwriter Kirby Maurier Talks GRAMMY Amplifier and Her New Love of the Beatles

Photo credit: Erik Voake

When the Recording Academy and Hyundai launched the 2016 edition of the GRAMMY Amplifier program, they had one goal: Giving independent artists a louder voice. This year’s edition saw thousands of submissions carved down to 25 then 10 finalists, with curators Big Sean, Sam Hunt, and Lzzy Hale selecting the final three deserving winners. Kirby Maurier, an Arkansas-born and Miami-bred MC and vocalist, nabbed one of the coveted spots in this year’s winner’s circle. Here’s her story.

There are two types of musicians in the world: some try to catch the wave while it’s happening, grafting their personal style onto the dominant sound of their era and doing their best to stand out from a crowded lineup. Others just have the wave crash around them, making music they love without giving much thought to where they fit in the musical tide. Kirby Maurier is firmly in the second camp. The young artist fits somewhere along a long continuum stretching from pop divas like her idol Mariah Carey, R&B mavens like Tinashe, and MCs like Azealia Banks and Dej Loaf. But Maurier’s tastes and influences bend past that arc of pop and hip-hop. In fact, she told VIBE that she’s been finding inspiration in a new source lately: the Beatles. “I heard a couple of songs — ‘Yesterday’ and all that stuff — but I didn’t get what the big deal was. But when I went to the Love show in Las Vegas and it put visuals to the songs I was sold. I downloaded all of it.”

If it isn’t obvious by now, Maurier isn’t satisfied sitting in one place in the music scene. “I’m not trying to fit in, my music is whatever comes out of me at the time,” she told VIBE. Her 2015 album, Doing the Most, put her heterodoxy on display with flashes of soul, R&B, trap, and good old fashioned pop hooks providing the bedrock for an uncommonly tight independent release. That independent spirit won her a coveted spot in the GRAMMY Amplifier program where she’s earned live performance opportunities, including an intimate songwriters show in San Francisco and high-profile industry showcase in Los Angeles. After that? “I’d love to say ‘Oh, I sold out Madison Square Garden’ one day.” If her dedication is any indication, she may be well on her way.

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Photo credit: Erik Voake

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