By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Portland, Ore.-based singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne is a musical chameleon.
Locals will have a chance to see her changing colors in person Friday, Sept. 16 at the Panida Theater, as Wynne and her full band perform the inaugural show of the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s 2022-’23 Performing Arts Series at 7:30 p.m.
“There’s going to be a lot of dynamic range between folk music, pop, indie, a little bit of rock,” Wynne told the Reader. “I like to think that there’s definitely something there for everybody. I write a lot of music in a lot of different genres, but it’s all me, and comes from my singer-songwriter heart.”
The 25-year-old has been pursuing a music career since leaving home at 16, and has collaborated on several music projects — including some for feature film — as well as recently become a member of the band Envy of None: a cinematic rock band also featuring Alex Lifeson of Rush, Coney Hatch’s Andy Curran and Alfio Annibalini.
“It was the future I wanted,” Wynne said. “I was very passionate about it, very headstrong about it, and I just haven’t really stopped and haven’t looked back.”
The self-taught multi-instrumentalist said she draws from influences across the genre spectrum to create her unique sound, which is highlighted by her breathy, emotive vocals. The artist said she believes dabbling in several genres is “the future of music.”
“Genres are becoming less definable,” she said, “and people are taking inspiration from so many different places and paving new pathways for music.”
Wynne’s Panida performance will be an exploration of this musical future, in which one artist can jump the bounds of genre in a single set.
“You’ll get this upbeat rock song and the next one will be a ballad that will make you cry,” she said. “I like to give you the full range of emotions, hopefully.”
Wynne will soon be dropping a presale link for her first full-length original album, Out of the Dark, and many of those original songs will be played for Sandpoint on Friday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
Also as part of her visit to North Idaho, Wynne will be giving presentations to local students — as part of POAC’s educational outreach program Ovations — about practical mental health tools. Wynne has been trained by Seattle-based nonprofit First Aid Arts in order to teach this “Music and Mental Health” workshop, which will “explain how and why music and the arts are important tools to help us heal from trauma and self regulate.”
“All across the country and all across the world, we need to be talking about mental health,” Wynne told the Reader. “It’s a joy for me to be able to talk about all the different methods to improve your mental health on a small scale, and how music can be one of those things.”
Wynne said that working with First Aid Arts has given her the feeling that she’s “doing something good in the world.”
“I think the music industry is really challenging,” she said, “and getting to take a break from the tunnel vision of that and step outside of it and remind myself why I want to make music and what I want to do in the world and getting to connect with people — it’s just really incredible.”
Tickets to see Miah Wynne at the Panida Theater on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. are $25. Purchase tickets online at artinsandpoint.org/performing-arts or at the door. Doors open an hour before the show. Those with questions can reach POAC at 208-263-6139.
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