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Maiah Wynne knows first-hand how music heals. She’ll share that experience with Sun Valley

SVMoA kicks off its 2023/2024 Singer-Songwriter Salon Concerts with the genre-bending Maiah Wynne—an award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
Maiah Wynne, Sun Valley Museum of Art, The Argyros
SVMoA kicks off its 2023/2024 Singer-Songwriter Salon Concerts with the genre-bending Maiah Wynne—an award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

Much of her growing fanbase know Maiah Wynne as lead singer of Envy of None, or her performances during NPR’s All Songs Considered or her Tiny Desk Concert. But a select group of people in the Wood River Valley will also connect with Wynne through her Art and Healing workshop.

“I think anybody who goes into the arts finds that it is both self-healing and a tool to help others heal,” said Wynne. “And it is so deeply emotional, so deeply personal… and it's such a beautiful way to connect with other people, with yourself, with your emotions.”

Following her Monday, Dec. 4 workshop, Wynne will launch a new season of the Sun Valley Museum of Art’ Singer-Songwriter Salon Concerts with a Dec. 7 performance at The Argyros. Prior to what promises to be an emotional week, Wynne visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice.

Read the full transcript below:

GEORGE PRENTICE: It's Morning Edition. Good morning, I'm George Prentice. Well, here comes Maiah Wynne. Singer songwriter, lead singer of the supergroup project Envy of None. We know her on NPR from All Songs Considered and the Tiny Desk Concert, and our friends at the Sun Valley Museum of Art kick off their singer/songwriter season with Maiah Wynne performing at the Argyros Theater in Ketchum, plus a series of workshops on the healing power of the arts for adults and teens in the wood River Valley. So here comes Maiah Wynne. Good morning.

MAIAH WYNNE: Good morning. Thank you so much for having me.

PRENTICE: It makes sense that that music is therapy and probably vice versa. But life is also terrifying on a good day, and we like to think that we talk a good game of how the arts can be, you know, a key that approaches that padlock. But can you help me out with this and connect those dots?

WYNNE: I think for me as an artist. Music was always a source of therapy. And I think that's the case for most people. I think anybody who goes into the arts finds that it is both self-healing and a tool to help others heal, and it is so deeply emotional, so deeply personal, and it's such a beautiful way to connect with the community, with other people, with yourself, with your emotions. And it is so innately human creating music, and it is so cathartic. It is a beautiful thing, and there's so much science now behind that. We've done all these studies to understand why music and art can help people heal from trauma, can help calm the nervous system, why it's so good for our brains and our bodies, which I have found fascinating along the process of just enjoying it and enjoying the process. I've become fascinated with how music can help people heal because it's helped me so much along my journey. And so I've just really enjoyed that process of learning and growing and using music as a tool to help connect with people and to help people find ways to help themselves. And it's just become a part of my, my musical journey.

PRENTICE: So, can you help me with that workshop? Because I'm assuming it becomes very personal and very vulnerable. Talk to me about how safe that space can be.

WYNNE: Yeah, I try to create a very safe space. The process of creating the song write a song together. Depending on how many people we have, we might split up into smaller groups, write multiple songs or pieces…

PRENTICE: Let me pause you there. You write a song?

WYNNE: I feel like it's the easiest way. Instead of just talking about why writing music can be good for you, I just figure it's easier if we just do it. We do it together. We figure out our process as a group. It's always different. And then I can talk about why it's helpful, the different parts of songwriting that can be so healing, different parts of performing and listening to music or talk about different tools. Using the arts to help improve your mental health. There's different breathing exercises using drawing and why these things are so helpful for mental health. And then we'll write a song. And through that process, I think it's easy to demonstrate firsthand why it's so helpful and cathartic. And I've found that once people get that past that initial hurdle of being maybe a little bit nervous, I think we live in a society where it's, it's hard to do something new, especially later on, later on in life. As an adult, you've already worked so hard at the things you do well. Doing something new can be very intimidating, and it's hard to. It's hard to start a new process like song writing or learning an instrument. And so, I kind of try to demystify that, make that more accessible, show people how easy it can be and how accessible music is …to everybody…as a tool to improve mental health.

PRENTICE: I can't imagine a better time for this. I can tell you that Idaho... southern Idaho in particular, and certainly the Wood River Valley... Is in need of care. And I'm going to guess that you may know that. Have they shared that with you?

WYNNE: Yeah, I've heard a little bit about that. I don't know that I know everything that's been going on, but I've heard that there's been there's been a lot of struggles and challenges lately.

PRENTICE: And music has to be that….little crack in the window. Sometimes it's just an open door. My guess is that not just in the workshop... but your concerts must be incredibly emotional.

Maiah Wynne
Maiah Wynne
Maiah Wynne

WYNNE: Yeah, yeah, I try to be as genuine and vulnerable as I can in the music that I create, because I feel like it for those who, who maybe don't want to create music but but find their catharsis through listening, I try to create that connection so that it can hopefully help people who are going through similar struggles. Um, I've struggled with my mental health to be fully transparent. I, um, I went to a mental health facility just about a month ago because I was struggling so much, and times have been so hard, and I was falling into a very deep depression. And so many of my friends have been recently, too. I think times right now in this world, and maybe this is just the process of me getting older and perceiving the world more abundantly and thinking, wow, there's a lot of a lot of pain in this world. Or maybe things are just really hard right now. Maybe. It seems like lately things have been hard for so many people and and as resilient as I try to be, as much as I've learned, I still recognize when I need extra help. And, um, and so I just, I feel like it's. It's really nice to be able to take what I've learned and to try to be able to reach out to these communities when they're struggling in similar ways. And, and with the music that I write, I try to do that as well with all the songs.

PRENTICE: So, I have to assume that our take away then is feeling a little less alone.

WYNNE: Absolutely. Community is such an important part of healing and resilienceand building emotional resilience too. So it's nice to be able to do that at these concerts and, and connect with people. And, and a lot of times after my shows, I'll talk with people and they'll share their own stories with me, which is really, really incredible. And such a special part of these, of these outreaches and these shows and getting to know the community.

PRENTICE: Okay, so let me get this right. Monday, December 4th, you are in a workshop, Art in healing. And then Thursday, December 7th, you are in concert at the Argiros. And she is the quite wonderful Maiah Wynne, Maiah..happy holidays to you. Thank you so very, very much for giving us some time this morning.

WYNNE: Thank you so much for having me, George.
 
Find reporter George Prentice on X @georgepren

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