Making the move from the SouthSide of Chicago to the middle of where dreams are made in Hollywood, the past two decades have seen the rise of Maestro Harrell.
Artist, actor, and producer MAESTRO is creating his own reality on a daily basis, starting with the music he shares with his adoring fans following his journey from his very beginning on some of our favorite shows including HBO’s The Wire, AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead, Showtime’s House of Lies, USA’s Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & The Notorious B.I.G., ABC’s Suburgatory amongst many others. He’s also been featured in commercials, HBO’s Euphoria season finale soundtrack, as well as releasing his one projects such as the Wav God I series.
Wav God III is his latest 8-track EP keeping him in his element as the suave musician you should consistently keep on your radar. Following the no-features trend on both the Wav God I and Wav God II release, Maestro doesn’t include any features in his latest drop mixing in Trap instrumentals, piano-infused beats, and catchy, punchy storylines perfect for kicking back and enjoying the night.
Thanks for joining us! Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is M A E S T R O, I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, IL, and have been in the entertainment industry for just over 25 years.
How did your upbringing influence your current career path?
Well, my parents named me Maestro. That’s my birth name. First, came piano lessons at the age of 3 then vocal lessons soon followed. Essentially, I was bred for this lol I did my first commercial at the age of 5 for McDonald’s and from there on this has been the mission.
You have accomplished some amazing things in the entertainment world from acting in popularly known shows to having your songs in commercials. What do you think has been the biggest factor in your success?
Honestly, perseverance. This is one of the few industries where when you’re unemployed you literally are doing NOTHING! So it’s important to keep yourself focused and creating your own opportunities. You’re an entrepreneur of sorts so your success to an extent really comes down to how hard and how much you’re willing to work and sacrifice. It also pays to be a student of your craft.
What’s the biggest dream you’d like to accomplish?
Starring as one of the leads in a movie that I also helped score, preferably alongside the likes of Hand Zimmer or Danny Elfman.
What is your creative process when creating new music?
I usually just start making what’s missing in my playlist. And the music I want to hear, I know it’s going in the direction of a project but I never know how many songs, etc I just know when I feel like it’s finished. I do everything from the beats to the vocal production recording etc, so I’m very hands-on and know generally what I’m trying to achieve.
What does this album WAV GOD III mean to you?
Well, it’s the III vol of my WAV GOD series which I’ve been releasing since 2018 so it feels good to drop a new project every year, also each of these projects has had a song featured in either a movie tv show or some sort of other media platform so that’s always exciting.
Which song was your favorite to put together and why?
I can’t pick just one, it’s hard because they all have their place you know? I’m also wayyyy too close to my songs. It’s like asking whos your favorite kid lol
Who are your TOP 5 favorite artists at the moment?
Miike Snow, Khruangbin, Drake, Leisure, Steve Lacy
What do you hope your listeners take away from listening to your music?
I just hope they walk away wanting to come back. I enjoy making it so hopefully, they enjoy listening.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far and how?
My parents. Without them I’m nothing… literally and metaphorically lol they’re the shit and have given me every advantage to be where I am. Love them unconditionally.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know I produce all my music completely. Also, most don’t realize music came first for me. They think I’m an actor who started trying music. Most don’t know also I was signed to Def Jam by Jermaine Dupri when I was like 14 lol
You’ve been on a few hit shows so far throughout your career. What influenced you to start acting?
It just came with the entertainment territory. I’ve always had a big personality so my parents found a great outlet. Remember this is pre-social media and everyone has a laptop… if you did something you had to REALLY do it. Otherwise, you didn’t.
What’s been your favorite character to play and why?
JR on House Of Lies. As a young black actor, you don’t get to wear suits outside of court all that often on tv. So that was dope to see myself have that range. Also working with Don Cheadle was on my bucket list.
For our final question, where do you see your career headed in the following year?
Up, lol what that means is subjective depending on who you ask, but I’ve learned this isn’t the industry to try and predict, to quote Samuel Goldwyn “The harder I work, The Luckier I Get.”