Maylin Lei went to school for painting but also became interested in songwriting. He picked up a guitar and ukulele and started playing open mics. Recently he released When Pigs Fly which is a six-song DIY effort.
I remember being in college myself about twenty years. At the time I was a music major studying composition and would also frequent the open mics. Most of the artists at this one particular location were similar to Lei in that they would strum a couple chords and sing solemnly.
Lei stills seems to be in the early stages of his development. The songs are based off minor and major chords and he seems to have one zone where he seems to be most comfortable. On that note I think that zone was him building a foundation I was able to greatly appreciate.
He starts off with “Between Two Artists.” Lei’s vocals tend to be somber and monotone. He seems to be leaning into the whole tortured artist vibe between the lyrics and his inflection. He sings “I’m not doing that much / It’s boring to tell you the truth / I got nowhere to go / All that’s new is I’m just / Playing this little tune while staring out the window.”
Up next is “Se l'amore” which is the highlight in the batch. This song is a little more dynamic and I felt like there were more distinct transitions. It became evident Lei is a skilled lyricist with “The Happiest Day” and “Yesterday's Trip” which also contained some great melodies. The last two songs are very somber and slow. “Walk On” is almost seven minutes long.
Lei certainly has some talent but there are a number of areas which I hope to hear him evolve as the months and years roll by. I would argue a song like “Walk On” didn’t need to be almost seven minutes. The dynamics, melody and mood doesn't change that much. In music it’s usually called trimming the fat. I think almost all seven minute songs need dynamics, transitions and energy to keep a listener’s attention. For example, “Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t even six minutes long and think about all the places that song goes. Lei has a good voice as well but putting more dynamics and energy into his performance on occasion is going to be one of the things I think would be benefit the variety.
Lei is off to a solid start here. It’s obvious he has skills and as a lyricist seems to have a good grasp on songwriting, guitar and singing for as little time as he's been playing. The teacher side of me hopes that Lei will continue to learn about the aforementioned topics. I’ve seen it plenty of times before in this very website. I look forward to hearing more and wish him luck as he goes down this musical path.
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