I met Maria Cree Myles in seventh grade on the cheerleading team. She’d sing and dance down the hallway, be beautifully honest and outspoken with those around her, and maintain a high standard of how do I say … fabulousness. I knew we had to be friends. So much so that we ended up starting a talk show together, filming it, and ultimately deciding that we’d be so good as hosts that we’d run Oprah out of business … Almost a decade later, when this wise 25 year-old speaks, she still captivates and influences those around her — no matter what the topic. I choose to interview her because, where most of us only read about following our dreams from the text on cheesy Instagram photos, she actually does it. She is also raising a son, working her butt off, and entertaining her pet turtle. I welcome to the stage, Cree Myles.
Let’s get all the boring stuff out of the way. Where you live and what do you do to pay the bills?
My name is Maria Cree Myles. Stage name Cree Myles. I live in Milwaukee, WI, and to pay bills I fundraise and strip … but mostly just fundraise. Okay, I only fundraise.
Okay, now the fun stuff. Favorite foods?
I literally put avocado on everything. And I love fish. And rice. So if I could eat that all the time, I’d probably be happy.
When did you start singing and decide this is what you wanted to focus on in life?
I started singing when I was about 11. In middle school, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I circled back to that idea in 2014 after meeting my alchemist Rhonda Ware.
I know you’ve been playing with a band. Tell me about that.
The band I’m in is named Three. Stacks. Eliot. It’s been quite the process, they are all guys, and they are really good at what they do. I was introduced through a mutual friend. They needed a singer and I needed a band. We mostly play around Milwaukee for now. I’d like to think the whole thing is kind of in its infancy.
“They needed a singer and I needed a band.”
How do you balance work, life, singing, and raising your five year-old son Ethan?
I don’t even know. I make a lot of to-do lists and try to prioritize my time. I know eating well and exercising gives me more energy, but those are two things I don’t really enjoy doing. But I did do yoga this morning! Ethan is number one. I try to keep everything up in the air, but if I see any sign that he’s not doing so hot, the other stuff drops. That recently happened actually.
Where can I find you on a Saturday night?
I mean it depends. Two Saturdays ago I was dancing on a speaker rapping to G-Unit — once again shout out to the DJ for playing that jam. Last Saturday, I was entertaining a gentleman. And this Saturday Ethan and I had a concert in the living room. He sang a lot of Queen songs. Another One Bites the Dust is his self-proclaimed anthem.
What do you do when you are not singing?
I’d like to think that all of my spare time goes to singing. I just moved, so between making sure Ethan and I survive, Ethan and my job, I’m singing. I have finagled a way to work my five-day-a-week job in four days, so that always gives me solid time in the studio. I put a home studio up in my bedroom, though my bed is in the living room so … ya know, and that’s where I anticipate finishing my EP.
Are you at ease on stage? What does it feel like being up there? How do you stay calm?
I’m not as at ease as I’d like to be. When I first started singing, it was so fun and easy. I’m constantly reflecting on what I need to get back to that space. I’m pretty sure it’s control.
What wakes you wake up in the morning?
Ethan 85% of the time. And lately my turtle … They have a lot more personality than one would think.
Where do you find your intuition/drive/focus/momentum?
I literally just read a post on facebook that said:
“Every now and again, you will feel a dull ache in your soul. A gentle humming around your heart. A longing for something without a name.
If I ever told you to obey anything, this would be it.
Listen to the call of your authentic self. That part of you that lives just outside of your own skin. Let it have its way with you.
I have died a hundred times trying to ignore it”
When I’m in tune with that space I’m good. I don’t need validation, I don’t need inspiration. I’m all I need, and I’m productive and creative and beautiful. It’s hard to stay there though. It’s work.
“When I’m in tune with that space I’m good. I don’t need validation, I don’t need inspiration. I’m all I need, and I’m productive and creative and beautiful.”
What’s your most memorable moment singing from singing?
When I was 11, I was in a performing troupe called Accompany of Kids. I got my first legit solo, and it was the chorus of “Feelings” by Morris Albert. I was petrified because I had heard a lot of the other kids sing and frankly, they weren’t tight, and I didn’t know if I could sing or not. We had our tech rehearsal where I was going to have to sing it in front of the entire company. I literally threw up before I had to go out and had this throbbing horrible headache. I really just didn’t want to suck. Well, singing the song was a blurr, but after it happened, like half the company ran over to me and was like, ‘We didn’t know you could blow!’ Lots of great validation. I guess you need validation to get started. I did at least.
If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be and why?
Yikes … I mean, my instinct is Bruno Mars. But I actually have every intention of being signed to him … Yes, I am aware he doesn’t have a label. He will.
What’s your process when you write and practice music?
As I’ve gotten more serious, it has gotten more disciplined. I usually light some candles if it’s something given to me that I have to add too, and if it’s just an organic idea, the best ones usually hit me at about three in the morning.
What is your ultimate dream?
Financially support myself singing. Be able to put Ethan through college singing. See the world. Influence the world. Help the hungry brown people. Well all the hungry people, but most of them are brown, so.
What are you doing to get there?
I bought a studio. I’m learning how to use it. I make myself get on in every day. I sing every day of course, play the guitar often and all of that. It is all so action-driven that I can’t even talk about it.
Why do you sing?
That is what the universe, God, tells me to do.
Be sure to keep up with Maria and her wonderful voice here:
What female movers and shakers do you know? Perhaps you are one yourself? We want to hear the stories of all the inspirational women out there. Hit us up by sending us an email at VIRTVEmag@gmail.com.