Music Notes

Tales from an American Singer

Fiction - Anthology
138 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

J.J. Maze is a singer, composer, and educator in Chicago. She was a runaway and high school dropout at age fifteen. After surviving some harrowing experiences on the streets, she toured internationally as singer/songwriter for over a decade then got her GED and went back to college as a performance major receiving her MM in classical vocal performance in 2008 from Northwestern University. J.J. Maze is a teaching artist for Ravinia Festival's Reach-Teach-Play program, which reaches out to youth in underserved communities all throughout Chicagoland. Her award winning memoir "Walk Until Sunrise" is a vivd recollection of her runaway experience.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Music Notes is a collection of seven short stories about singers from varied backgrounds trying to get by in a world where the pursuit of art and success sometimes produce mixed results. Written by J.J. Maze with some eye-catching line drawings by Indonesian illustrator Ryan Prakoso, the book deals with the struggles and hopes of vocalists who share and express the pain of their souls through their voices. "Two For Nothing" follows a talented young singer's tryst with the new drummer in her band. In "The Blood in My Veins," a teenage singer plagued by insecurities finds an unlikely kindred soul after a string of casual flings. "Do You, Can You, Will You" follows an experienced musician who struggles to navigate the rigors of everyday life due to staying true to her morals and refusing to compromise on her musical vision.

Music Notes gives readers an unfiltered look into the lives of musicians (vocalists) as they chase love, success, and musical excellence while discovering that the three elements rarely go hand in hand. Author J.J. Maze perfectly showcases the inner conflicts and struggles that singers experience, which musicians will definitely find relatable. Even with the fantastical elements, the stories are genuine and authentic, and you feel as if you're reading about real people in the music industry. Illustrator Ryan Prakoso's line drawings add to the charm of the narrative. There is a sense of poignancy to these tales that make for an emotionally cathartic reading experience. Overall, I very much enjoyed Music Notes, and if you love human-interest short stories, you will too.