Interview | Maru Jota

Our MA Songwriting student tells us about her creative journey and the making of her new album.


MA Songwriting student Maru Jota is an Argentinian songwriter and artist who has lived a life immersed in song.

Hailing from a musical family, Maru came to the UK to study at ICMP and enhance her songwriting career. Currently in the midst of her course, she has now released her latest album,'Nuevos Aires' , a collection of songs inspired by her travels around the world as well as her own journey of self-discovery.

With the record now out, Maru told us how it came together and how her ICMP studies are helping elevate her musical career...

How did you start out in music? 

My musical journey began with the enchanting melodies of María Elena Walsh's children's music.

Growing up there was always music in the house, my mom sang in choirs and they would rehearse at home, so I loved hearing all the harmonies.

As I grew up, I found inspiration in iconic artists like The Beatles, Queen, Mercedes Sosa, Kevin Johansen, Amy Winehouse, and Nora Jones. Singing has been a part of my life since I was five years old, and at the age of eight I studied piano, then guitar at age 12, and sang in choirs from that age too. I've had singing lessons for over 20 years now.   

What led you to ICMP? 

I'd always wanted to do a Masters in Songwriting so I researched it for a while, then in summer 2023, I decided I had to take the plunge and do it.

I really liked the idea of the UK and ICMP really stood out to me, with its course and modules, it really felt like it was what I wanted to pursue." 

What did you want to achieve from the course?

When I applied, I was writing my second album that has just come out and knew I wanted to start working on my third album. I thought I could do the MA, write lots of songs and get a thorough understanding of technique alongside make this new record. That was my mindset. 

I've always worked in education, teaching people singing and guitar too. If I have a Masters, I will hopefully have a better chance of landing roles in this area too.


How did you find London when you first arrived? 

I come from Buenos Aires, it's a very European city. Before coming to London I was living in the Canary Islands during the pandemic. When I first moved to London, what I loved was how polite everyone was and how culturally eclectic is it. You get on the tube and see the world. I love that you get so see musicians from all over the world and that there is live music and theatre every night. 

Have you any favourite London venues to play at? 

I've played the Waiting Room, that was really nice, I've loved Sofar Sounds, that's been a dream come true for me. The Jago in Dalston is super cool too, as is the Old Blue Last. 

What is the new album all about? 

I've been writing songs for this album since 2019 and from that year I knew I wanted to make a second album. This record is a story of my life since I started travelling, in an inner quest for self-discovery. I initially sought it more in places, and in each place, I created songs that spoke of that search: Colombia, Calafate (Argentina), Canary Island and London. 

The album is called 'New Air' or 'Nuevos Aires' because I'm seeking new experiences. At one point, I realised that I can move wherever, but ultimately, the journey is inwards. 

'Nuevos Aires' also delves into profound themes like living with depression and the struggle to understand and accept emotions. Through the lyrics, I share my own internal battles, inviting listeners to connect with their own truth and authenticity. 

How are you promoting the record? 

Well with my first album, I didn't really promote it properly so with this I've decided to be more business-like and I'm looking to do more radio and media. I have a headline show at the Servant Jazz Quarters in September too.

I have a social media plan to go with this record, posting about the making of each song, who co-wrote with me and what the songs are all about. I'm going to stay busy and keep the momentum up."

How was the SongTeller Song Camp you were part of?

For me, it was brilliant as it was such a professional environment, I was working with people who are on time, eager to be there, have the energy that shows they are present. We had two and a half/three hours and managed to do a song in that time with great production. It felt like we hit a great creative flow.

We wrote from the perspective of being an ally for the LGBT+ community and I loved every second of it, this is exactly what I want to do with my life. The facilities at Queen's Park are so inspiring, it's a beautiful environment to write music in. 


What have been the key things you've learned while studying? 

Being professional, approaching it like a job and seeing what it is I want to say today are all key for me.

Writing shouldn't be a burden so trying to make it light and enjoyable is what I'm now trying to do - even when writing about dark subjects. I've also learned to leave the audience out of the process. Growing up I struggled to write the songs as I had so many inner voices that would say so many mean things to me. As soon as I left the audience outside the writing room, I felt more comfortable in my creativity. Also, having to write two songs a week as part of my studies has been a great thing for me too. 

What do your future plans involve? 

Following the album release, I'll be performing at Sofar Sounds on 10th June and headlining a show on 18th September at the Servant Jazz Quarters

I'll also be releasing a music video for one of the album's songs, 'Para Vos' ('For You'), co-written with Silvina Moreno, an Argentine singer-songwriter. The music video is directed by the visionary director Carina Wachsmann, winner of awards at Rome Independent Prisma Awards 2021, Paris International Film Award and Munich Music Video Awards 2021.

The video conveys a joy of living, a celebration of love, with an approach to life that is colourful, fun, and optimistic with a touch of magical realism. It is an independent production, filmed in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Spain), with a team of over 20 women.

Visit for more information. Listen to the new record below:

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by Jim Ottewill
May 14, 2024
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