George da Soulchild, co-presenter of our Sunday night radio show reports:

She may be one of the most sought-after upcoming female singer and rapper on the local music scene, but Cynthia Chalwe is very down to earth – the 24-year-old popularly known as ‘Maya’ shot to fame early last year, after releasing a single entitled, ‘Life Yama Diva’, under the XYZ recording label.

A law student at the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), she relates that although some sections of society have shown misgivings about her alliance with a male-dominated, youthful recording label, she rates herself among the most principled youngsters. “It has not been easy, I have been faced with too many challenges as a female musician. Everywhere I go for shows, people think that I am bitching around, but I really believe in myself, I am hard working….a goal-getter, someone who has self-control and is principled,” she says.

Maya explains that through her good conduct, she has continued to be a role model to many young people. “I am here to inspire a lot of young people. Equally, my dad Sam Chalwe at first had some reservations about me taking up music as a career. He used to tell me that singing will not take me anywhere, but by my good conduct I have managed to convince him and he believes in me,” she insists.

Maya notes that through her association with the XYZ crew, comprising rappers Slap Dee, Ruff Kid and Lloyd among others, has made her fans identify her as the official XYZ first lady. “I am part of XYZ crew, after all I am the official XYZ first lady although people may say I’m dating Slap Dee. I’m very comfortable about it. He has been very supportive to me and actually he is my producer and manager,” says Maya, who is committed to someone she declined to mention.

The singer and rapper says she has been receiving considerable support from her fans, since she joined the industry last year. “I receive a lot of messages from all my fans including kids. It’s so amazing. I have traveled to different places in the country. Sometimes kids run to me whenever I am passing to tell me that they want me to be their playing mum and I accept the request because I love mingling with kids. I have no problems taking photos with them,” says Maya, a devoted Christian belonging to Christian Mission in Main Lands.

Maya’s music career can be traced way back at school when she used to sing in a school choir. “I remember the first time I knew I could sing was when I was 13-years-old in grade eight at St. Mary’s Secondary School. My family is very supportive of my singing career too,” says Maya, a second born in the family of four.

Maya who draws her inspiration from the late local musician Lily T, American-based singers Beyonce, Rihanna, Kelly Hilson, Whitney and Nick Minaj among others says her passion for education has compelled her to set-up a youth organisation called ‘Xample Yama Diva’ (XYD), stating that the organization is aimed at promoting girl-child education in the country. “I am the CEO Chief executive officer of Xample Yama Diva and through this organization we are encouraging more girls out there to realise their potential and work hard in school. Girls should believe in themselves, because everything is possible if they do that and they should put God first in all they do,” Maya says.

Her album could be out this year – be on the look out!