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Maya Hawke Proves That Everyone on 'Stranger Things' Is Good at Music

The actress made two beautiful folk rock songs, adding to the canon of great musical projects from the show's cast.

by Coiln Joyce
20 August 2019, 6:59am

Screenshot via YouTube


This article originally appeared on VICE US

Maya Hawke—the young actress and daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman—was one of the best additions to Stranger Things 3. She played the ice cream-slinging, code-breaking teen Robin, and more or less stole the show in a plotline that involved descending into the depths of a Russian military base in suburban Indiana. For most, her star-making turn seemed totally out of left field; she only has a small handful of credits that preceded her appearance on the Netflix series. Turns out, though, acting's not her only talent. Today, Hawke has shared a pair of singles called "To Love a Boy" and "Stay Open."

According to Pitchfork, Hawke co-wrote both the tracks with songwriter Jesse Harris, who's also worked with Lana Del Rey and Norah Jones. Like those two artists, these singles draw on the lush swoony qualities of 70s folk-rock. Both songs are open-hearted meditations on love and loss, and the feelings that swim around your head when fulfilment feels eternally out of reach. "Stay Open," in particular, bears a resemblance to the forlorn fingerpicking of late-aughts folk artists like Laura Marling and Lisa Hannigan. It's a style that feels like it's fallen out of favor over the last few years, but it's refreshing to hear in Hawke's hands. "To Love a Boy" is also accompanied by an endearingly goofy video that stars Hawke as a beached mermaid.

It's all surprisingly great stuff, but perhaps it shouldn't have been—it seems like a modicum of musical talent is a prerequisite for appearing on Stranger Things. After the first season, we got to see a lot of the younger kids flex their pipes on late-night talk shows, but as time's gone on, pretty much everyone's gotten some shine for their musical abilities. Finn Wolfhard (who plays Mike) has an indie band and shows up in videos by high-flying rock bands like Weezer and PUP. Joe Keery (who plays Steve Harrington) played in the Chicago band Post Animal, and just released a dreamy debut single from his new psych-pop project Djo. Charlie Heaton (who plays Jonathan Byers) once played drums in the primitivist noise-punk band Comanechi. Even Gaten Matarazzo—a.k.a. goofy, smiley Dustin—has a band that does, like, Fall Out Boy covers.

There's something special in Hawke's music though, something a little more emotionally fully realized than even the best of the stuff her peers have made. In a statement she sent to Pitchfork, she referred to herself as "not a professional musician," but that should change soon. As a Stranger Things star, it's more or less her destiny.