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13th February 2020

In Conversation with Mae Muller

Writer Reece Ritchie explores Mae Muller’s lyrics and inspiration during an interview touching on all aspects of her career
In Conversation with Mae Muller
Photo: Reece @ The Mancunion

North London up and comer Mae Muller returned to The Deaf Institute this week for her first headline show.

Muller’s latest release is a single called ‘Therapist’. The track is clearly inspired by Mae’s time on tour with Little Mix but still tinged with her authentic North London accent. She told me the track is mainly written to be the kind of song “she wished she could’ve heard at 15 or 16.”

As an artist, Mae has been complimented many times on her tongue in cheek songwriting, most prevalent on her track ‘Jenny’. When I asked where the ideas for her humorous writing style came from Mae had no clear answer: “I often get random bouts of inspiration”- whether on tour or just “walking her dog”, it seems her lyrics can come about at any time.

From her first singles through to her album and her latest releases, Mae’s music has evolved and changed quite drastically, yet still maintains the same core vocal sounds. When asked about her experimental career Mae stated the main reason for her changing style of production was largely due to the vast number of producers she had worked with in the past year. However, she was pleased to tell me that she’s found a more permanent producer relationship to build on and “is zoning in on the storytelling and being as genuine as possible.”

I was interested in Mae Muller because of her reputation – she’s often misunderstood to be a woman that hates men, rather than being seen for the powerful woman she is, who simply celebrates herself.

This was evident when I asked about the incorporation of gender-specific insults, typically aimed at women, being instead aimed at men in her music, flipping sexist remarks on their head. “Men have been calling women Wh**e or b*tch since the beginning of time”, she explained. “I’m gonna say what I want”. It is a powerful statement about being empowered and genuine even in a more mainstream spotlight.

Mae went on to humbly remark that a lot of this empowerment that her fans felt “came with learning how to celebrate herself”. This in itself was a type of “armour” she created after all the times she hadn’t stuck up for herself. To hear such an honest and open expression from an artist that had played massive arenas was refreshing and indicative of why her fans adore her.

This authenticity carries across to Mae’s life in all areas whether it be her performance, her social media or her music. She is very passionate about maintaining her North London accent in her music to ensure “it sounds like her”. This pride in her roots come from living in the same 1-mile radius her whole life as she told me.

Mae told me that she hopes to stay close as she grows, knowing in herself that “she can maintain her authenticity as she grows because it’s a priority”. This flavour is clear to see from her inspirations, ranging from Shade – recommended to Mae by her mother – to Florence and the Machine and Lily Allen.

Mae Muller sings
An action shot of Mae Muller at The Deaf Institute.

Mae was “so excited” to return to The Deaf Institute for the second time in a year, this time to headline. An impressive feat for any musician, the gig in itself was very enjoyable. It was clear that girls were the key makeup of Mae’s fanbase on the first floor of The Deaf Institute, with many young voices catching each and every word on the air and repeating them back.

Mae Muller is the embodiment of a new wave of female artists celebrating themselves in a way truly inspiring to fans. Women like herself and fellow pop icons Billie Eilish and Beabadoobee prove to young women every day that they can find a career in music if that’s what’s truly they desire. Not only that, but if they want to express themselves through pop music, they can do it their own way.

In terms of Mae specifically some new listeners may interpret her music as hating on men, as I hate to admit that I did, but as soon as you dive below the surface of her hooks you find an artist that is truly inspirational.

Reece Ritchie

Reece Ritchie

Reece is the Mancunion’s Music Editor, leading the team covering Manchester’s music scene and beyond. He is also an editor at Music Is To Blame, an independent music publications and has written words for WHATWESPEW the Manchester punk collective.Now Head Rep for the record label Scruff of the Neck and the host of The Northwest Emo Show he continues to deliver articles on the very best music Manchester and the UK has to offer. He also features his own photography within his articles, working with the likes of Slowthai, Enter Shikari and Wargasm.

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