Music Editor Hannah Gadd sat down with rising pop-star and Eurovision entrant Mae Muller to discuss her long-awaited debut album
Eurovision entrant and rising pop superstar Mae Muller is set to release her long-awaited debut album, Sorry I’m Late at the end of this month. Known for her fun pop hits, Muller shows us a different side to herself and her songwriting with this album and she can’t wait to share it with the world. Mae Muller joined me over Zoom to discuss all things Sorry I’m Late, Eurovision nerves and musical inspirations.
Your highly anticipated album Sorry I’m Late comes out this month, what can you tell us about it?
I can say that it’s definitely a journey which I’ve been on, I started it five/six years ago, I’ve grown up writing and I feel like you can really hear that. There’s break-up bangers on there but there’s also more vulnerability. I think there’s something for every single mood and I’m just really, really proud of the songwriting. It’s definitely shown the journey, shown the growth and I’m excited for everyone to hear it!
Your fans have been patiently waiting for a record from you, why do you think now is the right time to release your debut album?
I think it just feels like the right time because I’m ready. I’m ready to show everyone all kinds of sides to me. When I first started releasing music I felt like I had to be this kind of ‘version’ of what a strong woman was and I think writing this album, I’ve really learnt the strengths of vulnerability and that it’s okay to be a little softer. I can express myself in the ways I want to express myself and it’s taken me a while to get to that point but this album is the perfect way to do it. Obviously after Eurovision it just feels like the right time and I think more people will hear it. It just feels right.
In your songwriting you tell the story of what it is to be a woman. Why do you think it’s so important to show both the powerful and the more vulnerable sides of womanhood?
Because I think we’re all multifaceted human beings and I feel like no matter what kind of field you work in or whether you’re a mother, a daughter, a sister I feel like we’re always put under such pressure to be strong, show that united front, not break a sweat and hold everything together. Especially as an artist, I’ve felt that way and I’ve always felt like I’ve had to not show that softer side of me. That’s what I want people to get from it, to realise that it’s okay and you don’t always have to be that version of a strong woman that everyone kind of wants you to be and I think you can really hear that in the album. It starts off in that way, which I love and it’s an important side of me, that kind of ‘bad b**ch, you won’t see me sweat, I’m this and I’m that’ but it gradually gets a bit more vulnerable and I’m showing the other side of that coin as well.
What are your musical influences for this album and are there any particular artists that have inspired you?
Lily Allen and Florence And The Machine have always been big inspirations to me. They’re very honest with their storytelling, even though they’re quite different in how they write, I think they have such a distinctive style and that’s always been really inspirational to me. With the more upbeat pop sounds, Doja Cat was a big inspiration. When I was writing it, it was her ‘Say So’ era and I just loved that sound. NEIKED, who I work with a lot, is so good at that. It’s definitely a big mix of inspirations, but you know, boss women that know how to write a good song.
The artwork for the album is incredible. What can you tell us about the visuals behind Sorry I’m Late?
I knew that I wanted the creative to match the energy of the album and I’ve always wanted my songs to be visual so I had to create something that’s eye-catching and that people are like ‘oh! what is that?’. I’ve always wanted to do something where there are multiple versions of me, whether it’s a music video or a photo shoot, and I thought this album was such a perfect way to do that. Each of the versions of me sat around the table on the cover represent a song on the album. I think each song tells a story so I wanted each song to have their own character but also they’re all different versions of me from the past, the present, the future and shows what I’ve had to overcome to get here and how I’ve grown. They’re all different sides of me and then sat at the end is sort of who I am now and I’m content with it. We’ve all been waiting a long time to get these thoughts and feelings out but we’re here now and we’re not going anywhere! That was kind of the idea behind it, the process was insane! It was fifteen looks in one day and we had to do it twice. It was two eighteen hour days, we had to do all the looks on one day and then again on the second day. It was a lot but worth it for sure!
Sounds intense! Your latest single ‘MTJL (Maybe That’s Just Life)’ is an extremely personal track. How important is it to you to be so open and candid in your music?
From when I first started writing I just felt a need to be honest. Even when I didn’t really know what I wanted to say, I just knew I wanted it to be personal and it’s just something that has come naturally to me. It’s also what I want to hear from the artists I love, I want authenticity and I want it to feel like they’re really speaking about their experiences. I don’t think to be a good artist you have to do that, songwriting and creating is whatever you make it and whatever you want it to be but for me personally, I like it to be personal. I’ve always kind of come from that space and honestly, in a selfish way it’s free therapy for me! If I’m feeling a way about something, if I’m hurt, angry, happy, it’s just a way of expressing those emotions. I’m not good at saying how I feel, normally I’m just like ‘I’m fine, it’s cool, keep it moving! The most traumatic thing just happened to me? It’s fine! Did it happen? I don’t even know!’ so writing is a good way for me to actually process things. That’s where it comes from and I hope that will stick with me because it’s something that I feel really grateful to get to do.
Of course I have to mention Eurovision, what has that experience taught you and how has it inspired you as an artist?
Honestly, I learnt so much in that experience. I learnt even just the more surface-level things like my performance style and how I carry myself but also there’s a lot of things that I would do differently now. Not in relation to the way I interacted with fans, I loved that but I just think I’m better at controlling my nerves now. Usually, I don’t really get nervous but Eurovision I was so nervous and I think I let that get the better of me sometimes. So I think now, I’ve found that perfect balance of not letting those nerves take over and to just go with it, ride with it. But you know, I think it was such an amazing experience and I got to meet so many amazing people and that’s what I wanted from it. It was a win in my eyes!
And you were fantastic! In what ways is Sorry I’m Late a progression from your previous work?
I think just sonically it’s a level up, the producers that I’m working with are so amazing and it feels like quite a cohesive and coherent sound. It just sounds really slick, even just down to the mixing, kind of a technical thing but it just sounds like it’s evolved so much and me personally, I have evolved so much. The writing is better, it’s honest, a lot more vulnerable than anything I’ve ever released which is definitely something different and people won’t be expecting it as much. It really is just a level up from what I’ve done before and I haven’t released a proper project in a long time so it’s definitely something people can lose themselves in which is really exciting.
And finally, what can we expect from Mae Muller following the release of Sorry I’m Late?
A lot of music! I’m doing some fun appearances which I’m really excited about. I’m doing my in-stores which start this week. I’m going around the UK performing, doing Q&As and it’s more intimate but I haven’t done that in so long and it’s another way I can say ‘thank you’ and to show my gratitude. Next year I’ve got a film coming out. I’m going to be doing more acting which I’m really excited about, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while so I’m exploring that which is amazing. There’s a lot to juggle but I’m excited!
Mae Muller’s debut album Sorry I’m Late is out 29th September 2023
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