British artist Mae Muller released her much anticipated brand new album Sorry I’m Late on September 29, 2023. We got a chance to catch up with Mae to discuss this project at a press conference put on by °1824.
The singer has had many achievements over the last few years from representing the UK at this year’s Eurovision, to topping the UK and US Top 40 charts with her hit “Better Days” featuring Neiked and Polo G. When asked about these accomplishments Mae explained that the moment she felt like she made it is when she performed on Jimmy Fallon:
“I know that’s a name drop but I will name drop it until the end of time because it was the most surreal thing in the world. Cause he is like the pinnacle of Hollywood and showbiz and success in this kind of game that we are in. So he came, he knocked on my dressing room and I saw him dawning so tall and I was like ‘oh my god, it’s him!’ I’m like looking at him and he’s a real person. And I’m here…I’m here because of me. They have invited ME on here. It was so crazy! And I did my performance. I sang “Better Days”… I could see it in my mind now, I was looking out and there was like a second of silence. But that second felt like it lasted forever and I could see the lights and all of the audience and their faces. And suddenly everyone stood up and clapped to that and then Jimmy came over…. And I was like…even if I never experience this again, this happened and this is real and I walked off the stage and bawled my eyes out.”
Watch the performance below!
“Better Days” currently has over 438 million streams on Spotify but Mae is far from being a one hit wonder. Her latest project Sorry I’m Late consists of 17 tracks, including “Better Days,” that all fall under the pop umbrella. That being said, each song has its own personality, so much so that in the imagery for the project Mae Muller created 14 personas; in some videos on her social media you can see them all sitting around a table similar to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. When asked what character from her artwork she feels like the most right now she answered:
“I’m feeling quite “Me, Myself, and I” and she is, if you’re looking, she’s on the left of the table and she got sort of like a beehive. She’s in a power suit. She’s ready to take on the world. She’s feeling good. She’s about her business. She’s ready. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
One thing that Mae pointed out during the conference is that when it comes to her music, the songwriting aspect is very close to her heart. Mae is able to connect outside of the box concepts with seemingly effortless text which makes it simple to follow the points of each track. One song that really showcases this ability is “Written By a Woman.” She had the song title in her notes app for a while because she thought about how there are so many songs around the male gaze and she wanted something for the girls. She played with the concept that what a lot of straight men think women find attractive, is not actually the case. She further described this idea by stating, “It was all about finding that sexiness in men that can own that femininity and are gentle and soft and that’s how I feel the safest. You don’t have to be like this alpha guy you know?”
Another interesting side note about that song is that it wasn’t originally meant to be released as a single. The album was intended to come out on the 15 of September but was pushed to September 29. Mae still wanted her fans to get something to listen to on that September date, so they picked “Written By a Woman.” It worked out for the best because it allowed that track to get its own moment to shine, especially since it sits all the way at the end of the album.
Watch the lyric video for “Written By a Woman” below.
A track that really stands out on this album is “MTJL (Maybe That’s Just Life).” Unlike the rest of the songs, this one is slower and acoustically driven. The lack of major instrumentation forces the audience to focus purely on Mae’s songwriting. “I wish I weren’t an overthinker, but I am. Wish I could get my friends to understand. I wish I was a better singer, or better than I am. I wish one little thing would go to plan,” is the second verse, which once again demonstrates her ability to play on words yet swiftly expresses her point. It is touching and illustrates a softer side of the artist which we haven’t seen too much of in the past.
An underdog on the album that deserves to be highlighted is “Miss America.” The song touches on the themes of what it means to be perfect and how those standards are in many ways the downfall of our society. It uses vintage americana notes as a base but overall still keeps Mae’s modern sound apparent. If you take a look at the character that was created for this track, she is wearing a silky dress that has a “Miss America” sash around it, starlet voluptuous hair which a crown sits on top off, and her makeup is streaming down her face from her tears. That’s another thing you should know about Mae Muller, she is not afraid of being theatrical and over the top.
Many musicians are perfectionists when it comes to their craft. It can be difficult to figure out when a song is complete and is ready to be heard by the public. Mae said regarding her own music that:
“When I listen back to it, I’m like you know what, if I try to change something and it’s not quite getting there. I love the song so much that I would release it with that one small thing that I’m not happy with but is still great anyway. It gets to the point where even with that miniscule thing that I can’t quite get, or is not quite working, I want it out anyway because of the message.”
She also noted that she doesn’t like showing her friends and family her music before it’s out because she gets nervous about it. That means she can only rely on her intuition and her team to finalize her tracklist. It is one of the many ways she exuberates confidence, while staying perfectly humble.
Overall the album sets in stone a new chapter for Muller regarding who she is a person and what direction she is headed:
“When I first started writing music, if you went back into my discography, it’s all very much ‘I take no shit, you can’t break my heart, I’m this strong ass woman, no one can get me down, I got this and look what I’ve done for myself.’ That is a side to me that I really enjoy expressing but I feel like a lot of that was like ‘I wasnt that person all of the time.’ I felt like that was almost like armor… That was my version of a strong woman. I think in this album, I’m actually not just doing that. I’m sort of showing my vulnerability, writing things that are kind of exposing and a little bit scary… It kind of doesn’t show one version of me. It’s all of the in betweens and sometimes it’s not so pretty but I think if I want to call myself an authentic artist, then I have to show that side.”
Beyond the music, Mae Muller shines through her character and priorities. One of the highlights of the conference was the way that Mae spoke about her supporters. The fans allow for artists to grow and have the ability to make music their full time career. After all, they are the ones who are going to be buying the tickets to your concerts and streaming new music. Mae’s thoughts regarding her own fanbase is that:
“Your fans are the reason why you do what you do as an artist… It’s not for everyone to have such a face-to-face intimate relationship with their fans cause it is a lot and some people want to be a bit more behind the scenes but for me, I love having that intimate relationship of showing up like seeing them face to face. I just did a round of three intimate shows in record stores all around the UK. I got to chat with everyone and it kind of makes you remember that these are the people that are supporting you so I kind of feel like it’s only right to give that back and show appreciation and that I’m grateful you know? I don’t even like saying fans. I think it’s more like my supporters I guess. They’re great! And I have such fun with them. Even like the online aspect, they kind of keep me going as an artist and remind me like hey this is why I am doing it. It’s bigger than me. So I’ve always really enjoyed that kind of fan aspect of being an artist and having that relationship.”
Make sure to check out Sorry I’m Late available now on all music streaming platforms! You won’t regret it! Below is the link for Spotify.