Q&A: Maisie Peters

Maisie Peters started her music career by crafting songs in her bedroom and uploading them to YouTube back in 2015. Since that moment, the inspirational self-proclaimed ‘Emo-Girl-Pop’ singer-songwriter has written a countless number of brilliant tunes, featured in a Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack and gained a legion of committed fans. The Brighton-born artist, at just 20-years-old, has already achieved so much – growing up on the internet, has produced a down to earth old-soul musician within Maisie Peters.

We caught up with Peters to discuss her career highlights so far, her forthcoming debut record, and her latest track ‘John Hughes Movie’.

You started your musical career on Youtube back in 2015, you’ve now amassed a quarter of a billion streams, and you’re signed to Atlantic Records. Describe in your own words your evolution from penning hopeless romantic songs to empowering many with your mature storytelling lyrics?

It’s been a journey. I started songwriting when I was 12-years-old and I’m 20 now. That’s eight years of hundreds, maybe thousands of songs and thousands of words, talking of life and its many experiences. A lot of words and time and feelings, in rotation, over and over for the past eight years. With every song growing a little bit better. Meeting new people, seeing new places and finding new ways to say what I’m thinking or feeling in small doses until I’ve gone from nothing to where I am now.

Would you be able to name a highlight in all of this?

There’s been so many! Playing Shepards Bush in 2019 and the end of that particular year was amazing, I played a sold out show after my second EP. When I look back on that now, it’s crazy. I don’t feel I’ve really absorbed the insanity. I got to tour America in 2019, playing to people in Nashville who knew all my words. Just so many highlights.

‘John Hughes Movie’ is the first single from your debut album, the track provokes a strong nostalgic feeling. Knowing you wrote this when you were 17-years-old, when you then re-visited this song, did you consciously work with people whose work had an influence on your own music? Whom you may have listened to when you were growing up.

Yes, I wrote it when I was 17. Even then I knew I wanted to bring it back and have it as the first single of this album. I decided to send it to two really good friends of mine, Ian and Andrew, they’re both producers in LA and we’d worked together on, ‘Sad Girl Summer’ and ‘Maybe Don’t’. We have a great relationship. I just knew they were the right people to keep that really nostalgic 80’s feel, but also bring it into 2021 and make it feel like the right mix of both. I knew they could do it, and they pulled it off brilliantly which makes me so happy. I like to keep songs within the family, people who I know love music and want just as much good for my song as I do.


If someone had told you would achieve all of this, what would you have to say to them?

If I told my younger self that ‘John Hughes Movie’ was going to be the first single on her album, she would probably die. Actually, she would probably be like, “Yah, sounds about right.” because I was a cocky 17-year-old. [laughs] No really, i think she’d be so happy and I always wanted to release it, it just never felt like the right time. It’s fate that it has all lined up, just the way it has.


If you could be any character from a ‘John Hughes Movie’ who would you be and why?

I think I’d love to be Sloane Peterson , Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend because he is the dream man. Also I would like to be Ferris Bueller’s sister because she kisses Charlie Sheen at the end, and that’s really iconic. One of the two.


Has being back in your Sussex family home over lockdown inspired your work at all?

Definitely. Going back for lockdown at the start of 2020, was amazing in terms of creativity. I was back in my childhood bedroom, which made me begin writing songs, the way I used to when I was a 14-year-old. It was just me on my own with my guitar, with my parents bedroom right next door and them saying, “Shh, Maisie it’s 10-o-Clock, go to sleep.” So I would creep down to the living room with my guitar and laptop and sit on the other end of the room, in the hope I wouldn’t disturb them. It was very cool to go back to being in that space, I don’t know when else you would get the chance to do that in life. Being back in my bedroom, with the knowledge I have now, as a 20-year-old, was amazing.

Your songwriting has also led you to be the only british artist to have a song featured on the Birds Of Prey film, with your song, ‘Smile’. Obviously that’s a massive achievement, how did you end up being a part of that film?

I had a friend who works in Atlantic Records for America and he was involved in creating a Birds Of Prey soundtrack, so he just sent me the brief. Think empowering, Cardi B vibes. He basically said, if you want to have a go, then run with it. It probably got sent to hundreds of writers. Me and my friend Ben who goes by the name Two Inch Punch, he is a producer and we just spent the day writing this crazy Cardi B-esc pop song. We were obsessed with it by the end of the day, we actually listened to Cher, when she’s in a sound clip saying, “My mum says I need to marry a rich man, and I say mum I am a rich man” we had that looping the whole day in the studio. It miraculously got to the guy’s who were making the sound track and they miraculously liked it. The whole time I kept expecting somebody to say, “Ok but it’s not actually in the film.” But that day never came, they really liked it and it ended up in the film. I actually went to see the film two or three times, it’s actually a really good film too, and not just because my songs in it.


You try to step away from this pop-star image and you’re known for being very down to earth with your fans. Why is this so important to you?

I would say that I think it’s important to convey something that’s real to people. Now more than ever it is so easy to compare ourselves, it’s easy to look at someone else’s life and feel like you can’t ever achieve what I have, which you absolutely can. However you decide to present yourself on social media is entirely your own business, but for me it’s important to show everyone that I am in fact just a real person. I’m in many ways the same as all of my fans. I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I look great, sometimes I don’t. Being real is very important in a world where lots of things aren’t.


‘Worst of you’ is your most popular song, but which is your personal favourite to perform?

I used to love performing, ‘This Is On You’, I would do it at the end of my set and it would feel like an amazing spark filled moment where everyone would just band together and shriek the chorus. So fun!


Finally, what can fans expect from you this year?

Lot’s of new music that I think they’ll love. Some of which they definitely won’t be expecting, i’ve got some collaborations in the works and some projects that people know nothing about. I’m really excited, I’m doing a lot this year. I’m sleeping not one bit and i’m making a lot of music!

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Q&A: Maisie Peters
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