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Mae Krell for The Meadow

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interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)

interviewee: Mae Krell (@maekrell)

Mae Krell is in the midst of a new era. Over a production backdrop of chirping birds, running washing machines and children playing, Mae expresses their introspective lyrics with a newfound maturity and understanding. Following a two-year hiatus, the 21-year-old made their return in 2020 with a string of soft, folk-pop singles. Influenced by revered singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Phoebe Bridgers and Gregory Alan Isakov, Mae writes intimate reflections about confronting past struggles, self-love and personal truths. “wash,” their most recent release, garnered over 500k Spotify streams in less than six months, with their other singles following close behind in numbers.

t h e   i n t e r v i e w

1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
For sure! Thank you for having me, by the way!
I’m Mae, I’m 22 and live in New York City & I have a dog named Apollo and a lizard named Basil! That’s pretty much it, haha

2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?
Indie Folk, probably!

3. What is the story behind your musical journey?
I went to my first concert ever when I was fourteen, and after that I knew I wanted to be around music all the time. It was an instant realization. I was shy, still am a bit, but at the time I couldn’t see myself getting on stage at all (plus, I hadn’t even written any music yet). At the gig, the closest person to the stage who wasn’t on it was the photographer, so I figured that’s where I should be. I got a cheap camera and within a couple months was in photo pits 3-4 times a week, if not more, & that’s the spark notes of I got into the music industry. Once I got to a point of properly doing photography full time I realized that I really wanted to be playing music, and so I started pushing toward that, and that’s where I’m at now, still pushing toward that.

4. And how has your journey been so far?
Hard! And wonderful! And a lot of fun! But also exhausting. Honestly just a mix of every possible feeling. Being an independent artist feels like a group project a lot of the time. I work with my ridiculously talented friend Caro Hallock for all my art and visuals, my friend Jakob is producing the music I’m working on now, and it goes on and on. I’m lucky to have all that support, and the more time I’ve spent working on music the more this journey has felt
more doable and more fun.

5. I am in love with your latest, “are you sure?” and now you have an upcoming single “snow” that will be out on the 30 th of April! What should we expect with your new song? Will it be something completely different or is there a theme behind your music?
Thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear that, seriously.
“are you sure?” Is on the super acoustic end, whereas “snow” definitely leans more pop than anything else I’ve put out, I think. It has a pretty big and emotional bridge too, which I’m really excited about. I’d say the general theme behind my music is just that it’s emotional and personal- that’s the thread that runs through all of it.

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6. Tell us what “snow” means to you and what your aim is/was during the making.

“snow” is about one of those moments of gratitude toward life and being able to experience It fully. Being present and aware means that your feelings are felt 100%, and that’s really really hard but also a blessing at the same time. For so much of my life I was looking for care and love and a feeling of home in the wrong places- “snow” is about starting to find out that those feelings are attainable without a form of self-destruction.

7. How is/was the process of the making of the song? You can share any memorable BTS stories here.
I made this song with Joey Auch, who has produced everything else I have out as of right now. We worked together for the first time when I was really young, like, sixteen or something; working with him is always a great experience. This song was made at the beginning (ish) of the pandemic. It was the first song that I started working on remotely
which at the time was really odd. I wrote this one on piano as well, which is different from my usual and I think is part of what inspired its bigger sound.

8. What is your creative process?
I almost always write lyrics first, or at least some of them. I write single lines or simple ideas super often, throw them in my phone notes and forget about them. Typically I’ll find one of those that is specifically fitting and go from there. After I have some lyrics I’ll mess around with chords until I have something that sounds cool and then go forward from there. I definitely write in different ways but that’s my general process!

9. Who is your musical inspiration?
I love Elton John. Gregory Alan Isakov, Bear’s Den, Donovan Woods.

10. Any tips for our musicians out here?
Be supportive of other musicians and build community! Obviously, work on your own craft, but for me meeting other musicians and making friends who love what I love and are pursing it similarly has made a huge difference in the way I look at my career.

11. How do we gain access to your music?
Anywhere that you listen to music! My artist name is just my name “Mae Krell” :)

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