I recently had the chance to chat with London-born singer and songwriter Mae Muller, who represented the United Kingdom on home soil in Eurovision 2023, gained her first top-ten single with her entry, ‘I Wrote a Song’, and is releasing her debut album, Sorry I’m Late on 29th September 2023. Mae discusses the more vulnerable side of her that Sorry I’m Late will reveal, reflects on her growth as an artist since the release of her EP No One Else, Not Even You in 2020, and her recent performance with fellow Eurovision 2023 alumni Joker Out in London. As a passionate Eurovision fan, I, of course, first had to thank Mae for being such a brilliant ambassador for the UK in Liverpool:
Mollie: So, first of all, I wanted to say that me and my Dad actually came to watch the second semi final evening preview of Eurovision. So of course we saw you perform ‘I Wrote a Song’, and I have a video of myself absolutely just screaming the lyrics really embarrassingly.
Mae Muller: Oh my god, I love that!
So you completely smashed it, the crowd went mad. You were such an incredible ambassador for the country especially on home soil. As a huge Eurovision fan, I couldn’t have hoped for anyone better to sing for us and represent us.
That’s so sweet. Thank you so much!
So, leading on from that, obviously you got your first top ten single with ‘I Wrote a Song’, which is amazing and congratulations. It was also the first UK Eurovision entry in over a decade to chart in this country, which is amazing. So, I just wanted to ask first, how did it feel to get that first top ten single?
I mean, it was such a strange feeling because it was like, as an artist who’s been doing this for a long time it did feel like such a milestone. And also it was like, it did feel a bit, just for a second it was kind of diluted with all this other stuff, and I had to really gather myself and be like ‘No no no, enjoy this, this is such an achievement’, and I tried to see it as the standalone thing for what it was. And once I did that I was like ‘I got a top ten’! I had to remember that a top ten is no easy feat so I’m proud of myself for sure.
Yeah, definitely! It was a really great achievement. So, Sorry I’m Late, your debut album is being released on 29th September. So, congratulations on that as well. Are you planning to celebrate or do anything special on that day to mark the release?
Well, I have been thinking about it and I do think I should do something. Nothing crazy. I think I just want to, like, I think in the evening as I’m sure during the day I’ll be freaking out somewhere. There’s a pub near where I live called The Hawley [Arms] which I really like, and I think I might just get a big table and whoever wants to come down, we can have a cheers. I think it’s really important to mark moments and celebrate your achievements no matter how big or how small they are. It splits up everything in kind of a nice way and gives you something to work towards and look forward to. I definitely will be doing something. Some shots.
It sounds like fun. I love going to the pub so, great idea.
Love the pub! Simple but effective!
So you’ve spoken about the album sort of showing a more vulnerable side of you that maybe fans wouldn’t have heard before. I was wondering which track on the album do you think shows that side of you the most?
One of them is already out, ‘Maybe That’s Just Life’, which is MTJL on the album. I think that song is literally like a diary entry. I wasn’t really thinking about verse, pre, chorus. I just wanted it to sound like a release, and that’s literally what it was, all the day-to-day insecurities that you have. It’s not a crazy, deep song in regards of like, subject matter or what the insecurities are, but that’s what it was, all these little day-to-day things that can gradually make you quite fed up and doubt yourself, and the little things that you wish were different. And then just kind of coming to accept that. That was really a turning point for me when we wrote that, and seeing the reaction to it has been really, really comforting, and I’ve been enjoying that a lot. There are quite a few, but there’s one called ‘Porn Lied to Us’ as well, which is quite exposing for anyone really, and it’s just about that complexity that comes with intimacy sometimes and the pressures that come with it. Because, obviously, as a woman, I feel like I write from a woman’s perspective and I think it resonates with a lot of other women but I think with this, everyone can relate to that. How you can feel under pressure when you’re being intimate with someone. It’s just a shame, isn’t it? Because that’s not what being intimate is about, but we’ve all been there. And, I thought that was quite, gosh, this is raw!
Kind of a similar question, but which track on Sorry I’m Late did you enjoy writing the most? Or are you most excited for the fans to hear?
I think there was one song, ‘I Wish I Could Hate You’, I feel like was a very therapeutic song to write. It was one where I when I finished it, it was like ‘this is exactly what I wanted to say’, and that’s such a nice feeling. It’s about a breakup that was very real that I had just been through but I had written so much about it that I was sort of creatively a bit tired from it. So, I kind of wrote it from his perspective. From writing through his perspective, my perspective also came out. It sounds very tedious and annoying and songwritery but that kind of was like, it just felt really like what I needed to say and I felt a lot lighter when I wrote it. So, I’m excited for people to hear that one and I’m sure it’s something that people can relate to when you wish you can hate someone, or it’s much easier going through a breakup sometimes if someone’s done something wrong and it gives you a reason to be angry. I think being angry is a lot easier than feeling sad, and that’s exactly what that song is about, basically.
So, looking at the track list and sort of listening to songs like ‘I Wrote a Song’ and ‘Me Myself and I’, it seems like a lot of your music is based around female empowerment and self-love. What inspires you to write tracks that are so empowering to women and create such a female solidarity?
I think just being a woman myself and like kind of growing up a lot in this industry. I’ve always tried to be as honest as I can with my song writing so I think my experiences are just what I write about. I feel so lucky that I get to do something that other people can hear it and relate to it, you know? I don’t go in the studio and go ‘I need to write a song that has a really like…’ I’d be lying if I said I went into the studio and said ‘I’m going to write a feminist banger today’, because that’s not how my brain works. I write about experiences, I write about the female experience, whatever that may look like, and the fact that it relates to people and I see how much it relates to people and being able to sing that live and feel that I’m not alone in that and they’re not alone in that is just so rewarding, and it really is the kind of thing that keeps you pushing. And that’s the funny thing a lot of the time, people will kind of say you know ‘you made me feel less alone when I listened to the song’, but it really goes both ways because I’m writing all this sometimes thinking that like ‘I’m a freak, and I’m the only one that’s feeling like this!’, and this is such an isolating feeling. And then you kind of put it out into the world which is a really scary thing to do, and then you’re like ‘Oh!’ Like, so many other people feel this way and I’m not alone in feeling that, so it really does work both ways.
So, you recently performed with Joker Out in London. I really wanted to get tickets to go and see it but I was working! Is there any other Eurovision 2023 act you’d like to perform with, or just any other current artist you’d like to sing with at all?
Ooh, hmm. I mean, I love Teya and Salena (Austria 2023), I think they’re amazing. We have the same humour, and we just get on, so I think their vibes are really fun. We’d have a lot of fun. But also, performing with Joker Out was such a treat as well, that was kind of the perfect thing for me as well because musically we’re so differently. Hearing ‘I Wrote a Song’ in the way they interpreted it and the way they made it their own was so like… I was like ‘Oh my god this is amazing!’ I was like ‘I need to record this, I need to do this properly!’ But it was a lot of fun and I love those guys, like they’re so talented and just lovely people, so it was really nice.
I saw that version of the song, I watched the video and it sounded really, really good. I’ve seen on your Instagram that you’re doing some album signings and acoustic performances around the country in the next few weeks. What are you most looking forward to about those signings, do you think?
I think I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone like up close and personal, and just being able to say thank you because you know, everyone that will be attending is just like, really, I guess, you know that support just means everything. It will just make me even more excited about the album coming out, and I think it’s been a while since I’ve done a string of intimate gigs. I think that will just be really, really nice, and to just perform some songs from the album, and see what the reaction is, you know? So, I’m really excited about that.
Great, sounds really fun! Sounds like people will have a really good time,
I hope so!
You released your EP No One Else, Not Even You in 2020. How do you think you’ve sort of developed as an artist in the three years since then and how is it reflected in the new album?
I think I’ve just learnt a lot about myself and I’ve grown up a lot. And I think, it’s weird like, I’ve been through a lot of things personally, and I think just as a planet and as people going through the pandemic collectively, I think it really did change us. So, I feel like having that and gaining that perspective was just, especially as an artist where everything changed after that. There was different ways of doing things, like social media became even more important and so I think you kind of had to evolve really, really quickly. But it was great because I learnt about different ways to connect with people and I think now, in my writing style, I feel like I can hear that I sound more sure of myself and less afraid. I’m so proud of everything I’ve ever released but sometimes I feel like I can hear myself trying to prove myself a bit and with this album I’m just writing from the heart.
I’m sure that is going to be reflected when it comes out, and everyone will love it! So, what’s your proudest achievement of your career to date if you could sort of pinpoint one? You may not be able to but-
I mean I think it will be, I know it’s boring but I think the release of this album, no matter what happens. I think being able to release a debut album in this climate and day and age of music it just an achievement within itself, and I’m just really proud of the creative and all the songs on it, so that is definitely a huge achievement for me. I think just sort of getting to this point, I’m just really proud of it. Being able to say I’ve been on tours, and I’ve been to America, and I did Jimmy Fallon. That was such a highlight to me because Jimmy Fallon is like the epitome of showbusiness to me and like, Hollywood. So doing that and meeting him and I was like ‘Oh my God you’re a real person’, like that to me was just so reassuring and was a push and a drive for me to carry on because I did it once and I was like ‘I’ve got to do it again now! I’ve got to do it again!’. But we’ll see what happens. But yeah, there’s been a lot of points where I’m like (pats back), ‘You did good!’.
Yeah, got to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes.
So, the last thing I wanted to ask, what can we expect from you next?
A lot of music. I’m really wanting to, you know, bring out some visuals, amazing visuals. I feel like this is such a visual album and like, all the songs I feel like you can really see. So, I’m looking forward to bringing out some visuals that kind of match the energy. I’ve got a film coming out in February which I’m starring in, which is something that I’m definitely wanting to do more of which is really exciting and people will be able to watch that. And, yeah, just a lot more music, and maybe some acting and stunning vibes.
Stunning vibes, that’s what we like to see! Yeah, that sounds really interesting, I’ll definitely go and watch the film when it comes out.
‘Gassed Up’, it’s called.
Oh, amazing. I’ll write that down so I do not forget. Right, so that’s all sort of the questions I had. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.
It was really lovely to meet you, and just best of luck for the album release in a couple of weeks. You’re gonna smash it and it will all be fine. Yeah, and just also thank you for being, as I said at the beginning, such an amazing ambassador for the country for Eurovision.
Thank you! Of course! I mean, I had the best time ever so, you know. It was an honour, but thank you.
Mae Muller’s debut album, ‘Sorry I’m Late’ will be released on 29th September 2023 via Universal Music and Capitol Records. You can listen to ‘MTJL’ here: