Muller's new EP presents new sides of the singer-songwriter and represents her artistry in full.instagram/maemuller

Rising swiftly through the charts this year is none other than singer and songwriter Mae Muller, whose recent releases prove she is a creative force not to be messed with. Witty, authentic and instantly likeable, Muller’s unique flair and feisty character have garnered her high critical acclaim, seeing her highlighted as “a clear pop sensation in the making” and “one to watch”. Varsity sat down to discuss the process behind her biggest songs, experiences in the music industry, and her long-awaited EP, no one else, not even you.

Muller had always wanted to perform, having nurtured a love for music since childhood, but she never quite knew how to break into the industry. “I always enjoyed it, but never really knew what that could amount to,” she admits. In 2016, she uploaded her first ever song to SoundCloud and began gaining attention soon after. Entitled ‘Close’, its instrumental is prototypical of the intimate atmosphere she has a knack for creating in her music.

When asked about her approach to writing lyrics, she finds that being genuine and going with the flow usually produce the best results. “I feel like the best songwriters that I work with want the music to be authentic to me, and they’re always thinking, “what would you say and how would you express it?”, and that’s really important. But sometimes, I just want to be on my notes app in the corner writing the whole thing myself. When I get going, I hate talking about it with someone else, I just want to get it whilst the ideas are fresh!”

Muller's soulful pop has garnered her more than 100 million streams across platforms.YouTube/Mae Muller

Frank, tongue-in-cheek and conversational, her recent hit ‘Therapist’ exemplifies her style of songwriting: “You don’t need a girlfriend / You just need a therapist / You got too much drama / I’m not qualified to fix.” Praised for playfully addressing a topic like wellbeing in romantic partnerships, Muller welcomed the positive reception to this song. “I see these relationship dynamics with my friends, I’ve seen it with family members, and I question: why are you giving so much of your mental health and emotions to this person whilst getting nothing back in return? It’s just another thing I’ve been dealing with and needed to get off my chest. To see that it helped other people was a really rewarding experience.”

Mae Muller’s acumen for incisive lyricism and relatable subject matter has established her as one of Britain’s brightest rising stars. In just a few years, she has racked up over 100 million streams across platforms, and opened for pop titans Little Mix on the UK leg of their tour last year. “They had 32 sold-out shows, all arenas around the UK. We did five nights at the O2 Arena, which is my hometown in London. We also did three nights in Manchester, which comprised 22,000 people and it was packed! I was just in awe of the whole experience and it really taught me how to own a stage.” She also headlined her own tour, an experience she cherishes: “I did my biggest headline show in London at Heaven and the support there was just incredible! Performing is definitely my favourite part of the job.”

“Mae Muller’s acumen for incisive lyricism and relatable subject matter has established her as one of Britain’s brightest rising stars.”

After a steady stream of singles, the singer-songwriter is rounding off the year with her new EP, no one else, not even you, released earlier this month. Her sandy vocals are set largely amid a backdrop of plucked guitars and percussive beats, as the collection presents new sides of her and represents her artistry in full. “I think being this sassy, outspoken, ‘take no shit’ girl is great and that’s definitely a big part of me,” she says. “Within this EP, you see other sides which are equally important to me, since I owe it to my audience and supporters to be honest with them and show that it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes. I’ve been exploring many different genres and I think this is the first time with a project of mine that I can really say that this is 100% me in music form.”

As for the EP’s core themes? “Honesty and openness,” she professes. “A few of the songs are a bit more optimistic than my previous ones. There’s one song, ‘wish u well’, which is about getting closure from quite a toxic situation, but there’s no bad blood there and it’s actually a good thing. I can see you, have a conversation and I don’t have to hate you: I can keep moving and there’s something so powerful in that. It doesn’t always have to be a horrible argument, sometimes it can just be a peaceful outcome. This was quite a big milestone that I had to overcome.”

Muller has been dubbed "a clear pop sensation in the making".instagram/maemuller

The track list of no one else, not even you also includes biting kiss-off ‘HFBD’ (Happy Fucking Birthday), which Muller picks out as her favourite track she’s written to date. “I was aware that it probably wouldn’t be a mainstream hit, but the second I wrote the song, it just felt so right. Even in the times when I performed it live, it wasn’t out yet and it was getting such an amazing reaction!”

“Within this EP, you see other sides which are equally important to me, since I owe it to my audience and supporters to be honest with them and show that it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes.”

The EP was crafted over a period of two years, during which she spent time in Los Angeles co-writing different songs, eight of which made it onto the final track list. Collaborating was a high point of the creative process, especially with Kenny Beats (Rico Nasty, Vince Staples) on ‘plot twist’, a breezy anthem for those averse to affection, but end up in love. “I’m a huge fan of his work. I watch his YouTube series religiously, so when in a room with him, I was like “don’t fangirl, keep it cool!” It’s one of my favourite songs on the EP.”

While her artistic voice has always been assertive, no one else, not even you has an unshakeable sense of security to it. “I’m in a better place now,” she admits. “I feel stronger so I’ve written it from this position of strength, rather than writing it when I felt worse. That’s probably why a lot of my music comes out as so boss-bitch, because I’m writing it from a new perspective and feeling more powerful.”

However, this sense of personal satisfaction doesn’t always extend to her workplace. When asked about what she wants to see from the music industry, she brought an oft-mentioned point: the lack of women behind the scenes. “I want to see more women in the studio: more female sound engineers, female producers. I think that there are a lot of talented women out there, but they’re just not given the same opportunities as men, and it’s such a shame. It’s getting better,” she notes, “but it needs to improve for sure.”


Mountain View

Album isolationism

After triumphing in 2020, probably the hardest year in recent history for musicians, Muller looks forward to next year, especially to getting back on the road. “When this lockdown ends, I’m extremely keen to get back on the live music scene! I’ve got a tour booked for April, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that it happens, but if not, we’ll just keep rescheduling it until it happens. I also want to release my debut album at some point, but I want it to be the right time.” Even fresh off a release, the star is eyeing opportunities to share more of her work with her supporters, a drive which will undoubtedly contribute to her future success. “You work so hard on these things, so I just want to share my music to as many people as possible. The show must go on!”