IT has been delightful speaking with MAAD…
about her music and the story behind the latest single, New Religion. I ask her whether there is more material coming and if her experience as a model feeds into music itself – she recommends new artists to watch and talks about touring.
I was excited to learn which artists influence her and what L.A. is like as a base; if we will see her in the U.K. at all; the three albums that mean a lot to her; if she gets time to unwind at all – MAAD gives some handy advice for fellow songwriters coming through.
Hi, MAAD. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good! This week has been tied up with promoting the video for my recent release, New Religion. Also, I had the opportunity to D.J. for the Instagram launch of IGTV; so it’s been an eventful week, to say the least.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yes. Of course! My name is MAAD. I’m a singer-songwriter, D.J. and model.
What is the story behind the song, New Religion? How did that song come together?
New Religion started off in London. I had a session with Grades and Chiara Hunter. I was hype for this session as I had been a fan of Grades’ work prior to me meeting him and would frequently spin his music at my sets. So, it’s always mind-blowing when you get to work with people you admire.
In the session, I remember Grades playing these chords and Chiara had a few melodies and lyrics that came to mind, so we just bounced ideas off of each other. After the song was written, I recorded a reference vocal of it and took it back home to the States with me to recut it. I enjoy recording myself as I can really take the time I need to tighten my vocals up. I then linked up with my engineer/vocal producer Raleigh to finalize everything.
Do you see more material coming along before the end of the year?
100 per cent! I’m preparing to release my next E.P. later this summer.
Ever since I saw the video for 90s Love (2016); it seems like music videos are an important part of your art. Are visuals and representing your music through visual mediums vital to convey the power of the message?
Yes, for sure. I think we live in a very visual time, so it helps connect the listener to the song even more. I personally love the process of shooting videos as well!
L.A. is where you are based. How important are the city and its people regards your sound and sense of ambition?
Cali is a very recent move for me: a lot of the music that I created for this project came out of N.Y. and London. I am excited to see what sounds I can explore in L.A.!
You are also a model (as well as a songwriter). Do the disciplines and skills acquired in that field come into music? Are there attributes of the modelling world you bring to music?
Honestly; modelling has taught me so much about the entertainment business. I’ve learned a lot about how to work with a ton of different people and how to build a brand.
Give me a flavour of the artists who have inspired you. Who do you rank as idols?
Some of my favorites are Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson, to name a few. I appreciate their craft as musicians and entertainers.
You have gained plaudits from radio stations, fashion magazines and big sites. Is this backing and sense of respect something that drives you and makes you more determined?
I definitely appreciate the sites showing love to my music: it’s always important for me to be able to reach new listeners, so I never take any of that for granted. As far as my determination; it comes from wanting to continue to inspire people that they can do whatever they put their minds too. I’m indie and very much still trying to figure things out myself - but it’s nothing like growing into what it is you have in your mind to become.
Are there going to be any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
As of now, my team and I are planning a few shows so will definitely be announced in the near-future.
Will you come to the U.K. and play this year? Do you like the music coming from over here?
I come to the U.K. at least twice a year. I was recently there in May to perform at The Great Escape Festival. The U.K. always shows so much love, so I enjoy coming out there whenever I can.
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
Touring is on the top of my list. It’s nothing like performing and connecting with people through my music.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
A recent memory would be performing at Selfridge’s Music Matters series. I broke down in tears on stage as I was just overwhelmed with joy. I had just released a new single and it premiered on Billboard and Apple Music. That moment really meant so much to me.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Amerie - All I Have; Glenn Lewis - World Outside My Window and Aaliyah’s self-titled album.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
For starters; make sure you have a solid direction on what it is you want to accomplish. Make goals and go after them.
For me, I always had an idea of what sound I wanted to create but had a hard time articulating that to everyone in the beginning. Music is all about trial and error: I have older songs that I cringe listening to but you need that to grow. It’s like that saying: ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight’.
IN THIS PHOTO: NAO
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
To be honest, even when I’m relaxing I’m still thinking about work. I don’t feel like I’m in a place to fully unwind but I have picked up skateboarding as of recently. It forces me to solely focus on what I’m doing because I don’t wanna fall (laughs).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
GoldLink (ft. April George) - Rough Soul