THE terrific Maike…
has been talking to me about her new single, Paradise, and how it came to be. I ask her if she feels settled in London – she is German-born – and whether more material is coming; a couple of albums that mean a lot to her – she reveals whether there are plans for touring in the future.
Maike tells me about her experiences in the U.S. and how music came into her life; what advice she would give to new artists emerging; her favourite moment from her career so far – she ends the interview by selecting a great Lana Del Rey song.
Hi, Maike. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey (smiles). I’m really great, thank you. My week has been great. I’ve just got back from a few beach days in the Netherlands, which was naiice…
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey, everyone. Thanks for reading this and getting to know me a little better (smiles). I am a London-based singer-songwriter and I love writing my own tunes - which I describe as commercial, hooky and storytelling Pop music backed up by big music production. I just released my latest single called Paradise which is out on all streaming platforms - including a music video that was premiered by VEVO on YouTube.
Paradise is your new single. Can you reveal its story and background?
Paradise is a song I wrote three years ago, actually. I wrote it about a relationship I was in back then; a relationship that came with expiration date and was doomed to fail. I went for it despite all the warning signs and pretended it would last forever. In the songwriting, I used a metaphorical and German-inspired phenomenon called ‘Geisterfahrer’. It means ‘An individual who drives going the wrong direction on a highway; often with headlights turned off at night; usually thrill-seeking, drunk or suicidal’. I loved that term so much that I wanted to portray that feeling in the song and use this specific car ride as the main image of the song.
What do you have planned for the future? Might we see more material coming?
Hell, yeah; absolutely! I have two more single releases planned for this year and am sitting on quite a lot of finished material for months to come also. The future is looking bright as so many things are planned. I am currently planning the next music video shoot for a Hallowe’en release and couldn’t be more excited.
You are German-born but studied in the U.S. You are now based in London. Do you feel settled and in your true home here?
That’s a great question and something I’ve been thinking about a lot. To answer the question, I can say that I now feel more at home than I ever felt in London. I had a rough beginning moving here, living with strangers; hitting college, getting myself into the British music scene and not knowing anyone.
Today, three years later I have built important contacts; great working relationships and found the love of my life, also. Ideally, I would have a home base in the U.K. and then fly to different countries and cities regularly for ‘work’. So, I guess I am quite flexible when it comes to feeling home and grounded.
How was your time in the U.S.? Does the music scene differ there to London in many ways?
It was incredible! I had the best time and was impressed by their lifestyle and how friendly and open Americans were. I was very young back then and think that my character and personality was influenced strongly through my experiences in the U.S. The music scene over there does differ to our approaches in London for sure. To name one significant observation; I felt was that people still had a little more time and patience when it came to collaborations.
I worked in many home studios with producers and songwriters who simply wanted to create something cool together regardless of how much money they could profit from you. I also found that there was never that much of a rush or time limit as I experience a lot when working with people over here in the U.K.
Do you recall when you got into music? Which artists did you grow up around?
Yes, indeed. I started playing the piano from the age of four - not that I was very good or something but it certainly does open your mind to music in general. I recall listening to nothing but Pop music growing up and annoyed my family with those “High and annoying Pop voices” - such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera - all the time.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I would like to build my fanbase more till the end of 2018…and get serious industry attention.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Hmmm, yes; for sure! That would be a memory of working with Adi Yeshaya on my very first single release in 2014. Adi worked alongside Prince for many years as his song arranger and it was an absolute pleasure to work with him in the studio and get to know him personally.
Which two albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
I’m a massive Taylor Swift fan; so her album 1989 is one of my all-time favourites as her lyrics speak to me and, over the years, I managed to fill every single song of that album with my own personal stories. I love to analyse Taylor’s writing in all ways as she is, in my opinion, one of the best songwriters in the world.
Charlie Puth also really became a guilty pleasure of mine and his most recent album release, Voicenotes, is beautifully crafted and a great blend of different styles like Jazz, R&B and Pop that I love listening to.
How important is it being on stage and playing? Is it possible to describe the emotions you feel when connecting with fans in the audience?
In the past, my focus has been more on writing, producing and promoting my music. From late-September onwards, my gigging and performance period is gonna kick in properly. From previous gigs, I can say that playing is a wonderful and raw way to tell your stories and it’s the most amazing feeling when the audience looks at you; listens and connects with you through the performance. It has something intimate to me when people come to you after a gig and share that they can relate to your writings and melodies - and that I’ve been able to put in words what they can’t.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Try to achieve as many skills as you can. From my experience, things turn out way better when you’re able to do them yourself rather than giving them in other people’s hands.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Funny enough, I don’t really like to unwind much. I give myself small breaks like hanging out with friends or watching a movie but, other than that, my head is always switched on in ‘creater mood’.
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).
Oh yeahiii; please do! That’d be National Anthem by Lana Del Rey (which is my current jam).