English singer/songwriter Mae Muller is on top of the world. Her track ‘Better Days’, a collaboration with Swedish collective NEIKED, American rapper Polo G and, most recently, Latin American superstar J Balvin has been riding high on charts across the world, soundtracking millions of TikToks by teenagers and creators across the globe.

It has allowed Muller to travel the world, and dream of tours of both north and south America. Not bad for a woman from Kentish town who, until 2019, was working checkouts at American Apparel in London town.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Muller admits of the past two months, “It’s been a lot of fun and I feel how I felt when I first started doing music. Everything is new, it’s exciting, you don’t know where it could go and so many more doors are beginning to open. You lose sight of the excitement sometimes”.

Mae Muller performing in The Academy. Photos by Nicholas O’Donnell.

Essential Listening

  • Better Days

“I don’t think you can ever expect something like this, but for me it felt different,” she adds of ‘Better Days’ success, “It felt like a step up and an elevated version of what I was doing before. I had a great feeling but you never know, then we got Polo on the track and I went ‘interesting, this could go somewhere’ but still you never know.

“When it was released, the first few weeks were very quiet and then overnight it skyrocketed and we weren’t ready for it, especially in the US, so we all have to spring into action”

Mae Muller grew up surrounded by artists and creativity. Born in the Highgate region of North London, her mother works as a costume designer for theatres across the city and her aunt is a music video director.

“I had a huge privilege of being around creative people,” Muller recalls of her youth, “Being around that energy, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Even before I got in front of the camera, being around that energy I thrived and I was very lucky to have that”.

Muller would spend afternoons as a runner on music videos for artists such as Labrinth, whom she once made tea for out of a polystyrene cup (“it was my claim to fame for a long time”) before going to the theatre to see her mother’s latest work.

During this time, she would find herself scribbling lyrics on the back of her workbooks. Recently, she found one of her diaries from when she was 10 years old, where she had scribbled potential lyrics to a rewritten version of Florence and The Machine’s ‘My Boys Builds Coffins’.

“It was about having a boyfriend who turns into a werewolf,” Muller laughs, “it was the most Florence and The Machine thing ever”.

At 19, whilst working in a pub in London, she realised she wasn’t feeling fulfilled in life, and committed to giving music a shot. “I just didn’t have the confidence or the know-how to start,” Muller admits of the delayed start to her music career,

“I didn’t know how to get in, and the thought of trying was too much for me. But then it got to the point where I just thought ‘What’s the worst that could happen” and I put a song out on SoundCloud and that was really the kick I needed”.

She released her first song, ‘Close’, in 2018 with the help of a friend who happened to have Logic Pro. She quickly built a following, posting both covers and originals on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Before long, management had got involved and within a year she signed a publishing deal. “That was a real penny-drop moment, because that’s when I was able to commit and leave the pub,” she notes. “It was the dream, being able to be an artist and concentrate on my music, it was everything I ever wanted”.

2019 saw her release three singles, ‘Leave It Out’, ‘Anticlimax’ and ‘Dick’ and her debut album, Chapter 1. 2019 also saw her invited on the UK leg of Little Mix’s LM5 tour.

“That was the best time ever,” Muller smiles, “We did 32 shows, all sold-out, all arenas and it was great to be able to see those girls perform every night and the work ethic they put into it; but now every stage after that feels so small. It made me way more confident and assured in myself”.

“Performing to an arena full of people who didn’t come to see you is tough, but you just had to go out and have fun” she adds, “I gained so many fans that way, I had the best time and I gained so much confidence from it”.

“It’s been a lot of fun and I feel how I felt when I first started doing music. Everything is new, it’s exciting!"

Before lockdown, Muller managed to complete her own UK headline tour, but upon completion found going from adrenaline-filled nights of performing to singing to her iPhone difficult.

I kept busy, did performances from home, wrote, created as much as I could but at the same time I’m an artist, I need help with even the simple thing of recording vocals, I just missed having that support there,” she admits,I learned so much, but I don’t want to do it again”.

With the world and touring opportunities returning, Muller has a busy 2022 ahead. With shows scheduled for New York and Los Angeles, as well as dates in the UK and Dublin coming up in April; it’s going to be back to business for an artist determined to leave her mark.

It’s an exciting time,” Muller smiles, “I can’t wait to be back”.

Mae Muller plays The Academy on 21st April. Tickets are available here.

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