October 8, 2019
Tune-In Tuesdays #39: On Becoming and Being Maggie Schneider
“Don’t Tell Me” by Maggie Schneider banner-sized coverSource: Maggie Schneider
The effervescent Atlanta-based pop-rock artist Maggie Schneider embraces her inner flare and ignites with self-love in her latest single, “Don’t Tell Me.”
On Sunday, we spoke to Schneider via telephone to learn more about what her sparked journey through self discovery, both musically and personally.
On your website, it states that you were “raised by music.” Could you expand on that a little bit? Did you sing or play any instruments during your childhood?
I have been singing for as long as I can remember. When I was four years old, I would sing “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, all of the Disney princess songs and everything with my little Barbie karaoke machine for my parents.
I started in musical theatre around that time, as well, and my first production was in “Annie.”
When I entered middle school, I began begging my parents for a guitar and lessons. They said they would love for me to take guitar lessons, but I would have to commit for a year.
I took five years of guitar lessons and then taught myself how to play piano throughout that time.
I definitely feel like I’ve been raised by music in so many ways. It’s been an outlet for me to express everything I go through.
What genres of music did you listen to growing up? How has your taste in music evolved over time?
Maggie Schneider lays on red carpet with roses and vinyl recordsSource: Maggie Schneider
I started listening to what my mom put on in the car; it was everything from Bon Jovi to The Go-Gos to Pink. I’ve always loved pop-rock music.
When I started listening to more music on my own, I was heavily inspired by Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, and The Jonas Brothers – essentially the entire Disney Channel era of pop-rock music.
As I grew up, I fell in love with pop-punk and bands like All Time Low as well as My Chemical Romance. I’ve listened to so many things, but I think my mom sharing more stuff on the rock end with girl bands or fun pop-rock songs inspired me to keep listening to that [genre].
In 2016, you kicked off your career and began performing on stage. What inspired you to launch you to pursue music professionally?
I’m a big believer in fate and things happening for a reason. I always loved to perform, but I saw it as more of a hobby or something I did after school.
One day I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that my favorite venue in Atlanta, The Masquerade, posted on their page that they needed a local opener for an artist named Allison Weiss. She’s an awesome, indie singer-songwriter and I was already a fan of hers at the time.
I looked to my mom and I said, “Hey, maybe I should submit to open for Allison Weiss. They’re looking for somebody.” and she said, “Why not!”
I sent an email blindly. I had maybe 30 likes on my Facebook page with super dated pictures and nothing on iTunes yet. I didn’t really have anything to show, but I sent one video to the booker there.
He said, “Hey can you play 30 minutes of originals and could you sell tickets?” I told him I could do both of those things.
[The booker] took a chance on me on that show. I invited all of my friends to come so it was a packed house.
That was the moment where I thought, “Wow, I can actually do this,” and not just as a hobby. [I saw that] I could grow as an artist and have the opportunity to share my music with a lot more people. It was such a good show.
The next week the venue asked me to open for another band. It all kinda went down from there, but I feel like it was a fated event.
What was your first show like? Could you tell us about the vibe at the venue or the size of the crowd?
It was very welcoming. I was super young at the time – and I’m still young, but I was a young teenager walking into The Masquerade.
They are some of the most amazing and kind people I have ever met.
When I walked in, I immediately felt at home. I was greeted by the sound guy and people who had seen me going to concerts there for years. It was such a nice and kind environment, I felt comfortable playing there.
There are three rooms in The Masquerade and [my first show] was in Purgatory, which is the smallest one. There were about 50 or 60 people there, which is really awesome. I was so excited about [the crowd] as a first official show. Having family and friends there made everything even more fun and comfortable.
I didn’t get nervous and I don’t get nervous when I perform now, either. I think that has to do with being a performer for such a long time in theatre and already having my feet wet on stage with having people watch me sing and what not.
It was a great night all around, no nerves, so I feel super lucky.
“Don’t Tell Me” is a powerful, beautiful track all about self-expression and embracing who you really are. What was your journey to self discovery like?
I’ve been fortunate to be very supported by my friends and family, but there have always been times where I didn’t feel completely understood. Whether it’s as an artist or young woman, I’ve also had people tell me, “Oh, you shouldn’t be doing this.” I’ve been told I should be a certain kind of artist or to go in particular direction with my work.
The song was created while I was up late at night thinking about these things; people telling me what to do, what kind of artist I should be, what kind of music I should put out.
These random lyrics and phrases started popping into my head, so I grabbed my iPhone and started writing them down in my notes because I was so upset and angry about these things that were being said to me.
The next day, I came up with the line, “Don’t tell me who to be” while I was driving back home from school.
“Don’t Tell Me” by Maggie Schneider coverSource: Maggie Schneider
I wrote the song in two hours, which doesn’t usually happen for me. I usually collaborate with a lot of other people.
Being reminded of those times where I didn’t feel understood by people in the industry or past friends and relationships really allowed me to write this song. Now it’s my goal to finally inspire others with it.
The music video for “Don’t Tell Me” features snippets of Google Searches and comments online that really drive home the message of the single. How do you respond to criticisms or comparisons?
Music video for “Don’t Tell Me” by Maggie SchneiderSource: Don’t Tell Me (Official Music Video) | Maggie Schneider
It’s so difficult with comparisons. For the majority of the time, when someone is comparing your work to another person’s it’s a very positive thing.
I’m very fortunate that a lot of people tell me I sound like Hayley Williams from Paramore. It’s a huge compliment to me because Paramore is one of my biggest influences and [Williams] has done so much for women in rock music.
At the same time, the artists want to be understood for their originality and individual creativity.
Luckily I’ve been compared to people I’m inspired by, but I hope for the future – and especially with women in music – that we can continue growing and appreciating the new work that comes out.
What would you say are some of the biggest keys to obtaining and maintaining self-love?
Maggie Schneider sits on a wooden crate under the heads of rosesSource: Maggie Schneider
For me, it’s all about taking time for yourself and first making sure that you’re doing what you love. To fully love ourselves and be who we are, we need to be in an environment that we feel safe in and we need to be doing what we really want to. Music has always been that outlet for me.
I’ve grown up and felt supported because of music, my friends, and my family. It’s important to spend time with yourself and your loved ones.
I’d also say make sure you have a healthy relationship with social media and using it positively. Social media only shows a glimpse or snippet of someone’s actual life and everyone goes through things.
Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you definitely helps with self image and finding happiness.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
To find my voice and be a bit stronger in specific relationships and situations. I’m confident and I can defend my friends or family very easily, but it can be hard for me to defend myself sometimes – in both professional and personal situations.
I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to express your feelings or value yourself enough to tell someone, “You’re not treating me right,” or “You’re really hurting my feelings.” It’s okay to not just stay silent and keep your feelings bottled up.
With “Don’t Tell Me,” that was my release. I put all of the things I had left unsaid down on paper to finally get off of my chest.
Going forward, what’s next for you, Maggie? Does this single perhaps allude to the release of another EP or an album?
Banner for Maggie Schneider’s “Cluttered Heart”Source: Maggie Schneider
I will say it alludes to a full-length and I am so excited about it! We really perfected and recorded it for six or seven months this passed year.
I have ten songs ready to go and I plan on releasing a second single very soon. I plan on continuing to put new music out there and inspiring people because that’s ultimately my goal.
You also have a show coming up at The Imurj in North Carolina. Are you excited? Who else will be onstage with you that night?
I am so excited! We’re playing alongside Capstan and a band from North Carolina called propersleep. It’s also emo night as the birthday show for a promotion company called “Emo Raleigh.” They promote concerts and tours that come into the area, but they also do fun emo nights.
Tyler Carter of Issues will be DJing, as well. I am a huge Issues fan and he’s a really kind person. I got to meet him a few weeks ago so I can’t wait to share the stage with him as well as the other bands.
I love traveling and playing shows so it’s gonna be a fun one.
With the new year right around the corner, what are your goals and aspirations for 2020?
For 2020 I’m hoping the full-length will be released. I am also planning on touring and traveling more to play my music. I have a little bit already: I played in New Orleans with my band back in July. We’ve also played in New York, Nashville, and a few other cities.
I want to travel and share my music with more people, I want to continue creating inspiring pieces of content. I’m even thinking about working on a podcast that’s semi-inspired by the songs on my record and themed around relationships as well as other topics.
I’m always trying new things and finding new ways to be creative. Continuing to think outside the box is the big goal.
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