max stupid in love interview

After “STUPID IN LOVE”: MAX On Music Writing, Creativity, And Collaborations

We're not over you, MAX.

“My musical inspiration always comes from my wife, always.”

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So, you’ve probably had MAX’s catchy tune STUPID IN LOVE on repeat. Thanks to TikTok, his collaboration with Huh Yunjin has been everywhere lately. But did you know there’s more to this pop sensation than just viral status? ICYMI, behind the visuals and captivating lyrics lies a deep well of inspiration—his wonderful wife.

In a chat with NYLON Manila while he was in the country for a series of mall shows and appearances, we dive deep into MAX’s creative process, his approach to songwriting, and what lies ahead for this singer-songwriter. If you’re ready, scroll through the stories behind the artist who’s taken the world by storm.

What drives your passion for music, and how did you first get started in the industry?

“I grew up in New York, and I did a lot of busking in the streets and stuff like that—I remember playing the ukulele, and that’s what got me started. To say the least, I kept on playing and performing, and I still feel like that kid.”

As a singer-songwriter, what do you believe sets you apart as an artist in the music industry?

“I guess I’m trying to remain humble and live in the moment as much as possible, and I hope that it comes through in my music.”

You’ve been in the industry for decades. What was the moment you realized that you ‘made it‘ as an artist?

“I mentioned that I got to perform at Madison Square Garden, and that’s the place for me in New York. It was for my team, the Knicks. I did the halftime show and the anthem. After that, they put me courtside, which was a dream for me from the beginning. Then, one of the artists came up to me and said, ‘That was a good anthem.’ Yeah, all of that together felt like my ‘made it’ moment.”

Can you walk us through your typical creative process when writing and composing music?

“It comes in so many different ways, but the most common one for me is having a voice note with inspirational ideas. I’ll think of a title, and then I’ll start singing that note, which I call ‘nuggets.’ These nuggets of ideas, I bring to the studio to see which ones we can expand upon. For example, with Blueberry Eyes, I had this title in mind because my wife has beautiful blue eyes, and I built the song from there.”

Can you share some insights into your musical influences and how they have shaped your sound?

“My musical influences have been Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, and many other incredible songwriters—individuals who were vulnerable. Being in this industry, you’ll find people who love you and some who don’t, so I simply admire those who stay true to themselves.”

How do you balance staying true to your artistic vision while also appealing to a larger audience?

“Like those who inspire me, I try to be myself. Some people will hate it, but it is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway. I feel like that’s the only balance for me. When people do end up loving my music, they’ll realize that what they see is what they get.”

STUPID IN LOVE has gained immense popularity globally. What do you think sets this track apart from your previous work?

“It’s always been so much fun; I’ve always loved this song. Not everybody I worked with necessarily heard this song, but there’s something so unapologetic about it. The core of this story takes place during the time when I got engaged in four months and married in nine. That’s it—we’re stupid in love, and it’s crazy.”

You’ve previously collaborated with Suga for Blueberry Eyes, and now with Huh Yunjin for STUPID IN LOVE. How have your collaborations with these artists influenced your perspective on music collaboration in general?

“I’ve always loved collaborating. I’ve learned that being authentic and building that friendship is crucial because if it’s not there, the audience will always be able to tell. You can’t just throw people into a song without any connection. With that said, it doesn’t matter how big the artist is; you just have to make sure that you connect as humans and hope that the music connects as well.”

Can you share any personal anecdotes or stories behind some of your favorite songs?

“The new song with Huh Yunjin for STUPID IN LOVE has been so much fun. She just met my wife for the first time the other night, and they instantly hit it off. It was really cool for me because it was nice to see them wanting to become best friends.

If you didn’t know, I wrote this song for my wife, and it’s been incredible working with Yunjin to make this possible. Seeing them bond now? It’s beautiful.”

Apart from these collaborations, what do you enjoy most about being a musician, and what are some challenges you’ve faced in your career?

“I want my music to never get old for people. Some have even used it in their own weddings, and the fact that these songs mean something to them, even if they don’t realize it’s my song sometimes, is amazing to me.

On the other hand, despite the challenges where some people won’t like you, that shouldn’t stop me from making music for those who will love it—it’s something I continue to work on as an artist.”

Looking ahead, what artistic goals do you hope to achieve in the future?

“I’m really loving co-writing and co-producing with other artists, and of course, continuing to write my own songs as much as I can.”

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