With her brand of psychedelic pop, mazie is bringing freshness, as well as a hidden sense of maturity.
The Venn diagram of classical music and psychedelic pop are as close as two magnets. But in the millimeter that these two circles touch is a young musician whose unique brand of pop has been captivating the world. And her name is mazie. This Baltimore native first got her taste of music when she was exposed to and studied jazz and classical music when she was young. But going down the classical route was not in mazie’s destiny as inside her was the talent to deliver alt-pop that is both wholly unique yet comforting at the same time.
Her multilayered, psychedelic twist on pop first landed on the ears of listeners when she dropped her debut single, no friends, in 2020. It’s been a steady rise since with her biggest moment yet happening last year when her track, dumb dumb, rocketed up the viral charts thanks to its short but memorable inclusion in Netflix’s Do Revenge. And now that her debut album, blotter baby, is out for the world to enjoy, mazie and her creative vision have arguably reached a new creative high as the LP traverses decades of psychedelic rock influences to meet mazie’s brazen and fatalistic lyricism.
NYLON Manila had the chance to speak with the rising alt-pop act where, fittingly, she was getting ready to watch an episode of The Last Of Us. But before that, the 23 year old opened up about her roots, the trappings of going viral, and much more.
You started out learning classical music. But then here you are now with your very interesting take on pop music. So how did that change come about?
I think it came about just through college and sort of being on my own and experimenting and listening to more like secular music as soon as I left high school.
Would you see just like a specific point in your life that made you decide, ‘oh, this is the kind of music I want to make.’?
It really ebbed and flowed over the last three years. It’s changing all the time. But I would say, when I had like, my 20th birthday, I feel like we changed the sound that summer. And we made the song no friends, which was my first song. So, that totally changed the direction of like the project.
How different would you say mazie is from Grace?
I would say that they’re very much one in the same at this point. When I first came up with mazie when I was 15, I was very different. Like, it was my alter ego, she was way more confident. And I feel that now they’re very aligned.
And how did the persona of mazie come about?
I just really dislike my name, my birth name. And I was looking for something just like a little cooler. And it’s actually my great grandmother’s name. So, it’s nice to be able to, like carry on her honor. And yeah, and it was just way cooler.
You got your start during the pandemic, a lot of people got to know you your music, because it was very relatable during that time. But now that the world’s been opening up a bit more, how are you hoping to evolve your music now is that you get to see your fans in person?
I think it’s just with touring, honestly, like being able to do a headline tour for myself for the next year or so. So yeah, just being able to like meet people out on the road. That would be amazing.
When you dropped no friends in 2020, that really got your start. But a big moment for you last year was releasing dumb dumb, especially when it was featured on Do Revenge, and then it became viral on TikTok and all that. So, first of all, did you know it was going to be in the movie?
I did. They had emailed me like almost half a year before the movie came out, asking for permission to use the song, but I had no idea it was gonna have like, whatever the feedback they got, or the response.
What was your reaction to everybody using the song and being all over social media?
It was the most surreal experience I’ve ever had just like casually scrolling through my own like For You Page on TikTok and seeing people use the sound it was crazy.
And then seeing yourself go viral like that did like did that like in a way change the way you approach to music?
It’s in two parts. So, the first is that thank God it was a song like dumb dumb that went viral because I released a year before it went viral. I think it gave like, the validation that I’m on the right track with the stuff that I’m making, even if it doesn’t get the response right away.
And second, is that going viral sets a very unrealistic standard so I knew that was happening like, I just knew I had to like, kind of put it in a box and be like, this can happen again. But is it going to happen the next time? Probably not. So, I’ve tried to be like, as good as I can about setting realistic expectations with every release since I’m done.
So, has that like changed the way you approached using social media?
It’s definitely made it a little difficult just because for me. TikTok was always a tool to convey my artistry and to show my music to the world. And I guess I get nervous to be like, associated as like a TikTok artist, which is actually okay. But I don’t feel that that’s the type of artist I am. So, it’s interesting to navigate. I wish I had a sturdier answer, but I’m figuring it out.
How does it feel to have your debut album, blotter baby, your first full body of work, out for the world to enjoy?
It’s really exciting. Usually, I’m really anxious around releases, but I just am so proud of this record. Like I put an entire year of my life into it. I worked so hard on it. And I just get excited every time I listen to it.
And how different was the process on working on this album, as compared to the rainbow cassette?
Oh my God could not be more different. We did not want to recreate the creative process that we had. Because it was just a little disorganized and chaotic. So, we really wanted to be like songwriter focused and just artistically focused on this record. We really took our time.
You mentioned the creative process. A lot of the music you make, you do it with Elie Rizk. In the creative space, sometimes people like to say, don’t work with your friends, because it can be very stressful. But clearly, you to go along so well. So what’s it like getting to work with him?
It is a dream come true. It’s really amazing when it makes it way easier when your partner is like a genius. I really believe that he is a creative genius. And we just happen to be neighbors growing up, which is even more insane. There’s so much like, emotional intimacy and genuineness that’s in the room all the time, because we have an eight year long history working together. So, it’s incredible. It’s like the safest space. It’s so great.
When you look back on how you started out in Baltimore, to where you are now, do you ever realize just how far you’ve come?
Sometimes it’s weird working in the music industry, because you can have like these moments like I did last year where I hit all these like benchmarks that I’ve been wanting to meet, but then it shows you how far you’ve come. And then you look up and like, oh my god, I have so much farther to go. So sometimes I am. I’m working on it. I’m trying to be more in the moment and happy but sometimes that feeling comes up.
So aside from the new album, what are your goals for 2023? What are you hoping to achieve for the rest of the year?
I think above all else, touring. That’s all I want to do. I want to bring this album out on the road. That’s like my favorite part of the job is being able to play shows. (Side note: Following the interview, mazie announced that she was going on tour with Rebecca Black.)
In your opinion, what do you think is the best time in place to play your music?
Oh. I would say either you’re driving in your car by yourself and you’re paying attention or it’s like late at night and you want to put something on. Maybe you’ve had like a little drink? I don’t know. But you’re feeling a little silly and you want to listen to it late at night.
Continue Reading: How New Friends Went From Four College Students To Rising Alt-Pop Band