INTERVIEW: Maisie Peters

Maisie Peters has always engrained a candid vulnerability into her music. With her reflections of heartbreak, love, and the general ups and downs of life, she’s won over a legion of fans who ultimately relate to everything she’s going through. It’s so reassuring knowing that you’re not alone with the things that you’re feeling, and her music is a warm sanctuary of comfort and understanding for so many people. 

From the moment she released her debut single ‘Place We Were Made’ in 2017 she really honed that vulnerable intimacy. From there she’s released her EP’s ‘Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket’, ‘It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral’, and even featured on the Birds Of Prey Soundtrack. Growing her lyrical and artistic identity, she’s excitingly preparing the release of her debut album for later this year. Beginning this new chapter with the cinematic lead single ‘John Hughes Movie’ she has delivered a euphoric main character energy that we should all embrace.

Contrasting the emotions of young love heartbreak where you discover the person you are interested in doesn’t like you back, with an energy of “cause if you don’t want me, then you’re not the one” she takes ownership of her narrative and finds her own worth. It’s a song you can imagine listening to on the way home from a night out with tears in your eyes before breaking out dancing in the middle of the street. I mean… we’ve all done that before, right? 

I recently caught up with Maisie Peters about the creative process behind ‘John Hughes Movie’, crying in public, learning choreography for the first time, and discussed easter eggs in the music video. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: ’John Hughes Movie’ is a euphoric main character pop moment that will have you wanting to breakout dancing in the middle of the street. So can you explain to me how this song creatively came together?

MAISIE PETERS: I wrote this one when I was 17 years old with two great friends of mine; Henrik Michelson and Miranda Cooper. And Miranda actually wrote a lot of the big Sugababes and Girls Aloud songs back in the day, so she’s a big pop icon! We essentially wrote this track about the classic house party when you’re 16 and you turn up and your crush is kissing somebody else. It’s very dramatic, and you walk home to your parents house and you’re having an emotional moment in the rain. It’s midnight and you’re in heels, and you should’ve been in trainers cause that’s what cool girls do, and you feel so silly. So it’s about all of those thoughts in the moment. 

TB: I love that! How long did this track take to come together? 

MP: A long time! Well, the song itself with all the parts you hear were written on the first day we wrote it, but the production and post-chorus took a really long time. We started it in 2017 and it just didn’t feel right to come out so it got parked. So we looked at it again and did an acoustic version, which then still didn’t feel right. I then looked at it again another year later and that’s when I sent it to Afterhrs in LA and they re-lifted the production and took it into 2021. And then it was ready, and then it came out! 

TB: Because you’ve been performing this live for a few years, right? 

MP: I used to play it a lot, but stopped around a year or two ago. I played it a lot when I was on my own in acoustic form, and there’s a video on YouTube of me playing it in a bizarre Scottish library which is a whole other story *laughs*. A lot of my fans and my mum liked it, but it just didn’t feel right to put it out until now. 

TB: “It’s not like I’ve been crying, no. There’s just smoke in my eyes” is a lyric that stands out, cause obviously it’s super relatable. So what inspired this lyric particularly for you? 

MP: So good! I mean this one is really fun as it’s tongue n cheek and it’s like “No, I haven’t been crying, there’s just smoke in my eyes” which I really liked as you could ether imagine the really bad smoke machines that people have at parties, or you could picture the smoking area which would be somebody’s garden. So both images are wonderful and definitely me, so I like that idea. It’s also true because I’m not really a crier, and I’m definitely not a crying in front of people person, so if I was to be crying I would be making every excuse that I wasn’t. 

TB: Well, what has been the most awkward time that you’ve been crying and had to try pretend you weren’t?

MP: Oooh interesting. The one that came to mind was also the most recent time. As you know, I’m trying to pass my drivers test still, and I had this driving instructor who was a sweet guy but… we weren’t really compatible. *Laughs* Not me trying to tactfully talk about my driving instructor in an interview, what is going on *laughs*. Anyway he wouldn’t let me use his car for his driving test one day which is probably for good reason as I did fail the test, but there were a few other things and it all built up and I was on the train going home and I was just sobbing. It’s funny because as I said I’m just not really a crier. 

I was actually talking to my friend Gretta Ray who is an Australian artist, and we were laughing because Gretta was like “I cry every day at like a photo of a bear” and I’m like “babes, I haven’t cried in nine years” *laughs*. But I remember that was the last time I had a big cry because the driving and stress was really getting to me, and I did cry on the train and everyone looked at me and I called my friend and was like “*sobbing* Im so upset”. 

TB: “Cause if you don’t want me, then you’re not the one” is another lyric that stood out and why that stood out is because it had a bit of a hopeful sentiment to it as you actually acknowledged your own worth. We are used to hearing a lot of sad Maisie in the past, so was this important for you to make sure you shared with listeners? 

MP: Yes, absolutely! I think the song is sad but then you have that kicker lyric at the end which spins it. It’s funny because I think it was ahead of it’s time for 2017, and also ahead of my time as a 17 year old as it’s a big sentence, and I don’t think I’ve retained that. 

“If you don’t want me, then you’re not the one” is a great thing, and I’m almost surprised at myself. But yeah, it’s so true and I’m really surprised that 17 year old me had the thought process to do that. I think people have latched onto that sentiment, and if there’s one thing I would like to say to my fans then that might me up there. If they don’t want you then I cannot express how much they are not the right person for you, because that is the bare minimum *laughs*. 

TB: The music video for ‘John Hughes Movie’ sees you doing some choreography in a cheerleading scene at the end. How was the experience of learning choreo for this video, as this is the first time we’ve really seen you doing choreo in a video. Are you a natural dancer? 

MP: No, I’m not a natural dancer. I’ve always refused to dance in music videos, like, I’ve never wanted to do it, and I will never do it. But then with this one I really wanted cheerleaders, and I’m one of those people who are quite good at not thinking about things until I absolutely have to which is a real talent of mine. I’m almost an under thinker in many miraculous ways. With this cheerleading I didn’t really clock that I was going to have to do it as it was my idea, because otherwise I would’ve said no. 

So on the day when I got to rehearsals I hadn’t seen this dance, I hadn’t danced in years… if ever, and I had never learnt choreography like that. So I was completely blind and terrified. I have always loved choreographed music videos like Beyonce’s as they are so iconic and I’ve always wanted to do something like that. But the first 10 minutes of learning choreography was an absolute shit show. None of us girls bar one were dancers so it was absolute chaos. I was like “I made a mistake, this is terrible”. But it ended up getting better, we rehearsed it, and it turned out really good. 

TB: It looked like so much fun! I was like she’s having her ‘You Belong With Me’ moment!

MP: I am! Thrilling!

TB: By now the whole internet knows that you’re a Taylor Swift stan, and something she loves to do is put easter eggs in videos. So is there some easter eggs in the music video that relate to MP1?

MP: They do, I may talk about it a little bit *laughs*. This is a difficult question because I don’t want to say yes or no, but I will say this as I’ve seen so many fans talk about it, and it breaks my heart a bit as they really think I’m that smart, but I’m not. But there a poster about space and a t-shirt called Hannibal Care and they are not easter eggs, I’m sorry! I hate seeing the immense brain power of all these fans, like that guy in the meme with the whiteboard with all the equations, trying to solve it, but I just liked them. 

Maybe there are other easter eggs in the video, maybe, I cannot confirm or deny, but those two are not. 

TB: Okay, well we will revisit this question a few months time then and get to the bottom of it…

MP: Yes, absolutely!

TB: At the moment Taylor is re-recording her back catalogue, and she’s recording them very close to the originals. But if you were able to re-record one of your old songs and release it, what song would you choose and why?

MP: Oooh, let me think! …..Honestly, no. I can’t think of any song that has come out where I immediately was like “I wish I changed that”. I mean, that’s a really cool thing too as I’m really proud of everything I’ve released, and I’d happily still sing all of them live. 

‘John Hughes Movie’ is out now!