Do it for you and because you love it, not for anyone else and what they might want — If you’re creating music and putting it out because you love it, and your motivation is internal, you’re always going to be grateful and at the end of the day, successful in certain ways as well. It’s much easier to be a happy person, or at least feel fulfilled if you’re grateful and focused on what matters to you.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mae Krell.
Mae Krell is a singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. At just 22 years old, Mae exudes a musicality wise beyond their years, writing soft, folk-pop songs that intimately reflect on trauma, self-love, and personal truths. In addition to their artist career, Mae has worn many different hats in the music industry, photographing live music for Rolling Stone and Sony RCA, founding the online music publication Tongue Tied Magazine and, most recently, starting Bitch Mgmt, a multimedia marketing and PR company.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me! I grew up in New York City with three younger siblings. My parents are both immigrants, so it was definitely a bit of a chaotic household, but I loved it.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I went to my first concert ever when I was 14. My friends and I were waiting outside and were offered free tickets, and that moment changed my life forever. I remember being there and realizing that I wanted to do that. I wanted to make music that made people feel something and I wanted to be on stage.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I don’t necessarily know if interesting is the right word, but putting together and performing a DIY tour was quite an experience. It was definitely the most fun and chaotic thing I’ve ever done.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m not really sure! Probably just how much I let fear and anxiety hold me back. That’s not necessarily funny, I just can’t think of any truly funny things!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
New music! I’ve been working with my friend and frequent collaborator Jakob Leventhal and it is so wonderful. Working with him on the music that i’ve been writing lately has been so exciting and amazing.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Fear is in your head — I’m definitely someone who holds onto fear and lets it consume my thoughts. It’s comfortable and something that I’m absolutely used to and, at the same time, it’s so useless and hurtful to your thought process and existence. Put it on a shelf and move on, what’s the worst that can happen?
- There’s no loss in trying — The media portrays art and making art as something that is only successful if you make money or reach a certain point of fame. I guess that’s true in some people’s perspectives, but that can also be very discouraging to people who just love art and music and want to try to pursue it. There’s no loss in deciding that you love something and you’re going to chase that dream. You’re going to learn, meet wonderful people, and hopefully enjoy yourself along the way, which is enough on its own.
- Part-time work yields part-time results, full-time work yields full-time results — This one is kind of obvious, but when you’re a musician who is self-funded and independent, this also means that you have a job that isn’t music at all times. Maybe two, maybe three, maybe some side gigs outside your full-time job as well. It’s difficult and exhausting and I don’t think people acknowledge that enough. With all of that said, what you do with your music outside of that is what matters. If you can only put in a small number of hours, you’re going to likely advance slower. That’s okay too, but just be conscious of that in your expectations.
- Working with your friends can be difficult, but it’s always well worth it — As an independent artist that doesn’t come from a financial background that can support my music, that means working on your own and with friends. It can be tiring, and sometimes people get annoyed and there’s conflict, but at the end of the day working with my friends is a big part of why I love doing this so much.
- Do it for you and because you love it, not for anyone else and what they might want — If you’re creating music and putting it out because you love it, and your motivation is internal, you’re always going to be grateful and at the end of the day, successful in certain ways as well. It’s much easier to be a happy person, or at least feel fulfilled if you’re grateful and focused on what matters to you.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Be patient and kind with yourself!! It’s much better for you and your health and everyone who loves you if you’re working at a pace that’s realistic and steady rather than putting your everything into things for a short period of time and then burning out your relationships and yourself in that process. Nothing is worth losing or hurting the people you love, especially a career goal. It won’t mean anything when you reach it if the people who believed in you most aren’t there to experience it with you.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It’s crazy to me that you think that — thank you! Kindness, gratitude and resilience can get you through life. When I was in the worst place a couple of years ago and people would say that I would want to tell them to shut up…but it really is true!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dad. I know that’s so typical to say but he’s been so supportive. It took a bit for him to process that I’m actually going to do this, but once it hit he’s been my biggest fan. He’s at every gig he can be at, filming videos and sending them to my family overseas and anyone else who asks. He tells me that I’m doing a good job when I think I’m not and reminds me of why I do this when I forget.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If I could start my life over, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner”
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I’m a big fan of Noah Kahan’s songwriting. I would love to meet him and be able to learn more about him and his process.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you! Super appreciate your time and support of my music!