With ‘The Good Witch’ Maisie Peters is coming into her power
The singer-songwriter discusses her “obsessive and confident” second album and why it’s cool to care
image Alice Moitié
words Megan Wallace
Since snapping up an Atlantic deal aged 17 off the back of two self-released singles, Maisie Peters has been quietly reshaping the sound of UK pop. Peters’ tenderly felt lyrics are confessional, theatrical and put the intricacies of human emotion on blast. These are songs to listen to on repeat while you ruminate over an ex or revel in the joys of first love, the tracks you’d cue up for the soundtrack of your life: if your life involves rooibos tea, too many tote bags and maintaining a text correspondence with your former boyfriend's mum.
While comparisons to her long-time idol Taylor Swift seem only natural, her music benefits from a uniquely Gen Z feel. And for younger generations struggling with the weight of growing up in an overwhelming world, the pull of Peters’ introspective songwriting has been magnetic. Her first album, released on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records, debuted at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart and was the best-selling album in indie record stores that week. She’s also a heavy hitter on social media, where she’s amassed over 530,000 TikTok followers - both due to her sound and her candidly self-deprecating videos.
And the 23-year-old’s followers will have plenty to chew over this week with the release of her sophomore album The Good Witch. Documenting all the exquisite pain of unrequited love in unflinching detail, she’s summed it up (on TikTok ofc) as the perfect pairing for “delusional, deranged girl summers, where you’ll all be upset over someone who wouldn’t flinch if you got strapped to a train track”. It’s all terrifyingly relatable.
Ahead of the album’s release, we speak to the musician about growing up in the spotlight, writing music for lover girls and why being “obsessed” isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Are you a morning person?
Um, I’m not too bad.
How do you start your mornings?
Right now I'm on tour so I woke up on the tour bus. I had a drink of rooibos tea with a little bit of milk and a little bit of honey and I ate a crumpet. I chatted to everybody, got my morning gossip and now I’m talking to you.
Morning gossip is very important, that’s the only sustenance I need. So, let’s dive in: how are you feeling about the album coming out? Are you nervous? Are you really busy doing all the promo? What's the vibe?
I don't know, really. I'm trying to not think about it too much and not get too stressed or overwhelmed by the idea of it actually coming out. But I'm excited. I'm really proud of this album and I'm excited to play it and to tour it and to be in a new era of my career and to enter that with my fans.
How would you describe this era?
I would say it’s obsessive and confident. There's probably been growth from this album compared to my previous album. I've changed a lot as a person and I've experienced a lot more.
Why do you say “obsessive”? I feel like that’s normally considered to have quite negative connotations, are you trying to reclaim it from those associations?
I mean, I joke that one of the most common words on the album is “man”.
Wow, I love
I think obsessive is a good word to describe how I felt when I was writing. I was going over the same timeline over and over and over again. But I think that’s sort of sweet in a roundabout way and interesting, it just shows you really cared. I think it's good to be proud of caring even if it didn't go the way you wanted it to. You have all these feelings and you’re not able to put them where you want to put them. You have to sort of divert it all and put it into the music instead. To me, it’s an album of love and feeling and care and obviously that's what I was feeling [when I wrote the songs].
I was listening to 'The Good Witch' a lot before this interview and I was thinking that it’s an album for lover girls.
Oh my God, I’m thrilled by that.
Do you write with a target audience, or a specific person, in mind?
I have a little bit at the start of my shows where I'll say something like, “I write music for the girls with too many tote bags, the girls who failed their driving test multiple times, the delusional girls”. But, really, my music is for anybody. There’s no requirements. There's no qualifications. It’s for anyone who loves music and who loves lyrics. I’ll take anyone in.
Obsessed with the idea of a dad in his mid fifties listening to your new album and being like, “this slaps.”
They’re welcome to, I love that.
And what are your fans like when you meet them? Are they obsessed? Do they have too many tote bags?
They’re a little feral, which I love. The majority are just so sweet and considerate. I’m so lucky that they’re like the nicest people ever.
Do you have a name for your fans?
I mean, there's several names floating around, I've never really come down on one or the other. My fans were calling themselves daisies, once upon a time, a long time ago. But yeah…they can have whatever they want.
Are you sure? If you could pick one, though, what would it be?
No, listen, I don't want to make my decision. Because I want them to feel free to choose.
Anyway, you’re obviously a romantic: what would your ideal date be?
Honestly, I like the pub, like a British pub. Maybe to your favourite pub and take me on your favourite walk around your city. Surprise me!
And what was the process for writing all these poetic, hopelessly romantic songs? Are you a Notes app girly?
I am a Notes app girly and a Google Docs girly. I'm a big fan of both and I’ve also got a notebook I will journal in occasionally. The full album was written between those three. I’m pretty fast when I decide upon an idea, I tend to do it all in a day. I just get it down and build upon an initial idea that's probably somewhere in my Notes. I have a long list of ideas on my Notes App and I tend to draw from that a lot.
What do you think makes a good song?
I think you have to believe it. You have to believe that whoever’s singing it, means it.
Earlier, you mentioned this idea of progression from your first album to this album in terms of having had more life experience .Do you mostly draw from life or do you fictionalise things? And do you think that your songwriting will progress as you get older?
As I've gotten older I’ve definitely drawn more and more from my own life and my own experiences, but I don't know if that will stay. You know, that was this album for sure. But I wouldn't ever say that I can be definite about how the next one will turn out or the next one after that. I'm just inspired by whatever’s inspired me at the time. Recently that's been my own life, but who knows what that will be in the future.
For a large part of your career, there's been a lot of hype around how young you are, which I can imagine is kind of annoying. Has growing up in the public eye been difficult?
Yeah, for sure. A lot is expected of you, a multitude of things that feel contradictory, and it's your job to be a million different things for a lot of different people. I guess I wouldn't change that because I'm very lucky to do what I do and to have gotten to where I've gotten. So it's one of the things you have to take in your stride. I'm lucky to have a strong support network.
So, final question: what do you hope the new album gives to the fans?
They've had my previous album for two years now and I hope that this is a new body of work that they can make their own and pour themselves into and find favourite songs within.
Actually, that’s not the final question. We still have like thirty seconds left, let’s make it count. I’m going to use my time wisely and do some hard-hitting journalism: do you eat at McDonald's? And if so, what is your McDonald's order?
I do. I would only really eat there if I'm really, really drunk and I’d order a cheeseburger and fries and maybe I would share some chicken nuggets with someone.
Thank you for that very important intel.
You’re very welcome.
Maisie Peters’ second album The Good Witch’ is released on 23 June. Maisie Peters will be performing live dates across the country as part of a UK tour in October and November. Tickets are available at her website
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