Maisie Peters: “I hope that everyone comes away having watched someone have the time of their life.” (3/11 at TLA)

21-year-old British singer/songwriter and popstar-on-the-rise Maisie Peters just kicked off her completely sold-out, first-ever US tour…  Last year saw the release of Peters’ debut LP, You Signed Up For...

21-year-old British singer/songwriter and popstar-on-the-rise Maisie Peters just kicked off her completely sold-out, first-ever US tour…  Last year saw the release of Peters’ debut LP, You Signed Up For This, on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records.  The full-length follows up a plethora of singles and EPs that she has been releasing since 2017.  The album — an ineffably charmingly and ineffably earnest commentary on young love and teendom, not dissimilar to Kate Nash’s brilliant debut, Made of Bricks — has earned her appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Kelly Clarkson Show, and garnered praise from the likes of Clash, who said the debut, “might just be the perfect heartbreak album,” and People, who proclaimed, “Maisie Peters says she wants to make ‘trying hard’ cool and we are totally here for it.”  Maisie Peters will be bringing her live show to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection next Friday, 3/11, when she headlines Theatre of Living Arts (with support from Jonah Kagen, who should also definitely be on your radar.)  Last Friday Maisie and I got the chance to chat via Zoom, where she told me about just how amazingly cool all of this is.

Izzy Cihak: Your debut LP, You Signed Up For This, dropped last summer.  Have you had any favorite reactions to it?

Maisie Peters: Every single one!  It’s always such a novelty when people react and tell you their favorite lyrics or their favorite moments, because you spend so long on it, and then every time someone does you have a brief moment of, “Oh, my god, I can’t believe you heard that.”  A really sweet girl, whose name is Caitlin – I can’t remember her surname, but I should find it after this – did this YouTube reaction series to my album.  It was a proper long form video.  It was so sweet.  It was like 20 minutes long, but I watched the whole thing.  It may be really narcissistic, but I loved her reaction.

Izzy: How do you feel like the album compares to your earlier EPs and singles?

Maisie: It definitely feels like a natural progression from those.  When I was making my earlier EPs I was like 17 or 18 or 19.  I think that my album just feels like a more confident, fully-formed version of the person who made those EPs.  I think that, to me, it just feels like a very natural endpoint of that era of my life.

Izzy: Do you currently have a favorite album track, whether one that you’re most proud of, one that’s especially fun to play live, or one that might signal the direction of your future sounds?

Maisie: The one for me that’s the most fun to play live – I mean, I love all of them – but I love “Brooklyn,” which is a song I wrote about my sister, and we play this like really fun guitar solo in it live, which my guitar player plays.  But I love the song and I’m so excited to play it.  I’m going on tour in America on Sunday and I’m so excited to play it there because I think it’s just going to be especially cool, especially in New York.  Since I wrote that song in 2020 I’ve been excited to play it in New York.

Izzy: Recently I’ve been trying to avoid asking musicians about their biggest musical influences and, instead, ask them about their favorite albums.  So, what are some of your favorite albums, whether thing you grew up loving, or things you’ve become obsessed with more recently?

Maisie: That’s such a great question.  I love that.  It’s so much more fun.  The first thing that really comes to mind is Alright, Still by Lily Allen, who I was obsessed with growing up.  I mean, I’d throw in a Taylor Swift album because she’s my idol, and so I’ll throw in Red because the rerelease has been wonderful.  God, there are so many albums that I love, that I listen to all the time.  I mean, I loved the new Kacey Musgraves album; I thought it was amazing.  She’s one of my biggest inspirations.  I love them all.  I love Pageant Material.  I think that’s an amazing one.  I love Christian Lee Hutson, who has got an album called Beginners and I love it so much.  It’s not an album, but I’m deeply, deeply, deeply obsessed with the new Jack Harlow song.  I just think it’s the best thing in the whole world, and the other day I was on the bus and I just listened to the whole thing and waited to the end and I’d do it again.

Izzy: You’ve already made a pretty huge splash and earned a lot of fans, despite the fact that you’re still relatively young, so I’m curious if you think there’s anything that is especially important for fans to know about you?

Maisie: I would hope that everyone would know how much I just truly, truly love music.  And that’s why I’m in it and that’s the only reason I’ll ever be in it.  I just care so deeply about music – my own and other people’s – and I have since I was 13 or 12.  I truly write every song as if it should be the best song in the whole world, and I don’t want to settle for anything else.  There’s just so much of myself in my music.  That’s what I would hope people know.

Izzy: I realize this is a really huge question, but what have been some of the biggest personal highlights of your musical career so far?

Maisie: This is an impossible question.  Normally it’s about the people you’re with.  For me, it’s stuff like – it’s kind of namedropping – getting to work with and form such an amazing relationship with Ed Sheeran, which has been truly amazing, because I grew up listening to his music, it was so formative to me.  And, similarly, I worked with James Bay on a song for a soundtrack I did.  Actually, another highlight was making a soundtrack to a TV series called Trying.  It was just a really big milestone for me, and I was really proud of what came out of it, and I really achieved a lot there.  But, specifically, working with James.  I went to see his show when I was like 15, in Brighton, with my mom, and I’ve always been such a fan, and getting to work with him on that project and get to know him and then do James Cordon with him, and he’s just truly, truly the nicest, most talented man, like Ed.  That was a real highlight.

Izzy: Yeah, your music has already wound up in a lot of cool places.  Is there anywhere you dream of your music one day winding up?

Maisie: Such a fun question!  I would love to get the chance to be part of like a Disney film.  I grew up on those and I think those are so cool.  I’d really love to get more into TV and film.  It’s so interesting and such a cool way to sort of channel what I do into something that’s not necessarily about what I do, if that makes sense.  I just had such a good time making it and it really pushed me in the best ways, and I loved the people that I got to meet and the parts of myself that I used to do it.  And I would love to do that again, be it for film or TV or whatever it is.

Izzy: You’re about to kick off a big US headlining tour, followed by a massive European tour with Ed Sheeran.  Are there any dates you’re especially excited to play, or any cities that you’re especially excited to visit?

Maisie: I mean, so many, my goodness.  With America, I’m so excited to get back to New York – I love it there – but I’m really excited to visit places I’ve never been, like Minnesota and Salt Lake City, just off the top of my head.  I think that’s just so cool, getting to visit places you wouldn’t normally go to.  And then with Europe, every where’s gonna be incredible, but I love Dublin and I haven’t been for a long, long time and I’m super excited to go back.

Izzy: You’re going to be playing here in Philadelphia in the near future at the TLA.  What can be expected of the live show?

Maisie: I’ve always been so passionate about live shows, feeling like that person that’s performing is having fun, and having the time of their life, and I really am.  So, I guess I hope that everyone comes away having watched someone have the time of their life, and hopefully they have the time of their life.

Izzy: You’re going to be joined on your US tour by Jonah Kagen, of whom I’m also a fan.  What are your thoughts on his music?  Are you excited to get to spend some time on the road with him and get to see his set every night?

Maisie: I am!  Jonah and I have never met, but we’ve been texting ever since he joined the tour.  We exchanged numbers and have been texting.  I texted him a few days ago and was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re actually going!”  I love his music.  I think he’s so talented, oh my God.  I think he’s just incredible and his guitar playing’s incredible and he seems like a sweetheart, so I’m very excited to spend much living space with him over the next month.

Izzy: Finally, in addition to your music, you also have a really amazing sense of fashion, so I’m curious what that draws inspiration from.  Do you have any particular “style icons?”

Maisie: That’s so fun.  I don’t know.  I would say, “No.”  I like to be comfortable, but I like it to feel fun.  I think especially in the past month or so, going forward with these tour fits that I’m bringing, there’s definitely a little bit of a Blondie look going on.  I’m going a little bit Rock N’ Roll for the fun, a little bit trashy in the best way.  I’m 21 and I like to have a good time, but I also like to be comfortable when I’m not afraid something’s going to rip or fall down.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.