We met with Maisie at her New York stop to discuss her sold out U.S. tour, her debut album "You Signed Up For This," and her work with Ed Sheeran.
Before she left London for her sold out U.S. tour, Maise Peters dyed her hair blonde. “It was an impulsive decision. I have to say I like it now cause it’s not gonna leave, but I do in fact like it.”
Hair aside, Maisie is not the same artist she was the last time she came to New York. Before the pandemic hit, she embarked on a mini road tour across the nation, performing at a series of intimate venues with her band. In October of 2019, she came to Manhattan.
At first glance, Mercury Lounge resembles all the other pubs in the East Village. But head past the double doors at the end of the bar and you will encounter a gem of a concert room that’s become hugely popular among up-and-comers, including the likes of Clinton Kane, the 502s, and Tai Verdes.
Queuing around the block, handmade signs with Maisie’s name and face flooded the street outside the venue. Back then, she had two EPs out and a few singles, which she belted out to a crowd that was more than enthusiastic to return the gesture. It was packed. It was intimate. It was magic.
“That tour was kind of insane. We were doing all these tiny venues across America,” Maisie recalled. “It was exactly as it should be.”
Hitting the road for her debut album, “You Signed Up for This,” reaches a full circle. Venues have more than tripled in size, and her music has racked up streams in the millions. In retrospective, the past three years represent a lifetime of growth, but I’m quick to learn that Maisie cherishes the present.
“To get to do that tour again, now in these venues is so exciting,” she says with a huge grin.
She is good friends with Klara Söderberg from the Swedish sister duo “First Aid Kit.” When the two got together in Sweden, Maisie admitted to finding a parallel between the evolution of their touring and her own. She said that it feels “like following into their footsteps.”
Although Maisie spends the majority of her time in London, she holds a long distance love affair with New York. From the historic blocks of Harlem to the trendy streets of Brooklyn, her infatuation with the city is quite strong, even to the point it inspired a fan-favorite song.
“I have a song called ‘Brooklyn’ in my album, which ever since I wrote it, two years ago now, I pictured the day I could maybe play it to a crowd in New York,” she said. “I love New York so much. It just feels like a home away from home.”
After getting a call from her twin sister Ellen, our conversation goes deeper into “Brooklyn” and the inspiration behind it. At its core, the song is an ode to her sister, but also to sisterhood in general. While living together during quarantine, the Peters sisters shared a Youtube series titled “Maisie & Ellen Save Your Sad Girl Summer.” Often, Ellen’s name will make an appearance in her lyrics as a testament to the close bond they share.
Our conversation over Zoom is brief, but we get to cover a lot. From her songwriting process to her Instagram book club, Maisie’s life is made of various layers she is delighted to share. She reveals an affinity for coffee shops, and collects special moments in them as she does in local bookstores when she is on tour. We also reminisce about her earlier songs like “Architecture” and “Details” which she wrote as a teenager. She keeps them as mementos of a past life that she’s happy to revisit, but she’s not afraid to admit she’s changed.
One week later, blocks away from Mercury Lounge, fans have begun to congregate outside the iconic Webster Hall. It’s four in the afternoon, which means no one will be able to get inside for a few more hours. Despite the gloomy skies and dropping temperatures, the crowd is only getting bigger. Initially, she was supposed to host the concert at a mid-size venue in Brooklyn. When tickets went on sale, it was clear that her return to the city needed an upgrade.
Inside, Maisie is doing the pre-concert sound check. The vast Grand Ball Room is empty for the exception of Maisie, her band, and the sound crew. Even without spectators in sight, she lights up the stage with her presence.
At the end of “You Signed Up for This,” she waves at us from the stage, a grin plastered on her face. As Maisie loses herself in the next track, Dominique, her tour photographer and close friend, captures her through various lenses: a vintage video recorder, a classic DSLR camera, and even a chunky purple Polaroid. With influences such as Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, the 2000s nostalgia is strong in Maisie’s aesthetic, on and off the stage.
When the sound check wraps up, she tip toes across the lobby, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of the street. Her grin is wide when I tell her people started lining up, even though it’s still daylight.
“It’s insane that I’m here,” she says with both hands on her cheeks. “I have so many memories attached. It’s a really special city to me.”
While Maisie has found muses in cities, her songwriting is rooted on the passage of time. To listen to her songs is to get to know her during a specific point in her life.
She created her first EPs “Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket” and “It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral” between the ages of seventeen and twenty. It was a transitory time where she wrote her way through all the emotions. Songs like “Architecture” and “Worst of You” are master pieces of their own, and while Maisie gives them an important place in her history, her songwriting never stops evolving.
“I’m still so proud of those albums and I feel so deeply connected to them,” she admitted. “I did everything I could ever do with them.”
It is no surprise when she reveals that her debut album “You Signed Up for This” offers a glimpse into who she was last year. It details the natural progression of going from a teenager into adulthood.
“It’s definitely a coming-of-age album, and it feels like in those EPS and singles at the beginning you’re set up to a really beautiful, conclusive moment of that era of my life,” she said.
Not a lot of artists are as honest about their creative process. Most provide an idyllic model of how they create, which is sometimes fabricated for us to praise without questioning. It appears intriguing on the outside, but results bland on the inside. It comes off as mysterious, but reveals nothing at all. And it’s sold as multi-layered, but none are intended for us to peel off.
That’s not the case with Maisie.
If calling her fans “besties” offers any insight, she considers anyone who finds refuge in her songs to be a close confidant. One day she drops a song detailing a past relationship, and the next she’s pulling us along as she confesses a crush on her best friend’s brother through a TikTok. From her first release “Place We Were Made” in 2017 to “Psycho,” the last song she wrote for her album, Maisie’s repertoire honors the evolution of her music.
“The first song and the last song were very deliberate. “You Signed Up for This” I wrote as an opening to an album. I wanted to introduce myself and say exactly where I was in that moment. I was twenty and was upset and didn’t have my drivers license. Now I’m twenty one, not as upset, and I do have a drivers license,” she said. “It described moving to London, and the state of the world. Who I was as a person.”
It is this unique approach to creating music that has earned her a decorated resume. Sarcastic Sounds, James Bay, and JP Saxe are just a few names with whom she has collaborated. Her music has been featured on the big screen in “Birds of Prey” and on TV’s hottest reality show, “Love Island.” This past summer, Maisie announced that she signed with Gingerbread Man Records, Ed Sheeran’s music label.
“She’s a very special artist who continues to push her storytelling in new directions. We had a few great writing sessions together and from there I knew I had to work with her.” Ed said in an official statement when the news hit the internet.
Maisie’s admiration for Ed Sheeran dates back to his OG days of “Lego House” and “The A Team.” Not only does she praise him for his talent, but she considers him to be a dear friend.
With upcoming stops in Nashville, Denver, and Los Angeles, Maisie still has lots of shows left on her U.S. tour. However, she already has plans to hit the road for the entire summer. Through an Instagram post she revealed she’d be touring for a few months with Ed Sheeran. Once her schedule wraps up in Los Angeles, she will have a few weeks off before she is set to open for him in Dublin.
“We’ve been working together for a few years. He’s a mentor to me and a friend,” Maisie said about Ed. “To get the opportunity to play on that tour is so iconic. It’s a privilege to even go, let alone be a part of it.”
We are back in New York for Maisie’s sold out concert. When the opener, Jonah Kagen, leaves the stage, anticipation begins to build up. Signs with Maisie’s face and name have found their way inside, extending from the very front row all the way to the second floor.
As the lights dim and the stage ignites in shades of an electric blue and magenta, the crowd roars with excitement. Maisie’s latest tour diary begins to play on the wall, sparking a wild response among the fans. But the noise does not compare to when she takes over the stage. In the best way possible, every lyric, every note, and every reaction causes a riot.
Once again, she turns a sea of strangers into her close confidants, and trusts us as we cling onto every word. She blankets the room with the same intimacy as she did three years ago, despite the fact that it’s six times the amount of people. Perhaps it’s how she interacts with the audience or the distinctive melodic tune of her voice, but even from a tucked corner on the balcony, I see the same girl who I spoke to on Zoom, who laughed while making silly poses for our cover shoot in the lobby, and who looks just as passionate now as she was when the room sat deserted.
In whatever era Maisie Peters finds herself now, it’s thrilling to know that one day she will let us in on every moment and every detail, just so we can experience the magic of this iconic version of herself all over again.