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Pop Girls Takeover Interview: Max Marshall

One part aspiring fashion designer, one part rapturously received pop vocalist; to say that London-via-Baltimore’s Max Marshall is perfect for Notion would be an understatement. She oozes style and has sublime tunes to boot. In the latest instalment of our Pop Girls Takeover Week, below you can read the full transcript of Rob Copsey’s Notion 065 interview with Max. But first, here’s her über-groovesome debut single, ‘Don’t Trip‘:

PlanetNotion: One of the comments on YouTube about your latest single ‘Don’t Trip’ says: ‘Rihanna would cry to see you’. Do you agree?
Max Marshall: Oh my God! That’s funny. I’m pleased people are liking the track – they seem to be getting the vibes I was trying to portray. It’s about me being young and living in London and doing lots of different things.

PN: The song feels very ‘90s-inspired. Who do you love from that era?
MM: Mariah Carey was a definite standout. ‘Butterfly’ is probably my favourite of hers. It’s a big tune but it’s got this moody thing going on.

PN: You moved to London when you were 18 and have since moved all over the city. Where do you feel most at home?
MM: I think in East London. It’s just got a great vibe going on!

PN: You’re originally from Baltimore, which is big on R&B. Do you feel a close affinity with it or have you adopted a more London sound?
MM: I try and go more with the UK style. R&B is huge in Baltimore, but it’s not developed enough for people to understand. I want to make sure everyone’s going to ‘get’ my music. That said, I try and sneak some R&B grooves in there!

PN: Your parents were very musically orientated; was there any other option than embark on a music career?
MM: To be honest I’m kind of the rebel child of the family. I’m the last of six girls and I learnt that it’s important to do what you love. I started out in fashion, which wasn’t the most promising start for me from my family’s point of view. I’ve always wanted to do music, so I decided to get my plan B – fashion – in place first so I could go and follow my dreams.

PN: When did you write your first song and what was it about?
MM: I wrote my first song when I was 15. I think it was called ‘The Right One’ and it was about a boy. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16, so it was all a figment of my imagination. I was so young and naive, I didn’t know what I was talking about. The second song I ever wrote was called ‘Wake Up’ and I’m actually going to be performing that at my live shows. It’s one of my earliest songs but it still has an important meaning today.

PN: We hear you also made some clothes for Lady Gaga?
MM: I started working with Charlie Le Mindu making wigs and costumes for Lady Gaga. I was 18 when I started there and it was quite a mad thing to be thrown into. It was an amazing opportunity for me.

PN: Does fashion and strong visuals play a big part in your music?
MM: When I write it’s important I also see the visuals in my head. It definitely helps push along the whole songwriting process. I try and think deeper about everyday things we do or see, rather than focusing on how much I love or hate someone. You can definitely draw inspiration from, say, a dark image of a girl in a magazine wearing a stripper outfit and six-inch Prada heels.

- Interview by Rob Copsey

Photo: Elliott Morgan

You can read the full write-up of Rob’s interview with Max in Notion 065, available for purchase here.

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