The first thing Mae Muller does when Music Week drops in on her first headline tour is dish out some sage advice. “Maybe you should get a pedicure, honestly, it’s a very nice experience,” she says. And if Muller is chilled during our conversation, it’s because she’s right in the middle of one, preparing for a gig in Berlin. “The shows have been amazing,” she smiles. “It’s really surreal, looking out at all these people and thinking, ‘I can’t believe they’ve bought tickets’. It’s mad.”
The 21-year-old Londoner, who opened on Little Mix’s arena run last year and is becoming notorious for fiery pop bangers such as current single Therapist, was particularly blown away by her date at Heaven. “I feel very grateful,” she says. “Talking to fans is the most important thing, I never want to seem like an unattainable, far away thing. I want to it to feel very intimate.” Before shows, you’ll find Muller wandering around the queue chatting to her public, and conversations range from friendly nattering to full on DMCs. “A lot of them thank me for helping them get through certain things, which is surreal. I’ve had a few crying fans recently, that’s definitely a new experience,” she says.
I don’t really hear anything quite like me around right now
All of this matters to Muller because it’s exactly what she was seeking out as a teenager, seeking solace in music. She found it in Laura Marling, Florence + The Machine and her mum’s Sade records, but she wanted more. “A lot of the time it’s really hard to say how you feel, especially when you’re a bit younger. I make music I wish I could have listened to when I was 15 or 16, so when people respond in that way I just feel really happy,” she says. “I want this to be more than just music, more than songs. It’s a big responsibility; making music you know is going to help people. I take it seriously; these are people’s lives that you’re talking them through. It sounds quite crazy but it’s true, that’s how they listen to it.”
Muller’s been on the rise for a little while (check out last year’s Chapter 1 project for a flavour of her bright and airy sound), but it’s only now that she feels ready to fly. “I find it quite difficult to give myself a pat on the back and I always compare myself to other people and other artists,” she explains. “I’m sure a lot of people do, but it’s quite difficult. To someone else, I might be doing so well, but to me I feel like I could be doing better. It’s an on-going thing, but if I concentrate on my goals and achievements, I’ll be fine.”
Her glut of recent live activity has helped no end. The Little Mix shows taught the singer how to own a huge stage (“It was a real confidence builder, and we went out on the town a few nights”), while her headline run has helped cement self-belief. “A lot of times I haven’t really stuck up for myself in ways that I wish I had. Now I’ve got music, I write about things that I wish I had dealt with before,” she says. “It’s an armour for me, a protection. I’m not always this confident, sassy person, but when I’m on stage I really feel it. I’m untouchable and it’s an amazing feeling.”
All of which means we can expect to hear much more for Mae Muller. “I know there’s a space for me, I don’t really hear anything quite like me around right now,” she grins. “I’ll be quite a nice little addition to the pop world.”