Mae Krell discusses their music, photography, and other creative endeavors


As if their debut EP wasn’t enough to set them apart from other teens, Mae Krell also photographed for Rolling Stone, toured the world, and used their creative skills to promote other artists.  Taking a two year break from music, the Brooklyn-based artist returned at the beginning of 2020 to release even more songs that speak to generations, each track pulling in over 500,000 streams.  Ahead of the release of their delicate new single, “colorblind,” we had the pleasure of chatting with Mae about their many endeavors, and learned about some other very cool creatives in the process.   

Photo by Caro Hallock

Melodic Mag:  On your YouTube, I see you have a cover of The 1975’s “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America.”  What made you want to cover that song?
Mae:  When it first released, I had been feeling super uninspired.  I remember hearing the track and just having a holy sh*t moment — I spent my teen years loving The 1975; I saw them play three years in a row at the same venue and a handful of other times as well.  Hearing that song, especially with Phoebe Bridgers on the backing vocal, was something that really inspired me and I just decided to make a little cover!

MM:  At 22, you already have accomplished so much, from photographing for Rolling Stone, starting Tongue Tied and Bitch mgmt, and releasing your own music.  Did you always aspire to work in so many different creative fields?
Mae:  That’s so nice of you to say!  It’s weird to hear because I often don’t see myself as accomplished at all.  I definitely didn’t think I would end up involved in anything relating to music, though!  My whole life has been a big series of “what ifs?” and somehow a lot of those have worked out.

MM:  Your new release, “colorblind,” was a quarantine project.  What was it like working remotely with Jakob Leventhal and creating such a powerful, intimate track?
Mae:  Jakob is probably the most talented person I have ever met, and he’s also so kind.  We technically met over quarantine too, so we’ve only seen each other once in person, which is wild!  We went back and forth a lot during the creation of “colorblind,” partially because it was the first track we made together, and partially because of the connection I had to it.  I was very picky with my vocals as well, which I’m grateful didn’t drive Jakob too crazy.

MM:  Are these singles leading up to something big, like an EP or album?
Mae:  An EP, I think!  That’s the plan as of right now.  There will be another single in August too!

Photo by Caro Hallock

MM:  I read that when you release songs, you accept that they are not yours anymore.  Does this mean that you never listen back to anything after it goes out?
Mae:  I occasionally do!  My friends and I sometimes listen to my old songs from my EP Anabasis as a joke.  Before gigs, I’ll listen to them as well to refresh my brain on the recording and how I want to cut and edit it in my head to fit a live show.

MM:  What has been the most exciting project to work on, be it a photo assignment, an artist you’ve promoted, a song you’ve recorded…?
Mae:  “Exciting” is a very specific feeling for me, so I’d say it was definitely shooting for Rolling Stone for the first time.  I was only 17 years old, which is unreal looking back, and I met one of my best friends at that festival too!  (She’s an unreal photographer as well, Sarah Midkiff.) 

MM:  What advice would you give to kids out there who might have the same dreams and ambitions as you?
Mae:  Living in the “what if?” mindset can easily sway to a negative space.  Take your self-judgement out of it.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Maybe you’ll fail, and if you do, you’ll learn from it. If it works out and you do a good job, that could change your life and outlook overnight.  Someone who I was around when I was younger would always say that all it takes to do anything is “five seconds of insane courage.”  Once I commit to something, I don’t pull out no matter what, so all I have to do is take that momentary courage to commit and see what happens!

Photo by Caro Hallock

MM:  I commend you for being able to “go there” with your music and let out thoughts that might be a bit too scary or delicate.  Is it easier to put these thoughts into your music than just speaking them out loud?
Mae:  Yes, for sure!  That said though, I am a pretty open book as well, so it’s kind of a paradox in a way.  If you ask and actually want to know, I’ll definitely tell you.  Otherwise, I’ll just write a song about it.

MM:  Your music videos have a home video quality to them, and feature your family and friends.  Do they like being involved in your projects?
Mae:  Totally.  My friend Caro Hallock works with me on absolutely all my visuals, and she is also involved in videos, both being in them and helping edit them.  In general, my friends are kind of chill with it; not necessarily super into it or against it.  They know that music is super important to me and that’s what I’m pursuing, so they want to help as much as they can.

MM:  Any final thoughts or comments?
Mae:  Thank you so much for having me!!  If you want to follow me on socials and chat/keep up, I’d love that!!  All my social handles are @maekrell 🙂 x

Photo by Caro Hallock

Thank you so, so much Mae!  We are very much looking forward to your new single in August, as well as that new EP! 

You can listen to “colorblind” on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with Mae Krell:  Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Website


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