As the excitement intensifies, anticipation thickens the air for alt-pop starlet Maggie Andrew‘s blistering new single, “Better Than You.”
Embracing a blend of punk defiance and pop sophistication, Andrew crafts an empowering anthem for the mavericks, heartily indulging in self-praise amid life’s naysayers. The song buzzes with kinetic energy, her singular vocals delivering a potent statement—she may be unconventional, but she’s inarguably superior to her dismissive past lovers.
Switching smoothly between a gentle float and a sharp sting, Andrew exercises an artistry that mirrors her resilience. “Better Than You” unfolds as a sizzling testament to her assertive persona, with each line landing like a defiant punch. This self-assured approach is punctuated by bold lyrics that likely wouldn’t pass the lips in regular conversation, adding to her compelling authenticity: “Your favorite band is Walk Off The Earth, and I wish that you would,” she wickedly asserts. “I’d push you off the edge if I could.”
This in-your-face anthem is the result of a creative collaboration with fellow Nova Scotians Carleton Stone and Willie Stratton, and arrives hot on the trail of “Biting Ice Cream,” a vibrant track that expertly marries sunny pop melodies with sensual R&B undercurrents and daring verses. Andrew’s musical explorations always teeter on the edge of genres, marrying the familiar with the unexpected to create sounds that refuse to be boxed in.
Ahead, we chat with Maggie Andrew about everything from her path to her current standing, the creative process behind her unique tracks, her evolving sense of style, and much more.
First and foremost, can you walk us through your childhood and what eventually led you to this point?
Ahhhh, my childhood. I am the youngest of five and the only girl. Ever since I can remember, I loved music and standing out. Shout out to Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, and Miley Cyrus. I got bullied in school for my outfits because other kids thought they were “weird” or “strange,” but I didn’t care.
I tried out for a talent show in junior high, and the teacher told me I wasn’t good enough, I was molested by my father growing up and left home when I was 17. When I was 18 I wrote a song and I showed it to my brother Trevor who was just moving from New York to LA at the time, and he immediately responded, “Yo, you need to come out here and record this.” So I took that opportunity, and he flew me to LA for the first time and the rest is history.
That song never was released, but my brother took me to Yeti Beats’ studio in LA and we spent the whole night talking, recording and in those moments, I just knew that this was where I needed to be. It was so therapeutic, I dropped out of university to pursue music. I’ve never been able to imagine a life for myself where I wasn’t doing something creative. Every time someone made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, I used it as motivation to do exactly what they said I couldn’t.
If I didn’t experience trauma and pain of the magnitude I did, I wouldn’t have found my voice, I truly accredit everyone who has ever wronged me or hurt me because I really wouldn’t be here doing this without any of them. To let them see me fail would make them win, and I just keep pushing to keep winning.
Your new single, “Better Than You,” came out a few days ago — how are you feeling about the release? And can you tell me a bit about the track?
I’m so excited! This song means a lot to me for a few reasons. I parted ways with my record label last year to become independent, and although I’ve released two other songs since, this song in particular, has helped me feel like me again. From the artwork and photoshoot to the writing—all of the decisions and creative direction were mine.
I wrote “Better Than You” with two of my absolute best friends, Carleton Stone and Willie Stratton—who are two incredible artists on their own; to get in the room and make something so fun and free with no boundaries was really special to me. We wrote this song in a castle, and I will say that a million times because it was so cool.
On top of the amazing humans I wrote it with, Corey Lerue and Carleton produced the song, Willie played all of the guitars, and Sara Eve, one of the most badass female bassists around, played the bass—this song has pieces of people I love and look up to all over it. While the lyrics might be jarring and spiteful—behind all of that was a lot of laughter and amazing collaboration that I couldn’t be more grateful for.
In terms of self-discovery and experimenting musically, what goes through your head when you’re making records these days? What was the creative process like?
When I’m alone and just messing around lyrically, I find that I can get deeper with myself because nobody is around to hear some of the insane things I say. I like when nothing is going through my head and I just turn on the mic and record. Those are where I’ve gotten some of my best lyrics because they happened in a moment of realness. My creative process changes all the time, I find ways to adapt to whatever situation I’m put in. I love experimenting, just going where the creativity takes me.
The creative process for “Better Than You” was really different, considering the night before, I was screaming like a screamo queen and ended up losing my voice. When I got into the session with Carleton and Willie, I knew my singing voice was out of order for the day, but I could still yell. I was like, “Let’s make something where I can yell and jump around,” so we got started,
Willie played a guitar riff and we started talking and throughout our conversation, the first verse was written. When we got to the chorus, things got extra fun. Although it was stupid of me—if I didn’t lose my voice, I probably wouldn’t have discovered this rockstar version of myself.
You’re an alt-pop aficionado of sorts, reinventing and adding your own spin to some hidden gems of yesteryear as we saw in “Biting Ice Cream.” Going back to that release, what’s your favorite part about it and why did you choose to follow-up so quickly with another single?
First things first, thank you for that compliment, haha! “Biting Ice Cream” was such a fun one! I wrote that in one of my favorite places in the world: California. I really loved blurring the lines singing, rapping, and allowing myself the space to express myself from a more confident perspective. It was time for a new song because keeping up with the momentum is important but I’m also working toward finally putting out a full project.
Let’s talk about art and fashion direction. Especially as you’ve been growing into your artistry and coming further along in womanhood, how would you describe your style?
Describe it? Garbage glam? I love baggy oversized clothes and sneakers but I also love dressing up. One thing that stays consistent is confidence, no matter what I’m wearing. My glam team Michaela Jessome and Chantal Collin always make sure my makeup and hair are on point, though.
Are there any particular brands or designers that you keep in rotation or would love to work with?
I think a lot of stuff is mostly on the feet. I’m a sucker for a good sneaker. Reebok, Nike, Converse, Vans. My older brother Trevor is a designer, “The Real Buy”—I keep that in rotation ALWAYS!
If I could collaborate with any brands, I would love to work with Converse or Reebok to design my own shoes. As a woman with bigger feet, it’s often hard to find shoes in my size that are cute so I would love to have the opportunity to do something to bridge that gap. Someday I would really love to work with Versace.
How about your tattoos—you obviously have quite a lot! Are they all for aesthetic or do some of them have any deeper meanings?
I have three tattoos in memory of my best friend Ash Riser, who passed away. They’re his handwriting from a letter he wrote me and they say “something special” and “cherish every moment.” The other is a butterfly on the back of my arm because right after he passed there was a butterfly that just kept flying around me and wouldn’t leave me alone, so I always thought it was him.
A bunch of my tattoos are actually my brother Trevor’s artwork. He did a collaboration with Gucci Ghost, and in all of the shoe boxes, there was tissue paper with artwork on it, and I got a few of the designs tatted. I guess where they came from means more to me than the tattoos themselves.
And beauty-wise, what’s your skincare routine for flawless skin?
I really don’t do a lot. I try to drink a lot of water, and then to wash my face, I alternate between Tatcha’s Rice Wash and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. I also use Kiehl’s Calendula Toner and then moisturize with Kieh’ls Ultra Facial Cream.
What era is 2023 ushering in for you? What are your hopes for the year ahead?
My 2023 era into forever is just self-love and not giving a f**k what people think. Doing what makes me happy, making what makes me happy, and sharing my art with the world. In the year ahead, I hope to play a lot more shows, maybe do another big collaboration or get a spot on tour with someone bigger than me. Overall just continue putting my all into my music and artistry and finish recording my album!