Matilda Mann, a singer-songwriter born in the heart of London, is leaving an indelible mark in the world of music. Her poignant lyrics coupled with a timeless sonic appeal set her apart, as evident in her recent EP, You Look Like You Can’t Swim. Known for weaving emotion-laden narratives into her songs, Mann invites listeners on an intimate journey as she explores the complexities of the human condition. From falling in love to wrestling with self-doubt, her songs touch upon universal experiences that resonate deeply with her audience.
Drawing from folk inspirations early in her career, Mann reveals an intriguing evolution in her sound, experimenting with different genres and collaborating with a multitude of musicians and producers. “I’ve had such an urge to create a small group of songs that feel so simple, vulnerable, romantic, and emotional. The kind of songs I would’ve dreamed to make and release when I was 16,” she confesses. Her latest work, filled with vulnerable honesty and emotive storytelling, is a testament to her journey as an artist.
The opening track, bearing the project’s name, lures listeners in with the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar, making way for Mann’s dulcet tones. The narrative unfolds, revealing the protagonist’s struggles with anxiety and self-worth, evoking feelings of empathy and connection. Further down the EP, the song “In Plain Sight” delights with a heartwarming tale of hidden love revealed, while “Margaux” delves into the aching absence of a lost love. “If Only” accentuates the desire for acceptance and belonging, adding another facet to Mann’s multi-dimensional musical universe.
The finale, “The Day That I Met You,” presents a perfect blend of nostalgic yearning and honest revelation. A gentle melody frames the profound lyrics, inviting listeners to ponder on their personal narratives of love and forgiveness. Mann’s songs serve as a balm for weary hearts and a reminder of the healing power of music.
Throughout her career, Matilda Mann has proven her gift for capturing the human experience in the form of soulful ballads. Below, we chat with the singer about the project, her current internet obsessions, and songwriting.
Hey Matilda! Congratulations on your new EP, You Look Like You Can’t Swim. Now that it’s been out for a bit, how do you feel?
Excited to play them live! I would love to perform them with a string quartet, it’s one of my dreams! I think it would create such a magical atmosphere hearing them with the arrangement.
Is there a song you’re most proud of? Why?
I wrote The Day That I Met You by myself at home, and I hadn’t really done that in a while. I think I worry that I need someone to spark my creativity and help me write songs, but sometimes I just need to commit to sitting down and finishing a song alone. It’s also the first time I’ve had a string arrangement in a song, and that was a big thing for me, hehe.
Lyrically, songs like “The Day That I Met You” and “Margaux” cover so much – has writing been a cathartic thing for you processing the past few years?
Music’s always been an interesting way to figure out how I feel. Sometimes I don’t know I’m feeling a certain way until I start writing a song.
Where do you find it easiest to write? Are you someone that needs to be out of their comfort zone to seek inspiration, or are you most productive in the ease of a studio?
I find it impossible to write in a booked studio. Like one you have to pay for, because I immediately feel all the pressure, and every word in the world disappears from my brain ahah.
I love being in people’s home studios, with big windows and their gardens. A lot of my inspiration comes from watching movies or going to see live gigs. Ideas and thoughts constantly come up.
You previously mentioned that these five songs are the foundation of you as a songwriter. However, how did you come up with the EP’s title?
In all honesty, I discovered the saying, “You look like you can’t swim” as a joke. You would say to someone as a slight insult. I think it’s kind of just a metaphor for saying you look like you’re not capable of doing something, and I think that’s how I view myself in a lot of situations.
I guess it’s about not letting your thoughts get to you.
I feel like music is really powerful, and elements such as when and where someone discovers a song are really crucial. For you, what’s your dream scenario for someone hearing your song or being introduced to you as an artist?
I love walking while listening to music, especially when I don’t have somewhere to be. Just walking somewhere pretty, maybe after seeing friends.
But I also think there’s a lot of emotion when you hear a song in a soundtrack. It gives it a new boost of life in the watcher’s eyes.
Out of curiosity, what’s your current weirdest internet obsession at the moment?
Watching a movie in 20 short clips on TikTok…
To wrap things up, is there a message that you would like to deliver to your fans regarding this current chapter of your career?
I think this moment is just a peaceful time. There’s a lot I’m working on right now for next year, and I’m so excited to try different styles and discover ways of performing them live.