“I got called a benign dictator once,” Maisie Peters tells Apple Music about how the Brighton singer-songwriter’s collaborators might describe working with her. “I’ll carry that to the grave. I do lead the room, but I am also very happy to be flexible and to compromise. They’re my songs at the end of the day. So I dictate. I shout at the people who can actually use Logic and stomp my tiny feet.” The self-styled “first lady of emo girl pop” is on the sort of trajectory that could survive an actual dictatorial studio moment. This EP, her second, is a deliciously catchy showcase for a self-deprecating pop songwriter. “I’m not really a hype person,” she says. “When we wrote the chorus for ‘This Is On You,’ I was just like, ‘Yeah, that’s good. That definitely correct. Let’s move on.’ I write such emotional songs and I’m using the word ‘correct’ to describe the joy of songwriting. I’m just a steady studio person, I suppose.” Allow Maisie to take you through her process with a track-by-track guide to her breakout EP.
This Is On You “This is an important song to me, and to other people, it seems. I think it’s a good reminder that you’re not responsible for other people’s happiness. Women, especially, are often left to feel that they should have tried harder. That whole ‘So, maybe this person isn’t good for me, but they really need me—only me—right now’ thing. I think it’s good to have a song where the message is, ‘No, you tried your best and now give up. Stop.’ At gigs, I often see people swearing into the sky at their ex-boyfriends, but lots of people think it’s about friendships, which I think is also really cool.”
Adore You “A lovely two-chord bop. I wrote this with my friend Fred [Gibson—UK songwriter and producer] at the end of 2018. We started it one day, went to have our Christmas dinner, then finished it on the second day. You know, it’s funny: I love talking about my music, but some songs are really just not that deep. And this song is not that deep. But saying, ‘I adore you, I adore you’ is important to do sometimes, and it’s super fun to do live.”
Take Care of Yourself “Good story for this one, actually. I’d had a weird few months and gone out the night before we wrote this and got horrendously drunk by accident. I discovered the morning after that I had taken an Uber from the train station to my road and then another Uber from somewhere on my road to my actual front door. I woke up horrifically hungover and went to see my friend James [Earp, UK songwriter and producer] on the hottest day of the year. This became a song to myself, from myself. On one hand, it is a beautiful, gentle song about kindness in the modern world, but on the other, it is also a little bit about my fucking hangover on the hottest day of the year.”
April Showers “So, I was writing with my friends Amy [Allen, US songwriter] and Ben [Ash, UK songwriter and producer known as Two Inch Punch] and declared I wanted to write a song called ‘April Showers.’ We sat on that, thinking for a minute before Amy said, ‘This is totally ridiculous, but what if it was someone called April was having a shower?’ Naturally, I loved the idea. I mean, I don’t have an ex who’s got a new girlfriend called April, and I’ve never been to their house and I’ve never watched them take a shower, but the joy of songwriting is getting to invent these mad things. I wrote the Jack Nicholson line very much off the cuff, by the way. I’ve not even seen The Shining because I’m too scared of horror films.”
Look at Me Now “Most of these songs were written with old friends, but I did this one with a very Northern 50-year-old songwriter called Steve Robson and Rory Adams, a crazy enthusiastic puppy dog of an 18-year-old Australian. We met for the first time and the first thing I did, while very ill, was suggest the opening line about my iPod. Rory was like, ‘Nobody has an iPod anymore, Maisie. Do you even own an iPod?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do, Rory. And it rhymes. So allow it.’ To be honest, I had almost forgotten about this track, even after we redid the production to turn it into a sad bop. For various reasons it then resurfaced, but even then I was adamant it wasn’t going on the EP. Literally everyone I work with told me I should, I relented, and now it’s one of our faves. So, as ever, the moral of my stories is: ‘Don’t listen to Maisie. She is usually wrong. Listen to other people.’”
Personal Best “A song I loved at the time and still love. I actually had to fight for this one. I did it with the lovely Oh Wonder—they’re my musical mum and dad. I love them with all my heart. We wrote this together, but a lot of people didn’t quite hear it, or get it. So I kept pushing for it to get finished, and we executed it a little different and won the naysayers round.”