Photo Credit: Lauren Engel
Music is an emotional experience. We listen to our favorite songs and we have a strong emotional reaction to it. Everyone reading this has a song they listen to that instantly cheers them up, or a sad track when they need a good cry. We often think about music in terms of our own emotional reactions, which makes sense considering we’re the ones who are feeling something when we listen. There’s another person in this equation, though. The artist who wrote the song is also a real, actual human being. They were the ones who went through the intense emotions you hear coming through the speakers. An artist does not owe their listeners an inside look into their lives, but some do pull back the curtain a bit to give fans a peek into their emotional journey. Maggie Lindemann tears the entire curtain down. The LA resident and pop artist has already spent years dropping singles like “Pretty Girl” that touch on her own emotional states. Whether on social media or through her songs, Lindemann wants everyone to know exactly what she’s feeling.
As 2018 winds to a close and I speak with Lindemann on the phone, her current state of mind is “busy.” In just the last few weeks she’s released two new singles, “Human” and “Would I?” alongside a music video for the first track. In the past she’s put out one or two singles a year, so two in the course of just under a month is a much more accelerated pace. “I love it,” she says to me about her schedule. She explains these singles have been in the works for quite some time so she’s thrilled to finally have them out in rapid succession. To drive home the point, she repeats “Yeah, I love it so much more.”
While Lindemann is excited and happy while talking to me, that’s not the emotional state “Human” and “Would I?” were born from. Hidden in the rich and brooding synths of “Human” is a message about being unable to relate to other people. “I wish I was human/ I wish that I could see shit like you did” she sings on the chorus. “Would I?” is even more direct, as the acoustic driven pop tune finds her frankly discussing her depression and the emotional lows her mind can experience. All of these experiences come directly from her life. “About a year ago I was just going through that, and I mean my mind was pretty dark at the time,” she reveals. She further explains there was no need to have to pull some deep memories out of herself in order to conjure up the emotions required; she was really experiencing what you hear while she was writing. At the same time she was in a creative mind frame and decided to put her thoughts into music, and the result is that she feels a strong personal connection to these latest singles. Even the writing sessions themselves have helped her navigate her depression, although she’s quick to emphasize it’s a non-stop process she still has a lot to learn about. She says “I feel like I still haven’t really mastered the whole self-care thing. I think that’s just something I struggle with and learning how to cope with certain things, but I think just being in a session and getting all that out and coming back home and being with my friends, just being in a good space was really important.”
Lindemann didn’t just write “Human” and “Would I?” for her own benefit, though. “I just wanted people to feel like they weren’t alone” she says about her new tracks. She further explains all of her songs have always had some meaning to them, this time around she wanted those meanings to be even more focused and impactful. She wanted this new music to discuss things she really cares about, and says that “happens to be mental illness because I feel like a lot of people go through it and not enough people really talk about it.” With that in mind, “Human” and “Would I?” take on an even more urgent message while listening to them, as you can hear Lindemann reaching out to those people who have experienced the same thing she has. According to her, the most important thing about the new singles is letting people know “they’re not alone.”
The connection with fans and listeners extends past Lindemann’s music. She is incredibly active on social media, and she’s just as honest there. The announcement tweet for “Would I?” includes a photo of Lindemann in tears. Like any of her tweets or Instagram posts, the replies are full of people expressing how much her music means to them. Lindemann is audibly moved by this gesture while she talks about it, calling it simply “amazing.” She talks about a recent post on her Instagram story where she talked about her seasonal depression and many people sent encouraging messages or said they related to the post. She says “stuff like that makes me feel so good because I know it’s something I go through and I know other people go through, and it’s the same for them.” Having the ability to let people know they’re not struggling alone has been a huge honor for her.
While she does use her social media to reach out when she’s struggling, it’s not the only use Lindemann has for it. She’ll often share what she’s watching, random thoughts throughout the day, and the growth she’s experienced. Between social media and her career as a musician that began when she was still a teenager, Lindemann has grown up while in the public forum. There were times where it wasn’t all smooth sailing. She recalls “it was rough because I have my moments where I was just being a stupid young kid and I wish that I didn’t have social media and I wish people didn’t know who I was.” She laughs when she says there are times she wishes she could “just be stupid in private,” but acknowledges it all as the process of growing up. On the whole, she says it’s been a positive experience for her. “I also have loved it because I am able to share music and share my experiences with people and share my life” she says, explaining that it’s been cool to see people growing up alongside her music over the years.
Lindemann also uses social media to share another source of joy and inspiration for her: anime. Her Twitter profile picture is from Sailor Moon, and in October she shared a picture from Halloween of her costume as Death Note character Misa Amane. Those are the main two shows she’s watching at the moment, and she says she’ll often take inspiration from an anime’s aesthetic to use in her music videos or artwork.
Going forward, Lindemann is also excited to expand her sound. She says “I listen to like every music genre ever, and I don’t ever want to be put in one box. I want to be able do just whatever I’m feeling.” She also explains she likes the sound she’s growing into and believes she’s close to fully finding her voice. While she says the heavy synths of “Human” are something we can expect more of in the future, she also reveals she loves rock music and wants to do more with rock-style guitars.
No matter what Maggie Lindemann decides to do or where her feelings take her, you’re going to hear about it. Her emotional honesty combined with the breathtaking array of sounds have already captured a huge audience, and the connections she can forge are only growing. Whatever she decides to do next, you’re going to hear about it. That’s undoubtedly a good thing.
If you or someone in your life are struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.