A key part of growing up is discovering who you are. None of us are the same person for the entirety of our lives, but that key phase in our late teens into our early-to-mid twenties is a time of a huge amount of self-discovery. This can be especially validating for anyone who has to overcome unsupportive people on their quest to grow into their best selves. Getting past that can be tough, but the payoff is more than worth it. Just ask Atlanta’s Maggie Schneider. She’s embracing who she is both as a musician and a person with her new track “Don’t Tell Me,” which we’re thrilled to premiere on Substream.

Schneider has a huge range of musical and songwriting talent, and she showcases all of it on “Don’t Tell Me.” The first verse of the track showcases her writing against a splendidly written and played piano backing. The lyrics about realizing how unsupportive people around her were and now picking up the pieces are heartfelt and intensely relatable. When the chorus hits, we get some fantastic pop-punk-like arrangements with the added guitars and percussion. It’s a great blend, and Schneider masterfully combines all of it into a special track.

The video for “Don’t Tell Me” is equally affecting. We see Schneider in the process of picking up the pieces and putting herself back together mixed in with footage of a performance in a living room. We also see old negative YouTube comments, but as the video progresses she moves past them. It’s one thing to just hear her overcome her past doubts, but seeing it adds even more emotion into the entire experience.

Schneider revealed the origins of the song to us, saying:

“‘Don’t Tell Me’ is definitely one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. It’s all about my journey in realizing the importance of standing up for myself, and not allowing anyone to tell me what to do or who to be. I was tossing and turning one night because I had a lot of stuff on my mind. Random lyrics kept popping into my head: lines about how I was feeling, things that were said to me, things I wish that I had said in the moment, etc. It’s incredibly difficult to respond to someone who doesn’t understand you, or puts you down, and this track is my response to them. I started to write all of these lines down in my iPhone notes, and the next day, the melody hit me as I was driving. I sang the line “Don’t tell me who to be” at the top of my lungs in the car, and I knew that was it. 2 hours later, I finished the song and started crying when I played it for my mom the first time. I finally realized the importance of staying true to who I am as a person and as an artist. Without knowing who you are and fighting for what you want, you’re left with nothing. Alex Downtain and Ben Humkey at Homegrown Studios brought this song to life and I cannot thank them enough for that.”

You can listen to Maggie Schneider’s new track “Don’t Tell Me” and check out the music video below.