Maggie Schneider unveils her new single “Don’t Tell Me”.
With the help of Alex Downtain and Ben Humkey, Schneider created a personal song about staying true to who you are.
“This is definitely a song that I am proudest of writing. 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. Without knowing who you are and fighting for what you want, you're left with nothing, and this song is about that. I was heavily inspired by bands in the pop/punk emo scene like Mayday Parade, as well as some of my favorite pop artists like Lady Gaga when writing this one,” says Schneider.
By standing up for who she is as a person and as an artist, the Atlanta-based artist hopes to inspire people to be themselves and follow their dreams.
“Don’t Tell Me” is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
My name is Maggie Schneider, and I'm from Atlanta, Ga! I'm a singer, songwriter, performer, friend, daughter, and a girl with a cluttered heart.
What's your story?
I've always loved to sing. When I was four years old, I would sing "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield for my parents in our living room, with my pink Barbie karaoke machine. I grew up as a theatre kid, begging my parents for guitar lessons at age 9 and teaching myself to play piano as an elementary schooler. Music has always been my life, and when I began writing my own songs, I knew I had to try and make a career out of it.
Could you describe us your childhood a little bit?
I feel fortunate to say that I had a happy childhood. My mom and I are like the Gilmore Girls - she's truly my best friend, and has always supported my dreams. My mom never misses a show, and cheers me on both onstage and offstage.
How would you describe yourself today?
I am basically Jessica Day from New Girl. I'm a very optimistic and confident person, but I'm also a mess. I can be both silly and type A, but being a good person and cheering my friends on are what truly matter to me. Plus, I wear glasses!
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
I'm pretty sure it was Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley - I grew up watching the show and especially loved when the Jonas Brothers were featured on an episode! I also remember Fearless by Taylor Swift being another record I bought when I was young - she was one of the first artists that inspired me to write my own songs.
When did you start writing songs? What made you want to write songs in the first place?
The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and Taylor Swift were definitely the first artists who inspired me to write my own songs. I would watch their concert movies and videos on YouTube and dream about doing what they did someday. When I was 12, I wrote my first song called "Out of My Head." Needless to say it wasn't a hit, but I kept pushing myself to write and sing more. Now, more than ever, I feel like I have something to say.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
I've been performing in bands since I was 12 years old, but decided to pursue it more seriously in 2014. I earned an opening slot for Allison Weiss at The Masquerade's original location at 695 North Avenue, which was the turning point for me. I received such a positive response from both Allison and the crowd at the venue unlike any other show that had come before it. Then, The Masquerade booked me to open for Courage My Love just a week later, and I knew that I didn't want to stop. I had the realization that I could actually follow my dreams.
"Don't Tell Me" is your new single - what's the story behind this song?
"Don't Tell Me" is all about staying true to who you are. It's about not allowing anyone to tell you what to do or who to be. This is my mission as an artist: to inspire others to be themselves and go after what they want just as I have done.
Could you describe us the songwriting/production process?
This song was written organically. I was tossing and turning one night, because there was a lot of stuff on my mind. People kept hurting me, telling me the kind of person and artist I should be, and making me feel small. The only way for me to get my feelings out was to write all the random thoughts and lyrics that popped into my head, without any sort of structure. The next day, I was driving back home from school and sang "Don't tell me who to be" at the top of my lungs. I knew in that moment that I had to write this song, and I finished it in two hours.
It was a dream working with Alex Downtain and Ben Humkey at Homegrown Studios on this song. I knew I wanted it to begin small with just piano and vocals, and build into this powerful anthem full of guitars, drums, orchestral strings, and even church bells! The production mirrors my journey to discovering the importance of staying true to myself, and the guys nailed it. I really hope the song inspires listeners too.
When did you start working on this song?
I wrote this song on April 28, 2018. A very LONG time ago. We started recording it December 1, 2018, and took our time to make it as strong as it could be.
What did you feel when writing "Don't Tell Me"?
I felt free writing this song. It felt cathartic, because I got a lot of feelings off of my chest. This song is a response to those who tried to pull me down, and gave me a way to express all of the things I left unsaid. I cried when I played it for my mom for the first time because of how personal it is!
What made you want to release "Don't Tell Me" as a single?
I'm releasing "Don't Tell Me" as a single because it is everything I want to say as an artist. It perfectly captures who I am as a person, and what I want to do with my music. My biggest goal is to inspire others to follow their dreams no matter what, and to fully be themselves. I am proudest of writing "Don't Tell Me" and couldn't wait to share it with the world.
What did you learn about yourself after finishing this song?
I learned that I'm stronger than I thought I was.
What can you tell us about the artwork?
Savana Ogburn designed the artwork and created exactly what was in my head! Her work is the perfect mixture of fun and whimsical, and she uses a bunch of collaged elements in her pieces. I feel like I'm a collage made up of all of my experiences, passions, and memories, and so we decided to highlight that through a messy, colorful room. Savana built and designed the entire set, as well as edited the images and created the album art. The room and everything in it symbolize the inner-workings of my heart and what matters most to me.
What message would you give to anyone who are afraid to be themselves?
If you lose sight of who you are and what you believe in, you're left with nothing. Life is so short, and so I hope to instill the importance of being yourself while you can. You are beautiful, and the world needs to see that.
What appeals you the most about songwriting?
I love songwriting because it's the only outlet where I can perfectly express how I feel and what I leave unsaid. I'm unafraid of writing how I feel through music and lyrics, and sharing my stories through songs is really fulfilling. In real life, I have a hard time saying everything I want to say in the moment, but my music allows me to be vulnerable in ways that I'm afraid to be otherwise.
As an artist, what do you want to accomplish?
I want to make a positive impact with everything I do. I want my music to help people overcome difficult times, or inspire them to follow their dreams, just as the bands I grew up with inspired me to do. Working with non-profits is also something I'm hoping to do more of this year. Hope For The Day, Access Live, Songs for Kids Foundation and RAINN are just a few organizations that I want to give back to with my music.
What are the things you are the most proud of?
I'm most proud of my friends and family. My mom, my band, my best friends since elementary school, and everyone in-between. I'm proud of who I've become as a person and everyone surrounding me. My life is full of love, friendship, and music. What more could I want?
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
Mutual kindness and compassion would make the world a much better place. The fact that respect and empathy remain "optional" ways to behave for some people truly disgusts me. We are all the same, and we're all going through the same things. Once this is understood, everything will look and feel a bit brighter.
What biggest life lessons have you learned so far?
I've learned to value myself and my emotions, and to reach out to friends and family when I need help. I've learned that honesty and loyalty come first in relationships. I've learned that it's okay to forgive and start over, but just as okay to let people go. Lastly, I've learned to never forget who I am and what I stand for.
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