Shure24: Maggie Andrew’s Higher Calling
Able to fashion dark, brooding pop songs often from nothing more than a phone voice memo, SHURE24 nominee MAGGIE ANDREW is primed to take her craft to the next level.
When Maggie Andrew was in the ninth grade, she jumped on stage at her school in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and bust out a memorable rendition of the Dolly Parton hit ‘Jolene.’
“It was pretty hilarious,” says Andrew. “I changed up the tempo and everyone started clapping along and when I changed back everyone was confused, and I didn’t really know what to do – I guess I realized then, that even if you're scared, if you're up there and act like you know what you're doing, then people think you know what you're doing. I just sort of rolled with it.”
Today, the 21-year-old self-taught guitarist, vocalist and songwriter continues to roll with her own fresh style, drawing serious attention from the sonic sphere with her run of street-fresh, catchy pop tunes – a compelling mash that Pigeons & Planes recently referred to as “music with teeth.” Her efforts were enough to spur creative dynamo Santigold to nominate her to Shure24, a platform boosting audio innovators.
Yet Andrew’s music career was never a planned thing, her beginnings totally organic. “I always wrote poetry growing up and I got a guitar when I was 12. I taught myself to play and the poems became songs.”
Laying down a few basic ideas as voice memos on her phone, she put together a song in basic form and sent it to her brother in LA: her primary musical influence when growing up. “He was like: ‘Yo, this is good, you need to come out to the studio and record this.’”
It took a little while to get there, including a brief job at Canada’s iconic coffee chain Tim Hortons and a short-lived stint studying PR at college.
“I never really saw myself in an office job, and I always thought I would do something creative,” says Andrew. “I thought: why am I going to university to do a public relations degree? I want to be the person who people do public relations for! So I dropped out and went to LA. The first time I went into studio I was like, ‘yeah, this is what I want to do.’”
Under California’s golden glow, she teamed up with producer Ash Riser, working in the studio almost every single day and night for two months straight: “Just working, working, working, working, working.”
One of Andrew’s 2019 singles that came out of those sessions was inspired by an emotionally charged recorded voice note.
“I was in the studio where the vocals are so crisp and clear compared to what it was. It was crazy for that to grow from iPhone voice notes into a real song of quality that we're gonna put out. It was crazy.”
‘Sleep4eva’ is another rouser, a dreamy slice of beat-driven mood, laden with Andrew’s shimmering guitar and arresting vocals.
Suffice to say, going from Tim Hortons to the professional game has been a huge step in just two years. “It’s definitely been a big change since being in Nova Scotia feeling like there was no creative scene there for me, just playing guitar in my room and making voice notes on my phone and writing songs in a journal to now, where I’m making the product. It’s really exciting.”
As her singles continue to light up ears and rack up the streams, it’s all for a larger work, with new music on the way for 2021.
So what can her fans expect? In Andrew’s words: “It's still like an alternative pop-feel with my own twist on it […] I’m trying to put real feelings into the whole sound of the songs, not just the words, but the whole sound.”
Words: Cam Hassard
Image: Maggie Andrew
This article originally appeared in the Shure24 Takeover edition of LOUDER magazine. Download the entire issue here!