When Mae Muller was nine years old, she auditioned to be the little girl who chats to MIKA while sitting atop a piano in the music video for his song Grace Kelly. She sang LDN by Lily Allen for her audition (“If you know the lyrics to that song [...] it was so rude,” Muller has since said, reflecting on her song choice) and landed the part.
Grace Kelly was a massive hit: it held number one on the UK singles chart for five consecutive weeks and became the third best selling single of 2007.
Now, in 2023, Muller looks ready to join the ranks of her idols: she’s had a top 10 US single, supported the biggest girlband in the world and is the UK’s entrant for Eurovision with her going out banger I Wrote A Song.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Kentish Town-born, Camden-bred singer songwriter ahead of her big trip to Liverpool later this Saturday.
A north London native
Mae Muller, 25, was born in Kentish town in 1997, was schooled in Belsize Park, and has remained loyal to North London her whole life. “North London shaped me as a person and as an artist. Every time I feel my accent slipping I have to cut it out immediately,” she said in an interview with Camden Unlocked in 2019.
Muller has been theatrical since she was young. “I'd stand on the coffee table and sing songs and force everyone to have a look at me,” she told Glamour Magazine. “I was always just that annoying kid.” She started writing music around the age of eight, but didn’t release anything until her late teens.
She’s also a total Gen Zer: she worked in American Apparel when she was young (the dream of 16-year-old Tumblr users everywhere), but quit and moved onto pub work in Kentish Town so she could focus on music in the daytime. “I had a few shitty jobs and worked in a pub,” she told Camden Unlocked, “When I was at the pub I kept thinking, 'I don't know what I'm doing.' I uploaded a song that I'd written to Soundcloud and that is when it all started. It was very quick.”
Prepare for takeoff
Mae’s 2017 Soundcloud debut wasn’t particularly well orchestrated or glamorous. “I opened Notes [on my phone] and started singing melodies and anything that came into my head," she said in conversation with Line of Best Fit magazine. "I just said how I felt and tried to make it into a song and it worked."
She then enlisted a friend who could play a guitar and use the music recording program Logic to do the rest. "I gave him a bottle of wine for doing it, because I had no money,” she said.
Close, the song that marked Muller’s Soundcloud debut, is still on her Soundcloud to this day. It wasn’t this that originally got her noticed, though — an industry exec spotted a couple of her covers of Rihanna and Frank Ocean songs on Instagram, and she had representation from then on out. “I don't think I'd be where I am without [Instagram]”, she’s said.
From first EP to Jimmy Fallon
It’s been a steady upward ascent for Mae since then — her first EP, After Hours, was released within the year and hailed as a "bold, confident first step,” by DIY, who said the batch of five songs felt “like a potential chart-mingler from first listen.” In 2019, roughly a year before Covid, Muller dropped her debut studio album, Chapter 1, which led to her being asked to accompany Little Mix on their LM5 tour, something she has called “surreal but so amazing.”
“It was such a confidence boost for me,” Mae told Sky News, “I was actually quite surprised at how quickly I got into it. The first show I was like, I can't do this, I'm so scared, but by the third show I was just walking out there like, bring it on.
"It kind of made me believe even more that this is what I'm supposed to do. And it was so amazing to be on a tour of that scale and the girls were so welcoming and nice. I think it made me more eager to achieve that on my own... [it was] an irreplaceable experience."
Mae’s own headline shows started to swell as a result of the exposure, rising from a couple hundred faces to over 1,000. Then lockdown hit.
Loving lockdown, leaving lockdown
Luckily for Mae Muller, lockdown was helpful and allowed her to focus on her music. “My writing got better because there was nothing else to do!” she told Clash Magazine. “During lockdown I leaned more towards pop, which is interesting,” she added. “I don’t know if that’s anything to do with the pandemic, but it made me realise that I want to be a popstar! I got into my pop bag even more, I’ve definitely been experimenting!”
Mae’s popularity either side of Covid are two distinctly different things, largely due to her big break single Better Days (in collaboration with Neiked and Polo G), which dropped in September 2021. The song made it to top 10 in the US, and Muller was invited to perform it on Jimmy Fallon. “I try not to get lost in the numbers of things” she said at the time, “but now I’m like statistics obsessed, and it’s always nice to hear top 10!”
Following Better Days, Muller released two more successful singles, and then...
The UK’s Eurovision entry
It was revealed back in March that Mae Muller would be the UK’s entrant for Eurovision 2023, equipped with her newest single I Wrote A Song. It’s a poppy, dancey tribute to expressing yourself amidst a breakup, a theme which many of Muller’s songs follow.
Four years ago, Muller told Camden Unlocked how writing songs became her method of healing. “It's my weapon. If I'm feeling down I won't write a sad song, I'll write a bad bitch thing like, 'I'm going to f**k your life up.' It's my way of feeling strong.” This is the exact attitude of I Wrote A Song, and it’s already being tipped as a hefty Eurovision entry from the UK.
And it looks like Muller has no intention of getting ‘nil point’. In that same 2019 interview, she set her sights on Brits, Grammy’s — the lot. “I want to do it all”, she said. “I've got all the ingredients to win. Now it's up to me.” With that attitude, we might just have Eurovision in the bag.
Either way, she’s got the whole country backing her - including the newly coronated King and Queen, with Charles telling her: “We will be watching you with great interest – egging you on.” When they trio unveiled the contest’s spectacular stage in Liverpool last month.
To which Muller replied: “Thank you, no pressure. No nul points.”
Fortunately Muller has just the pre-show ritual to ease her nerves. “Any kind of herbal tea with a lot of honey in it, and I have it out of my Harry Styles mug which just gives me the good vibes. I know if Harry’s with me then I know it’s going to be OK.”
Harry Styles mugs at the ready, because Muller’s self-described “sassy” performance is now only days away.