Maxwell Musick Brings Softness to This Side of the Mississippi
Maxwell Musick, self-described as the “sweetest slut on this side of the Mississipi,” writes about the trials of growing up, sexual liberation and accepting his “old soul” in his melancholically uplifting songs. The experimental pop artist who graduated from NYU’s prestigious Clive Davis program this year, recalls shooting his second music video, “Midnight Cowboy,” overnight into the morning of his graduation–a milestone few can relate to. Milk chatted with Maxwell on his latest music video, his pending move to LA and his 2020 plans.
Tell us a little about yourself or your music–something we might know from listening to your music.
I’ve always been attracted to juxtaposition which comes from an emotional place for sure. I’m always feeling multiple things at once and I hope this comes out in my music and in my writing. I feel like I’m honest almost to a fault sometimes and that comes through as well. I’ve really been sinking into the notion that I can say and express anything I like, no matter how trivial it might seem, in my writing. The more I’ve released the more I become comfortable with sharing what I’ve done/felt. I’ve been noticing myself live in my own life more and I’m really excited about that.
You’ve released several music videos prior to “Midnight Cowboy”. Can you talk about the progression that took you from your first video to this one? This one feels more sure of itself–like the character you’ve been developing has quietly matured.
I think I’ve become exponentially more sure of myself! This time last year I was having breakdowns, overthinking everything and really believing I didn’t have anything worth saying. Now I’ve realized that there’s really no point in saying anything, so you might as well say everything! I think how I present myself over time has come closer and closer to who I really am, and I HOPE I’ve matured some!
What is your favorite lyrical piece of this new song? Can you tell us about the story behind the words?
My favorite line would have to be, “they think I should know I’m a baby with an old soul.” The song specifically talks about my experiences dating older men and having done some sex work as well, but that line in particular really speaks to a greater “they” than that. I was always considered an old soul growing up, by family and teachers and friends, and I used to think that was something to be proud of, but lately, have realized that the term “old soul” often negates emotional traumas that can really affect someone. It’s almost as if someone is saying “you can handle it” because they’ve deemed you emotionally mature. It’s all a matter of perspective and this song is really me attempting to share my perspective on my own life.
You released this video about six months after graduating! How does it feel to be out of the world of musical academia now? Has this affected your creative drive or process?
It feels amazing! Very freeing honestly. I’m able to write more and meet more people. I’ve never loved school but always understood it was a privilege. No disrespect, but I’m so excited to be done.
What was the process of shooting this video?
We actually shot overnight, just Olivia, Maya and me in the Rockaways. It was a really stressful time because I had graduation the next morning and was leaving for Australia the next week and didn’t know where I was staying yet. I drank a lot that night honestly haha. We shot through the night, and then shot the sunrise, and then I went to graduation, and then I came back and we shot the rest on the beach!
What do you foresee for 2020? What projects are you excited about?
I’m moving to LA for at least a little while! Hopefully playing a lot. I’ll be releasing a lot too! Which is super exciting I think. This past summer I wrote so much it’s all a matter of how to release!
DIRECTOR/DP/EDITOR: OLIVIA PETERS
SOUND PRODUCER: LUKE DAVIS
PHOTOGRAPHER: TANNER ABEL
PHOTOGRAPHER: NICHOLAS NEEDHAM
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