Mae Stephens on If We Ever Broke Up and supporting BLACKPINK: "It's so overwhelming"
Mae Stephens is one of the 2023's brightest new names. Her first Top 20 single If We Ever Broke Up truly transcended its TikTok virality to become the biggest debut track by a UK artist globally, now with over 140 million streams and counting around the world.
It's a success that came somewhat unexpectedly to 19-year-old Mae who, at the time of its release, was working a regular 9-to-5 while honing her craft.
Today, we sit down with Mae to reflect on her 2023 so far and look ahead to her fruitful future (which includes supporting K-pop BLACKPINK at this summer's BST Hyde Park, no big deal).
"It's genuinely been the scariest and most exciting experience of my life," Mae says of her success so far. "It's all gone so fast that I have no clue which way's left or right any more!
"The switch from going from very little exposure to having so much support from everyone - for being weird and who I am as a person - has been exciting and incredible, but also really overwhelming. You never expect that amount of support to come from something; especially as I went through such a rough time at school."
Mae details her formative school years as difficult, but important in shaping her artistry.
"As far as I was concerned, nobody liked who I was," she explains. "This is something's that changed my entire outlook on everything.
We assure Mae the message she's conveying today is an important one for young people to hear.
"I spent to long trying to be someone I wasn't in school," she says. "The truth is, kids are cruel. Though as much as the younger generation can be cruel, they're also so diverse in sexuality, gender, preferences.
"The reason I started writing music was to show people that it doesn't matter that I'm female, that I started writing when I was 12, especially being a bisexual woman. When I was at school, that wasn't seen as acceptable, you were deemed 'greedy.'
"It gave me a chance to show people that no matter your age, you can go through the same emotional processes as adults do."
WATCH Mae Stephens' If We Ever Broke Up music video below:
Asked about fans' reactions to If We Ever Broke Up, Mae explains that comments have left her 'in tears.'
"I've had messages from people going through divorce, people leaving toxic boyfriends they still love. To me, having people comment with their stories of how it's helped them - even though it's a funk song at its heart - is the reason I started writing music. To help people. It's never been about the money or the fame.
"It's about giving people something I didn't really have as a kid myself."
And in possibly the biggest middle finger to her nay-sayers yet, Mae is set to support none other than BLACKPINK at this summer's BST Hyde Park, London.
"It's something I haven't even got my head around yet. It's not even hit my brain yet that I'm going to see them. I will cry my eyes out. Every star that I've met - I've met Sigrid and that - I've had to compose myself. Sigrid probably thought I was the weirdest human being on the planet!
"I just know that I'm so excited for that show. I've dreamt of standing on stage in front of that many people for years. I've dreamed of all of this since I was a kid, so I'm so excited."
Mae Stephens' If We Ever Broke Up is out now via EMI.