We interviewed singer Maisie Peters after she gave a private performance at Atlantic Records in Manhattan. We had so much fun talking to her and even got to sing with her at the very end.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in England, in various places.
When you were our age, what was your favorite subject?
When I was your age, when I was 10 or 11, my favorite subject, probably English. I hated math — I was horrible at it.
When you were a kid, did you write any songs?
Yes. I wrote little poems and stories when I was younger. And then I wrote songs when I was a bit older than you guys. Twelve, maybe, 13.
Do you take college classes, and if you do, is it hard to be a music artist and in classes?
So I did my version of college. I’m 18, and I finished last summer, and I did English, politics and history. It was difficult to balance the both. But I think I really loved my college classes actually as well as music. And it was interesting to do such different things at once. And it was like different parts of your brain getting used. But it was difficult. I think I cried a bit, but hey-ho. Yeah, but it was cool. And I’m really glad I finished college.
What inspired you to start singing? At what age did you start singing and playing the guitar, and did you play any other instruments?
I think I started singing probably when I was in choirs and stuff growing up, so 8. And I played guitar, and I was like 12 or 13. But I actually primarily played the flute. I was so bad. I did it throughout primary school, which is school through elementary. And my sister — I have a twin sister, and she played the clarinet. And we were both equally awful. So my poor parents had to just listen to terrible woodwind noises. And then I gave that up. I think I can still play.
How do you remember the words to your songs?
I just sing them a lot. And I guess when you do anything a lot, it’s just easier to remember. You just have to practice all the time. Like before I go on stage, I would sing under my breath all the words. I still forget things like little words, which is embarrassing. But you get over it, and it’s fine.
Is it difficult to co-write with someone?
I guess it depends on who it is. If it’s someone that you really get on with and you have very similar musical thoughts, then no. It depends on who it is and the situation as well. But I love co-writing. I do it a lot with my friends, and it’s real easy.
If you could choose anywhere, where would you like to go on tour?
I’d love to go on tour in America. Because I feel that there’s lots of different places, you know, like you’ve got East and West coasts. I’d love to go to Chicago.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe it as slightly emo acoustic girl pop.
What is your favorite song you’ve written?
So the ones that are out ... a song called “In My Head” and a song called “Details.”
If you could sing with any singer, who would it be?
What hobbies do you have outside of singing?
That’s a good question. I like reading. I don’t really do any sports. So I don’t do a lot else other than singing. But I like reading. I like my cats. I like to hang out with friends. I like karaoke. It’s a recent passion of mine. That’s still singing, though, isn’t it?
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a singer when they grow up?
If you’re going to be a singer, I’d just say, put yourself out there as much as you can. It’s pretty easy to, nowadays, with social media and YouTube. And that’s how I got started. And obviously, when you’re my age ... you feel like you’ve got the best stuff to present, but make sure you know you can, because you can start your own career nowadays. You don’t need anyone to help you with that, you can do it on your own. So just put yourself out there.
Is there anything you do special prior to a performance?
We do a special handshake. But it’s a work in progress. It often goes wrong. And some of it is forgotten.
Do you enjoy making YouTube skits?
Yes. I used to do a lot more when I started. I don’t make them so much anymore. But I do, I really used to enjoy it a lot. I loved being able to make something and then put it out that day and have people immediately feed back.
Where is your favorite type of place to perform?
I like performing in old venues. Ones that are smaller because you can see everybody. I have bad eyesight. You can actually see everybody and connect to people a lot more, and feel like you’re in it together. But anywhere — there’s some amazing venues out there.
Does anyone else in your family play an instrument or sing?
Oh, no, we’re all tone-deaf. My dad played the recorder but got kicked out of recorder club when he was 10. And ever since then it’s been a dark subject. We don’t talk about it.
Do you choreograph your own performances?
I think for the sake of everyone, I don’t dance, for everyone involved. But if I was to dance, I would not choreograph that.
Do you enjoy singing country music, or how did you come up with half-country music, half-modern pop?
That’s a cool question. I don’t know. As I said, I grew up on a lot of Taylor Swift, and I like Simon and Garfunkel. And I kind of got that Americana country roots. I guess it’s just sort of you are what you eat. That’s a little weird, but that’s what we’re all about.
Do you ever sing in the shower?
Yes. I actually play music when I’m in the shower a lot. One time we were in Paris and I was showering in the hotel room, and I was listening to music on my phone in the shower. And my own song came on “shuffle” and I jumped out of the shower to turn it off. But it was too late. Tina [Maisie's keyboardist] had heard. And now she never lets it go. But I do occasionally sing in the shower. I do like musical theater in the shower. That’s the time for that, so no one else could hear.
Before you perform, do you like getting your hair and makeup done?
Oh, no. Really no. I don’t love getting my hair and makeup done. I like doing my own. And I actually find it quite relaxing to do my own, because it takes your mind off things, and you just get involved.
Are cats really important to you?
Yes. And that was a deep question, but yes. Yeah, I love my cats. And honestly, it was just very random. The director of my videos, Eric, he was like, do you want to have a cat? And I was like, yes, I do. So that’s how it happened.
Michelle Indrieri’s fifth-grade class, St. Anne's School, Garden City