It’s not often that an artist that hasn’t yet released their debut album already boasts millions of followers, in addition to monthly listeners on Spotify. Despite, or perhaps in spite of, the hundreds of thousands of people that would recognise her in the street, Dallas-born Maggie Lindemann still describes herself as a loner. Taken from her Paranoia EP, her single of the same name celebrates her default to solitude.
“Even when I’m out and I’m partying or something and there’s so many people around me,” she explains to BLUNT, “it can still feel so lonely because I just have such a hard time connecting. So it’s just gotten to the point where I’m trying to be comfortable in my loneliness and look at it as this positive thing rather than a negative thing. Because I always say, at the end of the day you only have yourself.” She adds that in the current climate of intermittent lockdowns, “the people that are loners are thriving…I always just felt like a loner, and I didn’t understand why people didn’t like me.”
Raised on rock by her family, Lindemann found comfort in music. She spent her school days following in the long-standing tradition of being the outcast that listens to alt, obsesses over bands and wears rubber bracelets from Hot Topic. Her favourite artists growing up were 3OH!3 and Sleeping With Sirens, who she badly wants to collaborate with at some point. “I always mention them in interviews I do,” she laughs. “Because I’m like, ‘Ugh, maybe they’ll see it.’”
It shouldn’t be too difficult to orchestrate, with her latest collaboration a feature role in Machine Gun Kelly’s accompanying short film for his acclaimed pop punk record Tickets to My Downfall. Despite his controversial remarks about wearing comfortable kicks onstage at Warped Tour, he does remain one of the biggest names in music right now. That doesn’t mean that much to Lindemann, but it’s an impressive line to have on her CV nonetheless.
She explains: “I feel like it doesn’t really matter. I feel like if you can connect with an artist, you can connect. It doesn’t really matter how big they are, how small. And sometimes honestly I feel like I connect with smaller artists more, because they’re still working for it, and I’m still working for it too. I haven’t gotten to the point of the success that I want. So I don’t know. I feel like I can connect with anyone on an artistic level.”
“I always say, at the end of the day you only have yourself.”
Some might question why the Tickets to My Downfall feature was based in high school, when it was made by an artist that’s twelve years too old for a senior varsity jacket. Once we graduate, we romanticise being once again thrust into a scenario where it’s easy to meet people your own age from your own town, where the lab partner you’re forced to work with might turn out to be your one true love. But as both dropouts and graduates know alike, it really isn’t like that at the time, as much as we all wanted to be the popular kids going with the flow like they got paid for it.
“I just wanted to be popular in high school and I didn’t want people to think I was weird or whatever it was. I was just so hard on myself about it and I shouldn’t have been, because now who cares? It doesn’t even matter,” Lindemann notes. “I think the main thing is, don’t be so hard on yourself, especially when you’re in high school or middle school. However old you are, those years feel like they’re the most important and they’re literally the least important. You’re going to leave high school and go to college or go wherever you go, and you’re not going to worry about any of that anymore.”
Lindemann is determined to share the lessons that she’s learned through her music, alongside horror movie recommendations on her podcast and angles of her new backpack on Tik Tok. At some stage, she’s hoping to write a book about her life, in concurrence with working on her debut full-length album. It’s no longer a bad economy for ideals, and audiences are dying of thirst for someone with something true to say.
“I want to have an album out probably next year,” she announces. “Well, depending on how the pandemic goes, because if we’re still in full [lockdown] mode by the end of the year and I’m still not able to tour, then obviously I won’t come out with an album next year, but I really want to tour. So whenever that happens, after that, I want to have an album. But I also want to sell out tours and I want…I don’t know, I just want to be heard musically. So I really want to get out there.”
It’s not that she’s not being heard musically right now, more so that she’s painting a picture and it’s not yet complete. She has more to record that she wants out in the world, more to say than what she’s said to date. One thing we know for sure is that it’s not going to be boring, and it’s not going to be sugar-coated. Once an alt kid, always an alt kid.
Maggie Lindemann’s Paranoia EP is out now.