Don't Tell Me Who To Be: An Interview with Maggie Schneider

Almost a year after the release of her Tinted Glasses EP, Maggie Schneider found herself back in the studio. She had her friends alongside her at Home Grown Studios in Atlanta, and knew that this time around she was ready to create a full-length album.

The song that started it all, “Don’t Tell Me”, materialized from a night spent tossing and turning, thinking about a slew of recent negative comments. They commented on her looks, her music, her artistry; she finally got fed up. She pulled up the notes app on her iPhone and without overthinking, words just came pouring out.

“It just came out without structure; a freeform organic poem basically,” she said. “I was pissed off and it was cathartic to put all of that out there.”

The next day the line “don’t tell me who to be” came into her head and within two hours she had written the entire song. It has since become the song she’s most proud of writing, and the stepping off point for creating her next album.

Shockingly, “Don’t Tell Me” is one of the very few songs that she wrote all of the music and lyrics to. Her co-collaborators, Nick Pena and Alex Crain, worked on a lot of Tinted Glasses with Schneider and spent months with her on this current project.

“It was a long process but it was so rewarding because we made sure that my vision came to life,” she said.

Schneider calls herself a perfectionist and finds it easier to create a melody than lyrics. Being able to collaborate gives her the confidence to write music, which ultimately gave her that final push to create an LP instead of an EP this time around.

“I'm a big believer of go big or go home,”she said. “Making a full-length record has always been a dream of mine and something I've always wanted to do, so I thought this [was] the perfect opportunity to record a bunch of songs that I've been holding onto for months and finally create a cohesive collection of songs.”

Behind all the new music is a message; a message that comes through not just in “Don’t Tell Me” but in everything she puts out and at every live show - “never let anyone tell you what to do or who to be.” She’s stuck by this message and personally connected with it in so many ways, so it’s fitting that she continues to spread the word.

Maggie Schneider is gearing up to release her biggest body of work to date, and is celebrating with the release of the music video for “Don’t Tell Me” which just premiered on Substream. Check it out!