Looking for a pop hit with an irresistible melody, a catchy hook and a quirky sound, wrapped in a global-sounding production? Then look no further. Few tick all those boxes the way composer, lyricist, musician and singer MAXINE (1998, The Hague) does. No wonder numerous artists have her on speed dial. But something is about to change. From now on the songs Maxine the composer writes will be for MAXINE the artist.
For years she remained in the shadows, songwriting for others. Even though in her youth she was a dancer, actress and a child singer in musicals. After she finished high school she found out about Musikmakarna in the city of Örnsköldsvik, Sweden’s top music school for songwriters. Here, where distances are measured in Swedish miles, and the sun doesn’t set throughout the summer, students learn how to create hits. We’re talking The Chainsmokers, Ellie Goulding, and the Swedish pop star Zara Larsson; one of MAXINE’s main sources of inspiration.
Two days after enquiring whether she could study there, she was on the plane. Her goal: making the most of whatever Musikmakarna had to offer. She raised her skill set up to its high standards, and learned how to knock out a hit song every week. Weekends and leisure time didn’t exist, and after some late school nights she’d even spend the night in her studio. Every Friday, the tunes that had been composed during that week were listened to by the whole class. Record company reps would pop in for feedback. Any good material was signed on the spot and granted a release.
“Push the vocals up a bit in the mix, because you’ve got a beautiful voice. After that I think it’s ready to be released.” That was the advice offered by a special guest at the weekly feedback round. The creators of the best songs of the week were the only ones permitted to join the longhaired, blond man who had just jetted in on his private aircraft. His name: Max Martin, the hitmaker extraordinaire with more US number 1 hits to his name than The Beatles. His advice was directed at Maxine’s song Daydream.
Was that the last little nudge for her to step into the limelight? Well, not quite. That came about through Paint It Red, which she wrote for a friend facing a life-changing decision. As soon as she finished composing it, she knew that here was a song she simply couldn’t give away. It marked the launch of MAXINE the artist. Maxine is now ready to take centre-stage, with her own songs and her own band. Songs dealing with those moments in life that you experience intensely, like falling in love for the very first time. Maxine: “Most of my songs deal with your first love, before your ‘real’ life begins and you grow up. This love shapes who you become later on, which is why it is one of the key lessons you get to learn in life. The memory alone is enough. It stays with you for the rest of your days. I can’t think of anything more beautiful.”
In songs such as DON.T, Crazy, Help Myself and Strange, the sun shines more brightly, the rain is more drenching, and the colours more vibrant; these are tracks with international appeal and sonic. It took a few steps for MAXINE to move from behind the scenes and into the spotlight. But now she has arrived. Captivating, bursting with confidence, and armed with wonderful pop hits.