Singer-Songwriter Maxie Mandel Makes a Magnetic Impression With “Someone You’d Love”

Emulating the crisp and captivating vocals of her inspirations Sara Bareilles and Carole King, with lyrical parallels to Taylor Swift’s “Invisible” and Lewis Capaldi’s “Bruises,” 19-year-old Maxie Mandel captures listeners’s hearts in a single melody. Her vivid lyrics detailing an all-too-relatable high school unrequited love compounded with empowering instrumentals instill in her listeners the courage to move on with their heads held high. “Someone You’d Love”’s recognition of the adversities of losing yourself in the pursuit of someone else while simultaneously seeing the singer reevaluate how the situation has taken so much from her is brutally honest and an intrinsic part of teenagehood that’s often overlooked. Mandel’s refusal to shy away from unpleasant topics and instead illuminate them with clarity and candor highlights her vigorous introspection and deeply enriches the ability of so many audiences old and young, to form a bond with her music. 

Q. You’re originally from Philadelphia but are currently residing in Boston. Talk about the similarities and differences between two cities that are relatively close to each other.

A. Boston and Philly are relatively similar in size and climate, but I think they’re extremely different culturally! Admittedly I’ve only been in Boston for about 2 months, and I’ve barely left Berklee’s campus so I don’t have much of an impression yet. One thing I love about Philly is its rich and deeply rooted music and art scene, which is something I would love to unearth more in Boston! 


Q. You’ve been writing and recording music since the age of 16. How did the tempestuous nature of adolescence help fuel your writing? What challenges did it pose? 

A. I actually wrote my first song at the age of 6, and naturally, it was pretty unserious! But around the age of 11, I began writing to seriously process my emotions. My songs were mostly centered around coping with extreme loneliness and exclusion in my school’s environment and finding the strength and inspiration to keep going. These are themes that I still face today, and I don’t think anyone ever really stops experiencing them. This is why my goal as an artist is to continue to make music that empowers, inspires, uplifts, and spreads positivity. 


Q. Someone can change a lot in a short period of time. Do you often reflect on how you’ve grown as an artist in just three years?

A. This is actually the first time I have ever stopped and reflected on this. I believe I’ve matured a lot as a singer since I was 16, and I have definitely made huge strides with my production and engineering skills. I made it my mission to, in the absence of a record label, become my own team until I attract the attention of one. I’m proud of how even with the influence of social media and trends, my writing, artistic vision, and voice have remained as true and authentically me as they were 3 years ago and beyond. 


Q. Your new single “Someone You’d Love” is a deeply personal tune about the emotional whiplash of cutting yourself off from a toxic person you have strong feelings for. What inspired this confessional track?

A. “Someone You’d Love” is ironically probably one of my only songs depicting the “tempestuous nature of adolescence” you described! I wrote it specifically about one boy that I had a crush on for a while in my senior year of high school. I watched the way that he was in love with someone else, and I wrote the song about how I found myself turning into a different person to attract his attention. It definitely stemmed from teenage jealousy, but I do think that people of all ages can relate to this song. It is generally about the frustration most of us have faced at some point of not being wanted or chosen by the person we like. 


Q. There are moments in “Someone You’d Love” that mirror the fervent emotions of other notable female singer/songwriters like Sara Bareilles, Carole King, and Regina Spektor. Are these artists or any others influential for you?

A. Sara Bareilles and Carole King are two of my biggest influences! Both are incredible songwriters who have remained true to themselves and their sound despite the changing times and societal trends. Along with Adele and Taylor Swift, these are artists that have a timeless, classic sound that I can only aspire to. Any time anyone asks about my influences, ironically enough I will always say Adele, Carole King, Sara Bareilles, and Taylor Swift! 


Q. You’ve coined the title “your local pop star and raging humanitarian” for yourself in your Instagram bio. Explain the intersectionality of music and activism and why it means so much to you.

A. Ever since I was young, I’ve been very passionate about standing up to the injustice I see in the world. I have always been very engaged in politics and social issues, and outspoken on my views. I knew that I wanted to use my music and my platform to shine light and spread positivity. Writing my songs has always been what has helped me overcome adversity in my life, and I want them to do the same for others! There have been a couple ways I have already combined music and activism over the past couple years. I founded an annual musical fundraiser back in 2017 that raised a couple thousand dollars over the years for World Cafe Live Education: a Philly nonprofit that brings music education to underserved youth and people with disabilities. 

I also have a song called “The Reckoning” which is a social justice anthem I wrote after attending the protests for George Floyd back in 2020. It describes the hope and inspiration I felt at seeing so many young people march in the streets for change. In general, my mission as an artist is to make music that uplifts, inspires, and helps people overcome adversity; as well as to use my platform to stand up for causes I believe in. 


Q. You explore a lot of universally relevant topics that are intrinsic to the human experience in your music. What’s a theme you’ve yet to unpack musically that you’re hoping to in the future? 

A. Love. Upon listening to my Spotify you will probably notice I have yet to touch on the most universally experienced emotion: love! I am waiting patiently for the day that I am lucky enough to meet the person that I will fall in love with for the first time. This has been something that I’ve struggled with lately because I feel the absence of romantic love in my life every day, but I think it will make the experience of it when it happens even more surreal. I can’t wait to write about it!