Don't Trip Photo
We took some time to interview newcomer Max Marshall to talk about her refreshing exploits in r’n’b and pop music. After taking some time to get well acquainted with fashion and costume design, she is now turning her ample talents on an even bigger passion: to create music. Her debut efforts, including the single ‘Don’t Trip’ certainly don’t disappoint.

Volt Café: Where are you from?
Max Marshall: I’m from Baltimore, Marilyn.

VC: You have an extensive background in fashion and design, why music now?
MM: I would say it was always there really because fashion was something that I set up as my plan B, because I have plan As, Bs and Cs in life. So I followed through completely with my fashion and got two degrees, so that I could do what I love the most with all of my time.

VC: So fashion was the plan B and performing was the plan A?
MM: Yeah, because you see, most artists do the whole drop-out-of-school thing.

VC: So what is it about performing that drew you to that discipline?
MM: Just the feel of it really.

VC: Can you compare it to designing things?
MM: You can, you can, like the aura you get when you’re sewing the hem on something and just about to complete it, or sewing beads on it just before it goes down the catwalk, it’s kind of the same feeling.

VC: So how much fulfillment do you get in that compared to making music?
MM: Um, fulfillment is a little bit less than in music because the other is me creating someone else’s design, so its nice to see it finished and whatnot but music is coming from me personally, so I can give you everything I want to give you right there.

VC: So how long have you been here [in London]?
MM: Four years.

VC: What’s your take on the contrast between British and American fashion?
MM: One of the first things I thought when I got here, was everyone is so well dressed and they take their time grooming, especially men, I would see men looking better then me on a regular basis, especially like, in the suits that work in the city and you can just see the product on their faces, it’s just lovely.

VC: Do you think there’s a contrast in music?
MM: Yeah I guess you could say that but I feel like it’s certain people that are into certain things, and it might just be a few people in America that are into garage and drum and base but it’s a really low key type of thing, so I didn’t know about that. I didn’t know about all the stuff like Grime – never heard of Grime before I came here.

VC: So how do you think your music fits into that?
MM: I’m going to say it’s definitely a variety of both. When people say it sounds American, I get quite surprised because I’m trying to not so much steer away from it, but just create my own lane rather than that, ‘she’s American’ type of brand, so, it’s a mix definitely.

VC: On one track [‘Must Be crazy’] you mixed Floetry and Lana Del Rey, what inspired you to do that?
MM: Um, Floetry I feel like are two underrated, not-known artists and for the amount of talent they had, and for someone that has written for Michael Jackson they definitely need to be just like, put out. And Lana Del Rey just captures everyone, so I figured why not put two beautiful things together.

VC: When you wrote ‘Yesterday’ what inspired you?
MM: Um, ‘Yesterday’, really it was just a vibe for me. I felt like I was driving through Arizona in a drop top car with a scarf blowing!

VC: When you’re writing, what’s your process like?
MM: See, that’s the thing, when I’m writing, I find a word, and the word is the inspiration that will pull from the whole song, and basically it can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour or two.

VC: So what music did you grow up listening to then?
MM: Donny Hathaway, Stevie wonder, Patti Labelle, Grace Jones, Ricky Lee Jones, Stephanie Mills, Smokey Robinson, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott – all of those. D’Angelo.

VC: And why did you choose London?
MM: To be honest it was just a random decision, you know, spin the globe, put your finger on it, because I knew that I wanted to go somewhere that was different and somewhere that I had to become accustomed to, so London seemed like the perfect place. I was supposed to come here at 16, but I got denied, so I came here at 18 and I waited so long just to be in a different environment that when I got here I know it was where I wanted to be.

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The single ‘Don’t Trip’ is out now and available on iTunes.

Words by Nicholas Hayden.

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Max Marshall, Nicholas Hayden,