[EXCLUSIVE] Musical Maven Mabel McVey On Her Latest Album And Growing Through Music
Interview & Text Voon Wei | Image credits Universal Music Malaysia
A couple of weeks ago, #TeamCLEO was invited by Universal Music Malaysia to meet the amazing Mabel McVey in person as she flew in from London to stun everyone at her live perfomance at Zouk Singapore. It is absolutely no exaggeration to describe Mabel as the true musical maven, apart from being raised in a family that speaks music, her musical brilliance is undeniably incomparable.
Energetic and lively, Mabel is one of the young and rising artistes the world celebrates. She has a relatively huge following in Asia and Singapore showed her lots of love during the night of her performance and her fans were as high as a kite during the entire show.
We had the perfect opportunity to catch up with Mabel and have a few moments to talk about how she has grown up from making an album and her take on being a better person. Read on to find out!
If you were to use 5 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
I’d say I am funny, ambitious, stubborn, sassy and silly.
What does music mean to you?
Music means everything to me. I think without it I’d be a different person because it’s like my main way of expressing myself or process things. So yeah, without it I think I would be very sad.
What can we expect from High Expectations?
It is a fun album! I want to keep it uptempo because I want the mood of the album to be positive, I think. Obviously there are some songs in the album that are deeper and having some moments but as a whole I want people to take away something positive from it. I think the music that you have heard gives you a good idea of where it’s at. I am just super-proud of it, that I have finally made a body of voice I have dreamt of making.
“Music means everything to me. I think without it I’d be a different person because it’s like my main way of expressing myself or process things. So yeah, without it I think I would be very sad.”
What is your favourite track from the album?
I have 2 favourites, there is one called “Bad Behaviour”, which is more like an uplifting kinda fun mood and there is another one called “OK (Anxiety Anthem)”, which is you know about anxiety and the struggles I have had with my whole life, I thought it’s important to share my take on it.
How was the journey like for you when creating the album?
Making the album was such a special journey, I felt like I have grown so much, as a person and not just as an artist. I really know myself better than ever. I felt like I have come out of the other side and like you know, making a proper album, you really do have to pick yourself apart, look at all the pieces and put yourself back together, and I feel like I’ve looked at everything and I’m like, looking at the good stuff and the bad stuffs, I love all of it and come out really confident, that’s why I want people to take from it, I want them to feel good about themselves when they listen to it.
So what were the sources of inspirations for the album?
My inspirations for making music is always what’s been going on in my life. It’s just my stories from the last couple of years (such as) relationships, personal struggles; just things that I hope people can relate to.
We all know that you’re very into R&B, will there be other genres you might want to do in the near future?
Yeah, I mean I’m like into so many different types of music, but it’s just like everything has happened naturally. It’s all just about experimenting in the studio and see what happens. “Don’t Call Me Up” was different from me when I first made it. It’s like a bit of dance and a little bit more pop, so who knows what can happen now.
“My inspirations for making music is always what’s been going on in my life. It’s just my stories from the last couple of years [such as] relationships, personal struggles; just things that I hope people can relate to.”
What do you think you would be doing if it wasn’t music?
I think I would be doing something very different because I am both like extremely extrovert but also such an introvert, so I think I will be like teaching yoga, something very chill.
Very interesting! Congratulations on being nominated and winning the MTV Brand New For 2018 last year! How was that like when you found out you won?
Winning stuffs is cool! It makes you feel good like it’s nice to have a moment of recognition I worked so hard on and the team worked really hard as well, so it’s nice for us to share those moments and just enjoy. But I’m always thinking about what I can do next, how can I be bigger and better, that’s my main focus.
So what awards would you be aiming for after this with High Expectations?
Haha, I don’t know. I don’t really think about those things like that. All I can think about is trying my hardest, working my hardest, making better songs, bigger songs. Yeah, just doing my best!
How would you describe your style, in terms of fashion and music?
I just dress according to mood, the same thing with making music. It all depends on what mood I’m in, where my head’s at and I think like you don’t have to box yourself in and don’t have to choose a genre or a style. To me that’s a great power in that you wake up in the morning and you can like decide how people are going to perceive you. So some day I would be feeling like I want to wear heels, and I like mixing tomboy things with feminine things, yeah, so just having fun with it.
“I would just say, in general, anybody with social media, don’t compare yourself to other people is a trap. You can only be you, so just forget about focusing on what other people are doing and to remember that social media is just a highlight, it’s not somebody’s whole life. You may be looking at somebody’s and thinking that their lives are perfect but actually everybody has ups and downs, just because they don’t post on social media doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the same way that you do.”
What’s your current style obsession?
I don’t know, but I feel like I have been wearing a lot of chains lately and lot of cute rings, like jewellery.
Any favourite designer you have?
I don’t have any favourite designers. It all depends on who’s making cool thing at the time.
Speaking of which, are you enjoying your Tom Ford heels that Harper’s Bazaar US picked for you?
Yeah, they were so cute.
Yes they are and you look good in them too.
Aww thank you!
How would you advise your fans and followers out there about the pressures of being a public figure on social media?
I would just say, in general, anybody with social media, don’t compare yourself to other people is a trap. You can only be you, so just forget about focusing on what other people are doing and to remember that social media is just a highlight, it’s not somebody’s whole life. You may be looking at somebody’s and thinking that their lives are perfect but actually everybody has ups and downs, just because they don’t post on social media doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the same way that you do.
What’s your beauty regime?
It’s funny that when I am not working I don’t really wear make-up, I like just having my skin out, so it’s really important to me that my face is cleansed and really moisturised, and I put SPF on everyday, just to keep my skin my fresh. That’s so important to me. Then when I am working, I love to put on a full glam makeup, I think it’s nice to have that contrast that when I do put on a glam makeup, I am in my work mode that now I am ready for stage. I love to have things like lip liner, very 90s nude lips, eyeliners and I am obsessed with lashes.
Is that like the one thing that you can’t leave the house without, your lashes?
Yeah, OMG. I hate not having lashes, it’s horrible.
Check out the interview video here!
Follow Mabel on Instagram to keep up with her latest happenings.