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We head to LA to spend an afternoon with the queen of the charts, Maggie Lindemann

Some time before the dawn of Instagram influencers and the momentary popularity of Vine, there was Keek, and from it emanated the soaring rise of singer-songwriter Maggie Lindemann. Beating the drum for Generation Z, Lindemann began her career on the platform in 2012. Now, with just seven years under her belt, she’s since amassed an Instagram following of 3.4 million, a septet of sparky tracks, and a YouTube channel that has over 174 million views.

According to the artist, this transition has come quite instinctively. “Music was always a big part of my life, it just so happened that I got attention on social media first,” Lindemann says. “It was weird and it was different, but at the same time it was natural, probably more natural than how other people saw it. They were probably like, ‘Oh, she’s on social media and now she’s a musician.’ But for me, I was always a musician.”

Sadly Lindemann isn’t wrong to anticipate a degree of underhand speculation. The internet is ripe for cyber bullying – particularly, of course, when it comes to young women – and the 20-year-old has been hit with her fair share of shade over the last few years. Still, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the value of social media. By way of her music, Lindemann presents an attitude that is fittingly critical towards those who attempt to tear her down, and ultimately she paints a picture of having risen above the trolls.

“I think social media is really important if you’re trying to make a name for yourself as it’s a very easy way to do that,” is how Lindemann describes the benefits of platforms like Instagram and Keek. However, this is a statement that points to more than just her career trajectory, as it highlights that one of the biggest factors in her route to recognition – her monumental social following – is incidentally a theme that she tackles throughout her track list.

Take the closing lines of the first verse to her 2016 single, ‘Pretty Girl’: “And you see me holding up my middle finger to the world. Fuck your ribbons and your pearls, I’m not just a pretty girl.” It’s a conscious rejection of the shallow environment that Instagram can often promote, despite finding herself at the centre of it. Lindemann, however, embraces contradictions. She’s what she calls an “anti pop star.” “I do things differently,” she says in regards to this. “I like to be wild. You don’t know what to expect with me.”

She isn’t exaggerating. Aside from her online presence, Lindemann’s ascension has been less than conventional, kickstarting officially with a solo move to Los Angeles at the age of 16. This decision “was and wasn’t” difficult for the artist, who had to leave her friends and family behind in San Antonio. “I’ve always been super independent,” she explains. “I’ve loved to do things on my own ever since I was young. I also feel like I had to grow up really fast just because of some of the things that happened to me.”

The move was followed by 18 months of fervent writing and recording, which, despite cutting her adolescence short – a consequence that she doesn’t seem overly phased by – has left her with a healthy backlog of unreleased tracks. “At 16, I was…,” she continues, pausing to consult her memory. “I wasn’t grown – I was still making stupid kid mistakes – but I had an older mentality.”

Eager to reject the confines of one singular genre, Lindemann has cultivated a simmering sweet spot that she describes as “mostly pop, but more alternative pop.” The end of 2018 saw her release two new tracks, ‘Human’ and ‘Would I’, both of which take a look at mental health. “They were actually written around the same time,” she says. “I was going through a lot mentally, and I was getting into things I shouldn’t have to cope with that.”

‘Human’ and ‘Would I’ point to a new direction for Lindemann. They both explore issues of excess and insecurity, but in doing so, by acknowledging those parts of herself, they’ve instigated a period of reflection. “I just feel like I’ve become more secure because I know who I am now. In the beginning when I was making music, I didn’t really know who I was,” she says. “I began to feel more secure when I started getting to know myself.”

As 2018’s releases would suggest, Lindemann’s stockpile of tracks is finally getting prepped for release. In fact, she tells me, fans can expect a new offering before the month is up, and then hopefully an album “within the year.” Right now though, in the midst of a tour with fellow musician Sabrina Carpenter, she’s got enough to keep her going. It’s time to reap the rewards of her hard work so far.

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