MAAD exudes both inner and outer beauty the second you meet her, and her music follows suit. Whether she’s singing, songwriting, modeling, dancing, or deejaying, her daily goal is to create, to share, and to inspire. Born in New York but raised in New Jersey, the “Eventually” recording artist was heavily influenced by her mother who’s a stylist, and her father who’s a musician. Pulling from both realms and intertwining her love for both fashion and music, the end result is match made in heaven.
Through her experiences as a DJ, MAAD was able to establish her name in the entertainment industry, releasing 2 EPs as a solo artist: 2017’s Lé Funk and 2018’s Technicolor. Her sound transcends genres, pulling influences from R&B, soul, hip-hop, pop, and her favorite, disco.
Fast forward to today, MAAD has been utilizing her time in quarantine to the best of her ability, creating and even taking online vocal classes from famed vocal coach Stevie Mackey. Fans are currently waiting patiently for her highly-anticipated forthcoming EP titled Eventually Pt. 1, spearheaded by the project’s lead single of the same name. Flaunt premieres her new single titled “Get By,” chatting with MAAD about how she got her start, the meaning behind the new project, love for fashion, goals, and more!
What’s the meaning behind your name?
My mom used to call me Mademoiselle when I was younger. As time went on, I realized a lot of people normally don’t know how to pronounce it so I shortened it up and made it my own. I’m mad about life and fashion, shout out to my mom.
Being born in New York and raised in Jersey, what was the household like growing up?
My friends from New York would always come at me: “you were born here, but you’re not really from here if you live in New Jersey.” For some reason, people think New Jersey is this little island that’s really hard to get to. It’s 30 minutes, I get to the city back and forth real easy. Obviously it’s a nightmare when you’re tired and don't feel like driving, it does feel like 2 hours when it’s 30 minutes. I love Jersey. Jersey made me super creative, I had tons of time. What else is there to do in New Jersey, except for learn and grow? I liked Jersey. I also then moved back to New York and lived in Brooklyn for a couple of years, then my friends didn't complain anymore. [chuckles]
Your mom was a stylist, and your dad was a musician. How did that play into your life and career?
Tremendously. My mom used to take me on set with her all the time. Being around fashion studios, seeing how things come together on set is what I use in my everyday — from when I produce videos to styling my own photoshoots to connecting the dots where I can reach out to makeup artists, stylists, photographers, videographers and get shit done. I appreciate my mom for that. My father’s a beautiful singer, he ended up meeting my mom in the whole fashion world as well. That became his life, he’s very proud of me to still be pursuing it and still going. I love that I was a melting pot of both of them, that’s really cool. Shout out to them.
At what point did you realize you wanted to do music as a career?
It’s so funny, I was looking at a 5th grade yearbook once. I don’t remember putting this but it said “future occupation” and I wrote a singer, which to me maybe I knew something already? My focus in high school and middle school was really being a dancer. I went to Dance Theatre of Harlem, I took Tap, Jazz, Modern, Pointe. Once I got out of high school, I thought “let me start doing some songwriting and see where it takes me.” I always wanted to be a singer, I didn’t necessarily know how to get into it. After high school, I’m like “I’m out of here, I’m gone.” It’s been cool, an interesting journey to say the least.
How’s the independent grind?
The independent grind is interesting because it's literally self-funded to the max. If I’m not working then I’m not funding, which is why I’m so grateful for deejaying. Deejaying has really opened doors for me to work with different brands.
I didn’t even know you were a DJ! That’s awesome.
I‘ve been deejaying for 5 or 6 years now, it’s been great. I got to go to Cannes Lions with Spotify, I opened up for Nas, Swizz Beats, Bebe Rexha. For music, it's been a connecting the dots thing. I ended up performing at WorldPride and LA pride with MNEK. That was such a large audience, I’m like “how did I get here?” It’s cool to visualize those things and see them happen. I’m working on getting some major support distribution-wise in the near future.
You just released “Eventually,” who or what inspired this one?
It’s crazy, I noticed with a couple of songs on this project that they’re talking to the current situation and the time we’re in now. “Eventually” was all about the journey of life, us eventually reaching our destination no matter how difficult. Every time I listen to the words of the songs, I get closer and closer to them because they feel so now, which is wild.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from this record?
I want them to feel good, to feel inspired. I really did my best on this project to make people feel self-aware, self-love, appreciation, growth. It's a lot of things I even went through on this project, so I want people to feel good. I want people to know if they’re focused on something, that they can get to it.
Why is it important to enjoy the ride?
Man, the ride is a good one. Sometimes you go on these road trips, you hit some bumpy ass spots on the road. But then you’re like okay, it wasn’t that bad. In the moment, it feels like the worst thing in the world. You have to be able to get past those hurdles and bumps, and you’ll be alright.
How’d you fall in love with disco?
I love disco. My mom used to tell me about Studio 54 (in New York) all the time. My love for it got so crazy that I started putting out a project called Lé Funk. I wanted to feel like I need disco vibes, I need to feel the glamour. They seem so free. I liked how free and liberated they were in disco, so I try to tie that into my music every now and then.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I love me some fashion. It’s so much fun, you’re able to be whoever you want to be that day. For me, my obsession lately has been blazers. I want blazers with good shoulders, I want a strong boxy blazer. Fashion, you’re able to be who you want to be and it’s okay to play with it. Sometimes I put looks together where I’m like “I don’t really know if this is the one,” but that's the outfit where people say “oh my God I love it.” I look crazy, but thank you.
Do you style yourself?
Definitely. A friend of mine is a stylist in New York but since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve been styling myself. Reaching out to different showrooms and designers, building those connections. It’s been very helpful. I’ve styled a couple of my videos now, a couple of my cover shoots for my upcoming project. It’s been a lot. It’s been cool.
That’s the good thing about being independent, you have creative control.
It’s very true. I hope there’s a way to get in a major situation and still have that control because I’ve seen with a lot of my friends, they start to feel they’ve lost control. They don't know exactly what their next steps are, they don't know when they can release music. Hopefully the industry can find that balance to give people money, but also let them do their thing. We’ll see.
I love your earrings. What are some jewelry accessories you can’t leave the house without?
Oh man, my rings. I usually have on more than this. I always wear my little MAAD nameplate. Usually, I might put on little gold hoops. I’m all about the gold hoops but if I want to have a statement, I’m going to give you an earring.
I see you’ve been active on Triller.
Yes, I fucking love Triller. Triller is so much fun because you get to do these tiny little videos. My homegirl put me on that you can actually edit them and switch the order, which I didn't know before. Girl, I was clicking Shuffle every time. You swipe up and there’s a part where you can specifically move the videos so you can have whatever you want. If you really want to go there, it’s cute.
Favorite person to follow on IG?
That’s a hard one. There’s so many exciting people on Instagram. I followed this girl today, her name’s Sarah Feingold. She does really cool makeup. She’s so artsy with what she posts, I’m like “alright girl, you cute.” Everything’s a self-portrait, which is pretty cool. I love following Mugler, this designer I love. Who doesn’t want...? [gasps]
What do you want people to take away from your platform?
I’m a very hard-working, free-spirited individual. I want to work hard, but I also want to have fun. I want to have fun with my friends! Whenever I get to see them again. I try and mix it up. I try to be fun and be serious. I try to inspire, I try to give insight. I typically respond to a lot of my DMs, especially people who have things they want to ask. I also have time, so here we are.
Who are your top artists in rotation?
Donna Missal, love her. She’s so good. I love Nao. I’ve been listening to a lot of Channel Tres.
My friend Luke James, we were on tour together.
How was touring for Luke James?
So much fun. I opened for him and he had me deejay for him, so I was literally on stage the entire time. It was great, my first tour. It was fun. Luke and I have been good friends forever. One day, he hit me like “hey, I’m about to go on my To Feel Love/d tour. Do you want to come?” Yes. We did 8 different cities, which was pretty cool. New Orleans was by far my favorite because 1) I’ve never been there before. 2) I’m like “this is great, y’all got all the good food. It’s culture, it’s music.” It was cool. I’m ready to go back on tour.
What can we expect with your new single “Get By”?
“Get By” is another feel-good record. Again, it goes with our current state of the world. I really hope it uplifts people, I hope it gets their spirits moving. I hope they really listen to the words because we touch on hardships, but also how to get by them.
Goals for yourself?
Man, tour. I can't wait to go back on tour. Touring definitely opens you up to different audiences. They get to meet you first-hand, they get to feel your energy rather than streaming a song. Streams are great because you can still feel people through their music, but there’s nothing like being able to personally connect with people. So many people from Luke’s tour literally hit me up all day long and want to talk, they’re so happy they met me. Those people are some of my top supporters. Touring is key. I’d love to do festivals, I can’t wait. I’m a performer, I want to perform. I want to be in front of people, I want to give energy. Continuing to put out music and growing myself as an artist.
What can we expect from your forthcoming EP Eventually Pt. 1?
It’s going to obviously be a 2-part project. Eventually Pt. 1 is dedicated to self-love, 100%. I have a record on there called “ILM,” which stands for I Love Myself. It's smooth. The project’s going to inspire people, that's my favorite word. I want to inspire people all the time. It’s going to make people feel good, sometimes sexy. They’re going to hear the honesty of my songs. This is the first project where I actually tapped in different sides of myself, rather than being this super high energy, funny person all the time. They’ll definitely get a different side of me.
Anything else you want to let us know?
I’m excited. I’m excited this project’s coming out. Also crazy the project’s coming out right now, but hopefully people are listening to music and it opens up their hearts and minds.
Photographer | Myai Anthony
Stylist | Peri Rosenzweig
Makeup | Eliven Quiros
Hair | Lauryn Tullio