Sounds of Scandinavia: Maximillian
Meet the burgeoning melodist with velvet-like vocals
This story appears in the pages of the VMAN x Copenhagen Fashion Week Zine inside VMAN 49: The Fall/Winter 2022 issue—now available for purchase!
“I first started making noises when I was three years old. Back then it wasn’t really singing but more like a kid who was trying to get your attention,” jokes Maxmillian, the rising Danish artist who has been garnering musical attention beyond the outskirts of the region. “But, I’ve always wanted to sing. I think music saved me from making more stupid decisions and shaped me into becoming the person I am today.” Having garnered over 2 million monthly listeners since the dawning of his first single “Higher” back in 2017, the R&B-pop darling has no issue baring his soul with a vulnerability that soothes the aching hearts of youth everywhere, all the while opening up to his listeners with each fragile lyric. “My emotions are real and I do put a lot of that into my songwriting. But, I’m growing up like everyone else, and I’m still learning about love and life,” he states. “When I was younger, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my problems so I know how much it’s worth to be able to spill out all your feelings to someone. We gotta help each other when it comes to emotions.” Now with a spotlight burning brighter with each release, Maximilian is helping define a new sound of Copenhagen. “I’ve had the thought for so long of ‘why in the world doesn’t music sound the same everywhere?’ But I think it’s amazing that it doesn’t sound similar everywhere, because then there’s so much more music to explore!”
Discover an extended Q+A with Maximillian and VMAN’s Digital & Beauty Editor Kevin Ponce, below!
VMAN: Let’s talk a bit about your origin story—what made you want to get into music?
Maximillian: I started making noises when I was 3 years old. Back then, it wasn’t really singing but more like a kid who was trying to get your attention (*laughs*) but I’ve always wanted to sing and I really loved Michael Jackson when I was a kid. My mom went out and bought me a blazer and a white glove so I could jump around at home and pretend to be him. All in all, music has always been a big part of me and that will never change.
VM: Is music something you’ve always wanted to do even in your early years?
M: Yeah 100%. When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be like a pop star with all the sparkly jackets, kind of like the ones Michael and Prince would be wearing.
VM: What was your childhood/upbringing like?
M: I made a lot of stupid decisions when I was a kid, and my parents were fighting a lot. Having said that, my childhood was great, I had fun. I also think music saved me in a way, from making more stupid decisions, and that shaped me into becoming the person I am today.
VM: Did you surround yourself with music and art a lot?
M: Not really, music has never been something that I saw as art in a way. For me, it’s a feeling. Like when you see a movie you don’t think you’ll like, but it surprises you and you find out it is actually amazing. Actual art like paintings in a museum doesn’t have a massive impact on me. I don’t get emotional about it. But music can give me goosebumps, and I love that. Imagine a world without music, no thanks. (*laughs*)
VM: Your lyrics seem to capture the growing pains of life, love, and everything in between. How often do you find yourself tapping into personal experiences for each track?
M: Well, my emotions are real and I do put a lot of that into my songwriting. And the stories are personal too. Some being experiences I’ve had myself, others being observations I’ve made from and with my surroundings. But listen, I’m growing up as everyone else, I’m still learning about love & life, and no one has all the answers anyway, right? So, I’m excited to see what it brings. Life. It’s a crazy ass roller coaster that no one has any control over whatsoever, and that’s great, to be honest.
VM: What do you hope your impact will be in music? What do you hope your listeners can take away from hearing your music?
M: I just hope that my listeners hear my lyrics and get some kind of relief in their daily lives. I want to be the shoulder to cry on in a way. When I was younger, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my problems, so I know how much it’s worth to be able to spill out all your feelings to someone. We gotta help each other when it comes to emotions.
VM: How would you define the sound of Copenhagen? What do you think makes the Scandinavian sound and energy different than other locations in the world?
M: To be honest, I have no clue on how to define the sound of Copenhagen. It’s a vibe. I think it’s a great vibe, but I’ve had the thought for so long: why in the world doesn’t music sound the same everywhere? (*laughs*) Cultural differences obviously. But I also think it’s amazing that it doesn’t sound similar everywhere, because then there’s so much more music to explore! One thing defining the emotional state around here–and might be reflecting the music–is the weather. It’s dark and grey around here for about 6 months during winter. That clearly tend to set a melancholic vibe, I guess.
VM: Having released Still Alive + Too Young, and just recently the new single “When Scars Become Art ll”, when can we expect to see more albums and possibly a tour?
M: I’ll be traveling around Southeast Asia this summer to meet fans and perform live. After ‘Beautiful Scars’ made an impact in that region I haven’t been able to travel because of Covid. So this will be my first trip out there and I’m super excited about that. Also, new music is ready to drop in the fall while working on a new album that will be out next year.