photo / Kenneth Edwards
Maude Latour has a multi-layered perspective of the complex and wondrous world around her that many 19-year-olds usually don’t develop until well into their twenties or thirties.
According to her press release, Made, the daughter of two journalists has “lived in London, Stockholm, and Hong Kong and is fluent in both Dutch and Mandarin.” It’s no wonder the Columbia University freshman’s newest single, “Starsick,” is an introspective, philosophical synth-pop thesis on feeling overwhelmed by the infinite vastness of the universe. (Basically: A vapid dancefloor banger this is not.)
Produced by Alexander 23, the twirly-swirly alt-pop track lurches and snaps to the languid beat as Maude waxes poetic (erm, philosophical) over a soft soundbed of electronic twinkles. Inspired by artists like Prince, Abba, No Doubt, Regina Spektor, and the “hyper-melodic performative theater-esque style of Queen,” Maude explains that her melodramatic ode to the cosmos was actually inspired by a fateful trip to Joshua Tree.
“I was actually lying on the roof of a car … looking at a sky filled with millions of stars. It was insane,” she shares. “I felt so overwhelmed by the world, and this idea of being dizzyingly aware of the vastness of the world just hit me. ‘Starsick’ seemed to describe exactly how I felt.”
Below, Maude Latour opens up about her innermost existential crises, her future presidential platforms, balancing studio time with school studies, and those Lorde comparisons that keep popping up.
Was the notion of the existence of a vast nothingness — the universe, the void, the eternal — your first existential crisis?
Oh, 100%. I think kids have pretty real existential crises, because they haven’t learned how to ignore the big questions adults spend their lifetimes ignoring. When you are young and learning about what it means to be alive, that is when you get into these states of total grasp of life’s fleetingness and pointlessness. Adults have a way of focusing on life and its tangible properties: being a member of society, careers, legacy. Kids are still grappling with the thought that they aren’t going to live forever, or that there was a time before their existence.
How did you cope with that revelation?
I used to try to explain it to people. I used to say, “You know how you can picture black holes?” and people only sometimes knew. In all honesty it is a lifelong journey to learn to cope with it. But acknowledging our transcendence allows us to have beautiful moments that are only special because they are fleeting and that’s what this song is about. It is the idea of our transcendence that is also required in order for us to have beautiful moments as well.
What role did your best friend, Morgan, have in terms of inspiration for the song?
This song was a birthday present for her… hence the “happy birthday, baby” in the second verse. It’s all about her, because she is someone that I’ve shared so many infinite moments of acknowledging life’s transcendence. Morgan is someone who “sees things like I do,” just like the song says. Feeling so close to someone is the biggest blessing of my life. She has been by my side for the past few years… for every important moment, no matter what; I am so, so grateful. She’s been the first person I call for so many moments, she’s been in the front row of every show, made everyone I date jealous of our untouchable closeness. We are star-crossed soulmates, it is the friendship of a lifetime.
Your sound has been lightly compared to Lorde. How do you feel about that sort of comparison?
It’s a wonderful compliment. Lorde’s lyrics were the words I didn’t know how to say in high school… she was the soundtrack to my growing up. Her voice is also so expressive and translates to my brain so much. I love that you can hear her influence in my voice, that’s an amazing compliment. Bowie, another one of my idols, believed that Lorde was the future of music. Lorde is part of something so much bigger than just being connected to her signature style: she is part of a group of artists that weren’t singing about superficial things, who used lyrical heavy phrases and put their writing first, who challenged the cookie-cutter ideas of voice and tone and melody. I am sure as I grow I will change and be influenced by many things, and many original things as well. Who knows what the future holds?
You’re currently studying PoliSci among other things at Columbia. How has university impacted you as an artist and vice versa?
Choosing a major is close to impossible, I haven’t totally committed to anything. Some crossover of history, philosophy, poli-sci, religion… I’m not sure! But going to school is so essential to my project right now. I’m answering the same questions through class as I try to answer through music. What is it like to be human, what makes that feeling of transcendence come alive, why are we here? My artist project is so much more than a musical project. It is growing into an interdisciplinary kaleidoscope of things that I hope to spend my life growing. I want to build a green energy company and facilitate a full-on peaceful consciousness revolution. The world is on the brink of a new form of religion and revolution. I have no doubt these things are in the world’s future.
Is it challenging to navigate school FT alongside a music career? What’s the key to not getting overwhelmed?
If you find the key, let me know! Honestly, my followers help me get through things… I am so open about my stress and we all try to share what we are going through. Um, the key…. I am overwhelmed, for sure. Thus far I haven’t found the key. I just keep pushing through. Like harder than I’ve ever pushed for anything. I don’t even know. I guess I let my tension out on stage when I scream and sweat into the audience. I love school, though. I love music. I really don’t know. Taking a rest just isn’t really an option. I write in my journal. I’ve always written in a journal.
You’ve also lived in some very cool places around the world. How have those experiences of living abroad influenced you as a songwriter/artist?
I have been so fortunate to follow my parents around the world. They are such bold and curious people, I am so grateful for how they raised me. They definitely made me adaptable. I think moving so much helped me create storylines for the eras I was going through… they helped me learn to put things into words because I had a level of abstraction while looking at where my life was, since I always knew how quickly it changed. I am so used to change—I’ve had over 15 different bedrooms, I can make anywhere home. It definitely taught me a lot about people… Wow, I have met so many people! [There have] definitely been some commitment issues to match that, but I have met and lost so many people from moving. It made me love moments that felt fleeting and transcendent. It made me independent. It made me bold, fearless… I am such a dreamer and an idealist. I truly think world peace is possible! I have no doubt I will spend my life making that dream come to fruition!
In your press release, it states you want to be the “first president to perform at their own inauguration.” If you were president, what policies and platforms would you fight for?
Oh, man. Well, that’s why I’m in school, so I can answer that question truly to the best of my ability. But so so many things, it’s impossible to truly summarize. America is an… interesting place. From immigration to education to healthcare to tariffs to abortion… there are infinite things that need to be brought to the national spotlight and discussed in a different way than we have ever tried. We are so incredibly divided we have lost all of our ability to humanize each other and the situations and circumstances people are in. There is a spiritual or human change that needs to come from our ability to understand each other that has been largely left out of politics but absolutely needs to be brought back into it. But today I will say sustainability is more important than music. People live so wastefully and literally, no one is listening to how dire the situation is. I am working on ways to integrate that into my platform, but the problem is something that needs an entire revolution in order to address. We need to put all of our attention on the Earth. There is something seriously terrible happening that is bigger than all of us.
What’s next for you?
[I’ll be in] L.A. for the summer before school in the fall. I have a show at Madame Siam on July 16. Not using straws, recycling like it’s my sole job on this planet (‘cause it is), yelling at people using straws (just kidding, I say it really nicely), writing songs, trying to find the meaning of life, in an existential crisis consistently. Yep. That’s about it.
Photo / Lola Lafia
CONNECT WITH MAUDE: