Canada has created plenty of pop stars. Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, and Bryan Adams are just a few names that immediately come to mind. Another one that you should keep your eyes (and ears) on? Maggie Szabo.
The Ontario-born singer-songwriter has been captivating audiences across the world with soulful vocals and empowering pop anthems. With a new EP and more music on the way, she’s on her way to the top with no signs of slowing down. IndustryMe got the chance to talk to her about her new releases, the Canadian music scene, and more.
You’ve recently released your latest EP, Rebuild – let’s talk about that. What was it like recording it?
I can confidently say writing and recording ‘Rebuild’ during these times definitely made the experience much different than I could have imagined. I definitely had to adapt to working on some of the songs more independently, which was actually a really great learning experience for me. That’s what inspired me to produce “Sail Away” on my own. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone which is what I really loved about this EP. It was also important for me that the music represented strength and self-love, and there were definitely a lot more sources for inspiration for that than I could’ve bargained for when I started working on it.
Each track is, of course, a must-listen, but what’s your absolute favorite?
Why, thank you! This is a tough one because I truly love each song equally in its own way. “Rebuild” is a special one for me because the music video is very near and dear to my heart, and the lyrics for that song is what inspired its narrative to come to fruition. “Rebuild” was always about strength and resilience, but having my friend Kathryn star in it and share her story really brought out a whole new meaning that I never could’ve imagined.
One of the coolest things about the EP are the stripped down, acoustic versions of “Sail Away” and “My Oh My.” It’s sort of like really baring your soul in a way, right? What inspired you to share these versions of the songs?
I absolutely love performing acoustic versions of songs because it feels much more intimate to me and it showcases the song the way it was while it was being written – before the production brought it to the finish line. I’ve always loved acoustic versions of songs, but I never knew if my listeners would like it or not, to be honest. In the last year I decided to stop holding back from certain things out of fear, and that’s really what made me decide to release these acoustic versions. It was more for myself than anything!
“This Is Life,” one of the singles, made it to Spotify’s New Music Friday Canada and Pop All Day lists. That’s incredible! How did that feel? Does it add any pressure to do it again?
Thank you! Yes, to have Spotify recognize one of my songs in that way was truly a ‘pinch-me’ moment. It definitely adds a degree of pressure for every release moving forward though because I want every song I put out to get the same amount of love!
You’ve been making music for a few years now. How has your process changed since you began? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
I started making music long before moving to Los Angeles, and living here has changed my process a lot. I started out writing songs on my own, and now I’m lucky enough to have some really amazing producers in my circle that I’m able to show up in the studio with and collaborate on not only the writing of the song but where to take the production. That’s been a lot of fun for me. I wish I knew back then that it’s important to experiment with different styles and directions. I started out with very organic pop, and finally, I made it to where I am now which is pop and electronic, and that’s definitely where I feel most at home with my music.
It’s been a crazy year and a half. How have you stayed sane and musically inspired?
The past year and a half has offered a lot of inspiration, to be honest. And music is the thing that has kept me sane! I produced my first song during this time, and trying new things out of my comfort zone has been a really good distraction from everything else going on.
You’re originally from Canada. What’s the Ontario music scene like? How is it different from, say, the LA scene?
There are so many talented musicians and artists from Ontario, and what I love about it is that there are so many amazing artists doing so many different genres – it isn’t just one style or direction. There’s folk, there’s hip hop, there’s pop, there’s rock and that creates a really eclectic scene. I would say the biggest difference between here and back home is that LA is just such a big city, and there are so many people here from all around the world. There’s never a shortage of new people to work with.
Are there any Canadian artists in particular that you find inspiring?
I grew up listening to Bryan Adams, and he has always been one of my favourite artists.
2021 is far from over. What can we expect from you this year and in the near future?
So much! I’m putting the finishing touches on my next single now. I also have a live streaming show coming up on Sept. 2 which I am very excited about and I hope to be doing in-person shows as well! Lots more music, videos and shows on the way!