Maude Latour, full-time student at Columbia and full-time musician, spares no detail when creating her music. From lyrics about collegiate relationships to philosophical revelations, her lyrics extremely personal while also staying universally relatable. Last year, she released her first EP titled Starsick EP. During the crazy year of 2020, Latour hasn’t slowed down on writing and releasing music. She’s put out three singles with music videos for each: “Furniture,” “One More Weekend,” and most recently “Block Your Number.” Not to mention, all while keeping up with course-work and getting through a global pandemic.
Latour has a personal connection with her listeners that she cultivates through social media. On Instagram, her fans confess their secrets and provide feedback on music, lyrics, merch, and more. Her music is influenced by a range of artists, genres, and moods but still feels unique in every way. In her latest single, “Block Your Number,” Latour combines different sonic moods and sounds to create a track full of clever lyrics, intricate details, and euphoric emotions. Read our conversation to get to know Latour’s personality, the ways she wants to impact her listeners, and how she feels about being compared to artists she loves, like Lorde!
I know you moved around a lot as a kid, where did you live? Do you think living abroad and being surrounded by many different cultures growing up has affected your music?
I was born in Sweden, then moved to London, then New York and then Hong Kong from 5th grade and then moved back to New York for high school. I think it brought me to a real desire to capture and narrate stories. It provoked a scrapbooking/journaling type of desire, you know? Of collecting memories and lessons, bottling things up into finite packages from moving and reflecting so often on the past. That’s the main influence, but it did always push me to sing because every time I went to a new school I’d be like “Where’s the choir?” They were the first group of people I would talk to and so that’s always how I made friends. So maybe moving around a lot made me choose my “thing” a little faster.
You use social media differently than most artists and interact a lot with your fans about their personal lives and not just about music. How do you think that forging these relationships has influenced your work?
I do think they both come from the same mission. I think my ultimate mission is outside of music. It’s more of recognizing oneness between people, a practice of introspection and self-awareness. Every person figuring out their meaning, what they need to do, and feeling clear within them. I think I write the music to bring out my deepest core but I think also on my Instagram, you know I do polls, asking people what’s going on in their life. I think that comes from the same desire of we’re all similar. Like, whatever you think is your deepest secret that you think you can’t tell anyone, whatever you’re struggling with at night while you fall asleep, someone else is going through that exact same thing and you can say it out loud. We can navigate it and we can talk about it. I think the music makes you feel a bit like that too. I feel like I’m really open about the details of my life and it’s to make you feel like “Oh I’m normal too and I am who I am.”
Your songs have so many little details (ex: bike spokes at the end of “Ride My Bike”), what do those add to your music?
I love the details like that. I mean that’s my favorite part of it, putting the little secrets in. It gives it meaning for me. My dream for my career is to have a group of people who will analyze the music to the highest extent, people who will listen to it a hundred times and look for all of those secrets. Like the way I listen to Lorde’s music when I’m searching so hard for these little delicacies slipped within, that’s where I find my favorite moments in music. I love them so much.
Since you’re a full-time philosophy major at Columbia University and most artists either drop out of school or finish remotely, how do these two important aspects of your life affect your music?
I like to be going through my life, and music is how I go through my life. I like how if my whole music world fell away I’d still have my whole life, which is relieving in some moments. But, I do think this student mentality is really ingrained into me. I love school, I think I’m the kind of person who will try to stay in school as long as possible. I do like this beginner’s mind mentality that they talk a lot about at my college: to approach everything as a beginner. When I’m at school I feel like I’m soaking in all of this information. I’m honestly in every class to just get inspired, that’s my mission when I’m at school and it’s the same practice as with music. It’s about collecting details and collecting anything that feels meaningful. So, for me school and music feel so aligned in giving to each other. It’s really just jotting things in the margins and soaking up anything. I’m in poetry classes, linguistic classes, philosophy classes, art history classes and they all feed into the music. It feels very centered, intentional, and free flowing. I’m happy with the set up, for sure.
Who’s your dream producer to work with?
I think I know the answer to this question, but who is your dream collaboration?
Honestly I’d say The Strokes. I think it would be a cool balance, we’d make something cool together for sure.
I love it, I was not expecting that.
Who did you think, Lorde?
I think we’re too similar. Like it would just be Lorde squared. But The Strokes would be organic, something new.
That leads into the next question, how does it feel to be compared and in the same conversations as artists like Lorde and Taylor Swift? How does that feel for you?
Honestly, pretty dope. Overall, it’s the best feeling ever. Those are the people, Lorde specifically, that showed me in songwriting “Oh you can write about this, and you can add details.” She (Lorde) birthed this nostalgia pop. I’ve gone through phases of feeling confused about why people think it’s such a compliment to sound like Lorde. Like, anyone can sound like Lorde. And then I had a producer once say, “No it’s because they get the same feeling as when they listen to a Lorde song.” That’s great. And Taylor, I feel we’re similar in the perfect pop-ness of it. She gives a powerful perspective and opens up about her emotions in detail, it’s such a flattering comparison. But, I’m so new to the world I feel like I’m going to evolve so much in sound. I definitely think I’ll get to a place where people don’t say one name when they hear me. But I think people want to say, “Oh this sounds like this.” right away to get used to it and of course if I could choose anyone it would be them so, that’s okay.
What do you want people to take away from your music and songwriting?
My first reaction to the question is that it would be disingenuous to say that I’m doing this to put out music and think “I hope everyone feels like they can be themselves.” It’s super selfish, I’m only putting it out and thinking “This is the best song I’ve ever written!” I think it’s more true to say I’m not thinking of the audience and I like that. It’s just my world that I’m bringing to life. But, if that’s true then I’d say: Whatever your life is, it is a full world. It’s a full, magical world of your creation and you own every detail. You deserve to know your emotions to the deepest extent, to live in them completely and explore your existence one hundred percent. It will only bring you closer to other people.
Make sure to check out Latour’s music and listen to her latest release, “Block Your Number!”
Featured Image: Instagram (@maudelstatus) and Zayira Ray Photography