Tête-à-Tête: Rising Pop Queen Mabel

The "Mad Love" singer talks mental health and using her platform to spread positivity.
Reading time 5 minutes

In Tête-à-Tête, L'Officiel USA gets into the celebrity psyche by asking stars to tell us what's on their minds right now. 

Climbing the charts all the way from London, 23-year-old pop sensation Mabel is ferociously claiming a prominent place in today’s music scene. With her debut album High Expectations dropping this summer, there’s nothing but excitement in the air surrounding the highly talented vocalist. Two singles from the album, “Don’t Call Me Up” and “Mad Love”, are already blasting highly-acclaimed, melodic sound waves across the world, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. 

Behind Mabel’s phenomenal pop anthems, high-production music videos and vibrantly colored wigs, there’s so much more to explore. Entering the public eye only four years ago with her first single “Know Me Better”, Mabel has done some major soul-searching and truly come to know her authentic self. She's definitely had her fair share of struggles and opens up about the way those hardships shape and mold her creative mind. We had the chance to chat with her about this journey, and she delved deeper into the very important topic of mental health. Read what Mabel had to tell us below:

Mad Love

Being vulnerable doesn't make you weak. I've struggled with anxiety, particularly social anxiety, growing up. It was crippling in my teenage years. When I was younger, I kind of carried the weight of the world on my shoulders, we can go into that. It kind of got really deep career-wise around maybe three years ago when I kind of had the wrong team around me. It was before I met the manager that I have now. So I put a song out that was an important piece of the puzzle and I put the song out and everything happened really quickly. 

I signed a record deal to Universal, which is obviously one of the biggest record labels in the world, and all of a sudden I was getting played on the radio. It was a small sort of amount of success back home, but I still had people looking at me whilst I was trying to create. There was interest from radio and things like that. I kind of wasn't ready. I was still young, I was only 19 when I signed my record deal, so I was figuring out who I was as a person and figuring out my sound. 

The team I had was pushing me in a direction that wasn't really completely me. I think the first song I put out sort of had elements of where they were trying to take me, but it wasn't me a hundred percent. I just had this fear of letting them down, letting fans down, letting my record label down, and then I kind of woke up one day and was like "Oh, I'm letting myself down because I'm not exploring all these other parts of who I am musically." 

When I sort of parted ways with that team and I guess was really honest with myself that there was a whole other side to who I am and my sound that I needed to explore is when I made my most successful records. 

The biggest realization for me is realizing that it's okay to not be okay and that it's not about pushing those emotions away or how do I get rid of anxiety or how do I say that it's about sometimes just living with it and speaking to people about it and being like "Hey guys, I'm feeling this way today" and maybe you just need to feel that way. Obviously, don't be sad every day, but sometimes it's just really good to feel that way and it's actually a powerful emotion, and I don't understand why people are so afraid of it, afraid of showing vulnerability and crying.

Doing things like this, or on stage, always trying to have a second where I'm like just like "Okay guys, I know that we want to party and everybody wants to dance and have a good time, but let's just get real for a minute. I'm no different to you, you're not different to me." I have a song called "Okay" which I sing in my set now. It's just about that. I call it the anxiety anthem because I just think that we need to see it as a superpower and see it as something that's pretty cool.

One of the things, definitely now, with this album (High Expectations), with who I am right now over the next few years or whatever, I just want to make people feel good about themselves. I lacked a lot of confidence growing up and I've gained so much confidence from performing and making my debut album, which is coming out this year.  I think if there's anything I can give back to people, it's the confidence that I've gained from making the album, and I think you can hear it on the record. I want to give that back to people, I want people to be feeling themselves when they hear the tunes. Even the vulnerable ones, a little deeper about anxiety and stuff. I want to make people feel like they're less alone and like "I'm fucking sick." That's what I want people to feel when they've listened to my record, like "I'm really cool." I want people to just feel themselves and just be confident. I want people to feel confident about who they are.

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