How does a musician go from singing original songs on YouTube to opening up for singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran on his next tour? It is an accomplishment that belongs to Maisie Peters, a 21-year-old artist from West Sussex, England. In just a few years, Peters has gone from playing on street corners to headlining her own tour in both the U.S and the U.K. With 184,000 subscribers on YouTube and 289,000 followers on Instagram, Peters has slowly begun her rise to the top, aiming to sing among the stars. Peters’ musical talent has also earned her the recognition of Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and more powerhouses in the music industry. In the rapidly growing world of songwriting, the intimacy of Peters’ music should also earn a place on your radar.
I’m Trying to Make It Big
Before releasing her first single, “The Place We Were Made,” on streaming platforms, Peters had spent a year uploading original songs to her YouTube channel. The single is a humble tribute to her hometown and reveals much about the storytelling in Peters’ music. Unlike other artists, Peters’ gentle voice commending the simple and mundane things about her hometown shows her appreciation for the little things. The unembellished and manageable turn into musical mosaics for the young artist. Peters has mentioned that she favors “precision in emotion and in narrative” when it comes to her songwriting, and her early work proves as much.
In 2018, after releasing a handful of singles, Peters released her first extended play on streaming platforms, called “Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket.” The six-song EP introduced one of Peters’ most notable skills — narrative and sonic cohesiveness. Atwood Magazine described the music as possessing the “lyrical prowess of Taylor Swift mixed with the delicate yet fierce vocals of Ed Sheeran,” which ironically summarizes the humble record as a whole.
From the opening track, “In My Head,” listeners see the world through Peters’ eyes; the song demands attention with atmospheric synths and backing guitar — all guided by Peters’ wispy vocals. She also shows her strength in composing deep cuts with her track “Enough For You,” a hypnotizing ballad about falling short of what her lover wanted. The closer of the album, “Feels Like This,” is almost a candid telling of the different sensations of falling for someone. From the tangibility of holding hands to the invisible security of sitting together in silence, Maisie Peters paints the sparkling image of a hopeful love at the end of her first EP.
Her second EP, released in October 2019, is titled “It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral.” The extended play continues the vulnerability of its predecessor, and reviews continue to praise Peters for taking the listener’s hand and leading them on a journey of heavy emotions and intricate lyrics. This second project from Peters shows her daring production, such as techno-bouncy beats that accompany her lyrics in tracks such as “April Showers” and “Look At Me Now.” Peters also takes the opportunity to speak to her listener in “Take Care Of Yourself,” cautioning one to put themselves first, as if it was something she failed to do herself. Her music also allows her listener to understand relationships outside of the romantic with “Personal Best,” a song about her twin sister. Reviews have praised Peters for the diversification of her “musical palette” and calls to “openly feel the ups and downs of life.”
A few months before the release of Peters’ debut album, she became one of the youngest artists in history to compose a soundtrack, specifically for Season 2 of the TV show “Trying.” The album featured nine songs and was released in May 2021. Although the soundtrack was made for the show, which is available exclusively on Apple TV, fans can stream it anywhere. The project earned Peters glowing reviews, especially for the cohesiveness, cheerful beats and sunburst sounds of optimism that complemented the comedic genre of the show. As reviews began to note the refreshing aesthetic of Peters’ sound, anticipation for her upcoming album only grew.
All or Nothing: You Signed Up For This
When the clock struck midnight on Aug. 27, 2021, Peters released her debut album, “You Signed Up For This.” The project is almost twice the size of her three previous endeavors, with 14 songs, and is distributed through Gingerbread Man Records. During the production of the album, Peters used several collaborators, most notably Ed Sheeran, who left his signature on upbeat tracks like “Boy” and the single “Psycho.” The latter track, in fact, is what boosted Peters into popularity, with the video for the song crossing over 5 million views. The album saw commercial success unlike any other of Peters’ projects and received a critic score of 84 on Metacritic. Reviews called it “a pop masterpiece,” as the album merges upbeat sounds reminiscent of the “Trying” soundtrack with the intricate, deep cuts calling back to her roots on YouTube.
Peters did a short tour of her album in record stores across London in the weeks leading up to its release. However, less than a month later, Peters announced her U.S. tour that began in March. From the House of Blues in Houston to Brooklyn’s Music Hall, Peters filled smaller venues with hundreds to thousands of fans who sold out her tour. In a room flooded with purple, blue and orange lights, the distant brass choir of the opening track of “You Signed Up For This” woke the crowd before Peters took the stage. For the next hour, the young singer made the concert feel like a girls’ night in for hundreds. Using a guitar and her three-person band, Peters treated the crowd with tracks from her album, her first two EPs, and a surprise song picked on a whim from the audience.
One Tough Act To Follow
As the tour of America has progressed, Peters has documented moments in each city in the form of a tour diary. In the three-to-six-minute videos, she is candid in her appreciation for not just the experience in a new country but connecting with her fans — connections such as giving out flowers to her fans waiting for doors to open or conducting a chorus serenading her with Taylor Swift after a concert. The atmosphere of the tour diaries emulates that of her concerts — intimate, open and like seeing an old friend. As Insider puts it, Peters has quickly become “the ideal person to seek guidance from when navigating the mercurial music industry.”
Despite writing songs about her deepest feelings, optimism oozes from Peters as she continues to ride out from the sunrise of her career. With her tour of America coming to an end later this month, a new chapter begins as she joins Ed Sheeran on his stadium tour across Europe. Her opening for Sheeran will also feature her playing for five nights in Wembley Stadium, an impressive feat for such a new and upcoming artist. With both catchy and intricate melodies, her musicality will have audiences screaming back her equally detailed lyrics throughout the tour. With an impressive catalog building behind her, Peters’ music will have something for everyone and will demonstrate why she deserves her spot in the public eye as she continues future projects.