Maggie Schneider instantly turns up the pop-punk heat.
The Atlanta pop-punk singer-songwriter explodes on her latest fiery duet, “For Me It’s You,” with longtime friend and fellow collaborator Jack Wachtel.
“We wrote it about my friendship and relationship with Jack,” said Schneider, who co-wrote the single with her mother. “It’s about people always having your back and knowing that you have friends to count on and being a friend for other people that they can count on.”
The energetic track features soaring electric guitars, vibrant acoustic strums, gigantic cymbal crashes and melodic piano as Schneider reveals, “You were always there, but never mine/Not the right place, not the right time/We have to start crossing that line now/I need you now.”
In response, Wachtel claims, “I’ve always been on the outside looking in/What’s done is in the past/We can make this last, if you wanna.”
Coincidentally, “For Me It’s You,” does look to the past. This heartfelt duet originally appeared as an acoustic version on Schneider’s 2016 debut EP, Insomniac. Nearly four years later, Schneider decided to relaunch it into the pop-punk musical stratosphere with Alex Downtain (lead guitar), Alex Norrell (rhythm guitar), Jeremy Russell (bass), Ari Patwary (bass) and Wachtel.
“That was a song that I really wanted to save, and I wanted to re-release it in a full-band format. I brought it into the studio, and I was like, ‘I want this to have a lot more energy. I want it to be modernized and fixed up a little bit,’ so I invited Jack once again,” she said.
“When we wrote the song, I always had Jack’s voice in mind, and we were in previous band projects together and met in a punk-rock musical called ‘Spring Awakening.’ We’re super happy to bring it back and have it refreshed.”
‘Mixed Signals’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me’
“For Me It’s You” is the latest in a series of electrifying emotive releases from Schneider. Last year, she dropped the poppy breakup anthem, “Mixed Signals,” which blends lo-fi piano, mesmerizing synths, thumping drums and spirited electric guitars. Schneider poetically confronts her two-faced suitor, “The awkward silence/Voicemail tones/The I-miss-yous/You need to know/I hate your mixed signals.”
“I didn’t have a particular experience in mind, but I wanted to write something that was relatable to me and the different relationships and friendships that I’ve had and that could also be relatable to everyone else,” she said.
“Mixed Signals” also features a refreshing, fun video directed by Deanna Elise about three couples experiencing romantic relationship struggles in an Atlanta coffee shop. One partner angrily confronts another who’s keeping secrets while on-screen text messages reveal hidden motives.
“We loved shooting that one, and she’s so fun to collaborate with. The idea we had was to do a one-take video and showcase three couples going through different versions of ‘Mixed Signals,’” said Schneider with a laugh.
Schneider confronts another personal struggle in “Don’t Tell Me,” an introspective ballad fused with crunching electric guitars, delicate drums, hypnotic piano and rhythmic bass. It serves as a pro-authenticity anthem as Schneider upholds her true identity, “Don’t tell me who to be/I was young and naïve, just past 17/I’ve thought about us, and I really believe I’m done being anyone else but me.”
She teamed up with Deanna Elise again to direct the “Don’t Tell Me” video, which includes snippets of Schneider singing alone in her apartment intertwined with a full-band live performance.
“‘Don’t Tell Me’ is all about me and the situations I’ve gone through regarding people telling me, and I know it happens to other artists, and whether it’s a professional thing or a friendship thing, people telling others what to do, and the kind of person you should be, and the kind of career you should be going for,” Schneider said.
“I was tossing and turning one night and thinking about all of those things, and just immediately lyrics started flooding my mind, and I started writing it down, and within the next day, I finished the song.”
‘Pretend’ and ‘Tinted Glasses’
Schneider continues her tradition of powerful duets with Emerson Vernon, aka Wolfi, on the lighthearted, romantic 2018 track, “Pretend.” High-tone electric guitars and bright synths beautifully harmonize with Schneider as she sings, “Boy, you’re ignorant/Don’t stick to this/I think you might be delirious/I’m indifferent, I like the innocence of this/But I’ll admit that I’m curious.”
“I’m very fortunate to have so many amazing friends who are also singers, and it’s always fun,” she said. “Definitely expect more duets like the one I have with Jack, and there’s one with Nick Peña’s voice on it as well.”
In 2018, she also joined forces with All Time Low’s Rian Dawson on her second vibrant EP, Tinted Glasses. The pop-punk drummer produced Schneider’s four-track project, which includes the nostalgic, “695 North Avenue” and the stripped-down “Chuck Bass” with The Everyday Anthem’s Nick Peña.
“Rian’s such a supportive person, and I had the opportunity to go into the studio with one of my friend’s previous projects, which is called The Everyday Anthem. That’s how I was introduced to Rian, and I co-wrote and sang on a song of theirs,” she said. “That was just a really surreal experience, and he invited me back. With that in mind, I start writing and co-writing songs for Tinted Glasses with my collaborators, including Nick Peña.”
For “695 North Avenue,” the catchy Tinted Glasses opener, Schneider provides a spirited tribute to the original address of Atlanta’s historic venue, The Masquerade. She solders brilliant guitars with steady drums and driving bass to commemorate a figurative part of her musical evolution, “We spend our nights/Coloring outside the lines/To hell with all the traffic signs/Writing our own storylines/You are the piece of my heart/The one that makes me whole.”
“I feel like I grew up at The Masquerade, and I met so many of my best friends there. I’ve had so many great memories there that I felt like I had to write something in honor of them,” Schneider said. “I met the majority of my bandmates there, I’ve seen my favorite bands there, I got to headline there. It’s definitely a super special place.”
Starting and Evolving in Atlanta
The Masquerade wasn’t the only place that served as Schneider’s stomping grounds in Atlanta. Her creative journey started in local theaters, where she starred in musicals and began writing her own songs. That self-discovery quickly led Schneider to take guitar lessons and play piano by ear while listening to Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers.
“That was the gateway for me wanting to perform and write my own songs. I starred in musicals because that gave me the confidence to be on stage at first,” said Schneider, who also participated in Rock Band programs. “In theater, you’re playing roles, and I know a lot of friends who had the same journey where you feel more comfortable beginning to perform on stage as a character.”
As a teenager, Schneider developed a deep appreciation for pop-punk artists, including All Time Low and My Chemical Romance, and dubbed herself an “emo kid.” By 2016, she released her seven-track debut EP, Insomniac, to leave an indelible impression on the evolving pop-punk scene.
“That was for me was the moment where I thought, ‘You know what, I love being in the studio. I’d love to continue recording and writing and performing more on my own.’ That was a super special project for me because it really was the beginning of my journey,” she said.
With an evolving musical journey that includes two EPs and a growing roster of singles, Schneider plans to write, record and release additional new material later this year.
“I have a lot of songs ready to go, so I’m super excited about that. It’s just kind of figuring out the way that I want to release them. It’s been really great putting out some singles so that I can focus on the songs individually,” she said. “I am thinking about putting out more of a short collection of these songs and coming up with super creative ways and fun videos to promote them.”