Alternative songstress MAWD is shaking the music world upside down with daring new single titled “Hot Shit”. The glam rock infused track explodes with loud girl power shrapnel landing on every instagram aesthetic pleasing surface of the music industry. “Hot Shit” brings back the rock n roll rebel energy from yesterdays past, showcasing a unseen side of MAWD we never knew we needed. MAWD hones in on her angry girl vocal range and delivers one of her best, universally accessible music works to date. The confident songwriting is delightfully assertive, rippling with sincere lyrics as MAWD puts entitled individuals under the microscope revealing their toxicity for the world to see.
We had the incredible pleasure to have an in-depth conversation with MAWD about how the global pandemic has exposed the true colors of friends and how making “Hot Shit” served as an therapeutic outlet for her to release all her bottled up emotions cumulated through out this unprecedented year.
The year 2020 rang in with shushed whispers of an unknown disease running ramped in Asia and Europe, not yet in the United States,m. January kicked off with plenty announcements of winter events and live shows. When the first US coronavirus case was reported in Washington a few days before end of January, our world froze in time. By the time we started March, society began panic induced shopping causing a worldwide shortage of food, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, stay at home orders lockdowns began, worldwide cancellation of live shows and traveling. MAWD like many of us has experienced endless days of worry and anxiety, “It has been a whirlwind of a year. I’ve definitely ridden many waves of emotions and had my fair share of ups and downs.”
In the early days of the pandemic MAWD was faced with a close call with possible Covid-19 exposure in her own household, “Quarantine started out with our roommate getting diagnosed with COVID-19 and my boyfriend and I had to quarantine in our apartment for 14 days. We ended up testing negative, but still wanted to play it safe and stay inside. I felt awful for our roommate who actually had to stay in her room for 7 days (doctor’s orders). Luckily, she recovered within a couple of weeks and is doing great!”
As the year moved along, another life change would occur with unexpected results, MAWD recalls her decision to move out of her rental after her roommate decided to move in with her boyfriend. MAWD also decided to move in with her boyfriend at a new place. “Fast forward five months later and our roommate ended up moving out to a beautiful spot in Malibu near the beach to live out the rest of quarantine (I don’t blame her!) and so my boyfriend and I decided to search for a place of our own (we didn’t feel safe bringing in somebody new who may not follow the same precautions and protocols as us).” Fate would have it, plans would have to change, “Our dream spot ended up falling through right before we were due to leave our current rental, so instead of settling for any old place (note: this would be our first place just the two of us), we packed up our things and I moved back into my Mom’s house in my hometown up in Northern California.”
Los Angeles became a ghost town during the early days of the lockdown which was a strong motivator for MAWD to leave the city, being able to work remotely while enjoying the perks of spending time with family. “It was a difficult decision, but something in my gut told me – what other time in your life are you going to be able to save money, live amongst nature and experience an actual Fall (no offense to LA and it’s year round warm weather, but not the same as those aspen leaves changing and that crisp cool Fall air), be near family, be creative, and get to work remotely from anywhere in the world? I feel exceptionally grateful for the opportunity to do that.”
As the world heads into mildly transparent waters with the global roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations , MAWD is eager to head back out to LA once it’s safe to get back to the lively life of an artist with shows, going out with friends and recording in music studios; “We’ve been here a few months and it’s been great to get away for a little bit – but also looking forward to heading back to LA once things start opening up a bit more and the vaccine comes into play. All of the things I loved about LA – the community, the music scene, recording in the studio, movie nights with friends, and going out to hole in the wall bars came to a halt so it just didn’t make sense to be there for the time being.”
The year 2020 hasn’t been all bad, it offered MAWD quality time with herself, exercising her creative juices through art. “This year has definitely been one of the most mentally draining and emotionally painful years I’ve experienced – but it has also been a huge year of creativity for me and I’ve learned a lot about myself. As far as hobbies, I had bursts of creative energy in the beginning of quarantine and created artwork like a mad woman that decorated all of our walls. I’m fortunate to still work full time, so my extra time is often dedicated to my own music.” Lockdown has also allowed MAWD to enjoy the simple moments with her family, “I have, however, been really enjoying playing Pickle Ball with my mom and going on walks/socially distance hangs or having a few hard ciders with my Dad’s side of the family and their dog – a beautiful dorky Great Dane named Frances.” While quarantine hasn’t been a time for constant making music, it has taught her how to think outside the box to get things done. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve created more music than usual – but definitely have had new inspirations and had to get a bit creative as far as recording remotely.”
A full year of dark times may not feel like the right time to release new music however MAWD had been eager to release new music reflecting her artistic growth. “Although it feels like a crazy and unusual time to promote and release music, this was actually a monumental moment for me in my career. I’ve been negotiating to be let go from a recording contract for the last two years and wasn’t able to release new music without consent, so these last two releases (and the only two releases during 2020) were my first official releases as an independent artist under my moniker MAWD.” MAWD explains how important it was for her to release new songs reflecting the artist she has become, “I was eager to release new music that reflected my growth as an artist and experimenting with different sounds. Though I love my first EP (released a few years ago), some of those songs were written 5+ years ago and don’t quite line up to the person or artist I am today – and with the world on the internet, releasing new music that represents my current artistry is exciting and important.”
Music has always been an escape or a means of healing, expressing difficult emotions. MAWD knew that new music could help her listeners have a peaceful moment and into a brand new music world where heavy emotions are welcomed without judgement. “Even though 2020 may have not been the most ideal year to release new music, I’ve got a lot more music on the way – and am running full force back towards my dreams. On the contrary, music is a great escape – and I hope my new singles allow a little escape for listeners from the dumpster fire that is 2020.”
This year has shined a spotlight on the deep cracks in society, it kicked off with the devastated wake up call for environmental, social and equality justice as well documented police murders of black people began a reckoning to end systemic racism. As the months went by many people with huge platform following began to ignore stay at home orders and recommendations from health experts and go about their days as in pre-covid-19 times in turn bringing a monstrous wave of anxiety and anger for everyone else who have spent most of the year quarantine at homes. For MAWD it ignited a wild fire of anger and frustration as she looked around saw people she admired acting selfishly setting off the motions of making her single “Hot Shit”. MAWD explains how people’s ignorance became the fuel to the fire, “2020 is a year of clarity for many of us. Written in a fit of anger, empathy, and self-realization, the idea of “Hot Shit” was first sparked when a rock n’ roll band I admired, was being reckless during quarantine, flicking cigarettes out their car while posting about partying (maskless) with their friends on social media – and acting rather “tone deaf” in a world where hundreds of thousands of people were dying from the virus. Similarly, this band and popular social media icons, friends, and family were either silent or revealed their racist tendencies during the Black Lives Matter movement as well as leading up to the 2020 election. The hateful chatter online from pompous and inflated social media egos was beginning to grow louder. I came to some stark realizations that a lot of people I thought highly of … was just a facade. “Hot Shit” is an angry anthem about seeing people clearly for the first time and the weird power trips that come with some people on social media.”
“Hot Shit” makes you loosen up your hair, put on your favorite leather jacket and combat boots and let your rock n roll dreams become reality as you jam out to the song as you use a hairbrush to singalong to the fiery track. MAWD’s angry girl vocals express all the entangled emotions 2020 has brought her. The track was born out of angst, “Interestingly enough, I was feeling restless with un-harnessed creative energy during quarantine. So, I hit up my co-writer buddy Josiah Mazzaschi (who I also co-wrote “Demons” with), to see if he had any rock n’ roll tracks I could topline. I was feeling angsty. After listening to the instrumentals one time through, I knew I wanted to write vocal melodies and lyrics on top of it.”MAWD took an DIY approach to recording the vocals in her apartment, “Being in quarantine, Josiah isn’t recording anyone in his studio – so I downloaded Logic, upgraded my recording equipment, and sang my heart out in my tiny apartment (much to the chagrin of my neighbors, boyfriend and roommate who probably heard me “scream singing” a million takes at the top of my lungs).”
“Hot Shit” is a exciting first taste of what MAWD has in store for us, “It felt so good! And there’s a lot more “angry girl” vocals on the way – I’ve been writing up a storm these last few years and am excited to release some more of this side of me.” “Hot Shit” helped out MAWD release all the anger and frustration that was buried inside, she reflects on how it continues to serve as an healing outlet for her in current times, “100000% yes! And even going back and blasting it in my car now, I feel like it’s an amazing release for all those pent up emotions. Every time I’m mad, sad, or whatever… listening to it in different stages of my life, it seems to take on new life forms and provide therapeutic release whenever I’m feeling upset.”
2020 has triggered tone deaf behaviours from fellow artists and bands regarding COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Global Warming and the spread of misinformation of voting in America. Artists and Influencers have the responsibility to stop spreading damaging messages to society whether it’s having secret parties in mansions all over Los Angeles or posting stories on social media against science and in favor of false conspiracy theories. MAWD knew she had to speak up regardless of the backlash she might endure by doing so. MAWD explains the importance of speaking out when you have a fanbase or audience, “I was extremely hesitant to even talk about the true meaning behind this song due to the toxic cesspool that is social media for fear of backlash. Not that I have a large following by any means, I have lost about 500+ followers during the pandemic for being open about supporting BLM, wearing a mask, and actively being anti-Trump. But honestly, if you are openly racist or aren’t considerate enough to wear a mask, that hateful rhetoric is not welcome on any of my social media pages.”
As we head into the latter part of 2020, the new year will be grim as doubts of the new mutated covid-19 are being seeded into every rhetoric on socials sowing further distrust and encouraging social gatherings during the holidays bringing hospitals down to their knees. MAWD emphases the importance for public figures to spread correct information. “If you have a following of any kind – big or small – a lot of those people look up to you in one way or another. It is incredibly important to spread correct and truthful information, be a role model, and set a positive example. If artists or public figures don’t stand up for what’s right, why even have the platform?”
The year 2020 will go down in the history books as one of the darkest times in human history, It has also been the perfect time take off the rose colored glasses and face the ugly reality of the true colors of your favorite celebrity. “I’ve seen so many toxic “influencers” or “tone deaf” musicians acting in despicable, hateful, or ignorant ways on social media – and if this year has taught me anything – 2020 is a year to see people clearly. And with the years to follow 2020, the behaviour of people, artists, public figures and businesses in 2020 will depict who’s shows we will attend, who we want to align ourselves with, what stores we want to buy from, etc.” Music has always led social and political movements, there were many great tracks written about the Black Lives Matter movement however it brought out another concerning side, it sparked dangerous messaging in songs about lockdowns and human rights by well known artists and bands.
“Hot Shit” is an honest, fierce injection needed to mute out all the negativity being spilled out at a deathly pace, “Music, for decades, has been a way to express political statements – speaking out for what’s right has created some of the most influential songs and helped craft movements. Music and songwriters/creatives/artists/etc are vital to movements and to help enact change.” MAWD is no longer bitting her tongue, this year has motivated her to speak her mind on topics deemed controversial, “Oh most definitely! And unfortunately, it took me a while to get there. I wasn’t sure it was worth the annoyance of bigoted responses – and I wasn’t sure if, I, a white woman, was someone who should be posting about the topic of racism, when I hadn’t ever been oppressed in the same way. However, with the pandemic raging, people dying from the virus and/or from police brutality – and hate spreading across the world – it just simply isn’t something you stay silent on.”
As we end of conversation, MAWD offers a slice of advice to anyone who is experiencing emotions described in her song “Hot Shit”; “I would say – there’s enough hate going on in the world and you’re probably not going to change an ignorant person’s mind on social media. So, put your voice and thoughts into action. Support businesses, artists, musicians, etc that have been compliant during the Pandemic, believe in equality for all, and don’t deny the blatant oppression of others. Keep note on who’s silent or acting “tone deaf” and ask yourself why you think they are acting that way. And maybe, if you get up the courage – ask them why they are silent or acting “tone deaf”. Everyone is at their different level of activism and caution during a Pandemic – so their answers may surprise. If they are open to a real conversation, you never know who’s mind you may change. And lastly, if you really are feeling that angst – blast “Hot Shit” and get your anger out!”
Photo Credit: Ben Thomas