United Kingdom 2023: Mae Muller
Photo: Press Association

UK's Mae Muller: "Top five is the goal"

INTERVIEW The United Kingdom has internally chosen the bubbly and cheerful Mae Muller as their representative for Eurovision 2023. We met with the British singer to talk about being the host artist of Eurovision, the preparations for the big day, and what inspired her to literally “write a song”

Mae Muller will represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 with the song "I Wrote a Song" after being internally selected by the BBC.

In 2021, she got her first flavor of success when the collaboration "Better Days" with Neiked and Polo G cracked the UK's top 40 singles and Australia's top 20. Still, and even after opening for successful girl group Little Mix on tour, her participation at Eurovision is her biggest challenge until now, and Mae simply cannot wait to take over the massive stage in Liverpool.

While professional, Mae comes off as very bubbly and natural at the same time. She has been a Eurovision fan since childhood and is quick to let us know she was born in the same year the United Kingdom won for the very last time. It seems she was born for this exact purpose, and her country seems to be on board with that.

Her entry, "I Wrote a Song," is the first UK Eurovision song in more than a decade to debut inside the Official Singles Chart Top 40 in its first week.

– Honestly, it is a big honor to be representing the UK, to be part of Eurovision, and to have such an amazing reaction as well. It’s such a great bonus! I was so relieved, I was like, “Oh, people like the song. Thank goodness!"

I had to keep the secret for like two or three months. It was so difficult.Mae Mullher

Even if the general public found out that Mae Muller would be the one representing the United Kingdom by the beginning of March, the singer had to keep the news a secret a few months before that:

– I had to keep the secret for like two or three months. It was so difficult, she says.

– It was about three to four months ago that the conversation first happened. The opportunity was on the table and it was like: "How do you feel about Eurovision?" And I was like, "What? This is insane!" Then, it took a few weeks to kind of get everything together and confirmed because it is such a long process. But when that was all done, it was still a month before the official announcement. It was difficult to keep it under wraps.

Not many people figured it out, and luckily singers such as Rina Sawayama helped along the way by teasing a Eurovision participation:

– I just wanted to scream and shout about it, especially because I could see a lot of the speculation online and stuff, and I usually love to tease! So, it was really hard for me to sit at home and just be quiet.

Mae is a co-writer of her Eurovision song, the popsy independence break-up anthem “I Wrote A Song,” and she reveals that there was no other option on the table as this always felt like the one. She tells what made her write that song:

– I just had that thought: When you’re going through something and feeling negative towards that, whether it’s about heartbreak or any kind of pain, how do we get over that? How do we, instead of going down the route of revenge, empower ourselves instead?

– I've always wanted to empower people, and the way I empower myself is through writing music. Hopefully, people can relate to it and feel a bit more confident and powerful after listening to it.

United Kingdom 2023: Mae Muller – "I Wrote A Song"

Following Sam Ryder

Representing the host country and being the representative of such a large event is a great responsibility. Moreover, Eurovision is an important event for the Brits, and after Sam Ryder’s successful performance in 2022 it's an even bigger honor. But Mae did not hesitate for a second:

– Even though there was a little bit of fear because it's such a big deal, I thought: "You know what? You can't allow fear to get in the way of this, it's such an amazing thing, one in a million experience." And so I said yes. I'll deal with the nerves later, she jokes.

I think he really changed the way a lot of people in the UK looked at Eurovision.Mae Mullher about Sam Ryder

– But honestly, it's actually just been really, really exciting, and I think the excitement is outweighing the nerves right now.

Being a fan does add joy to the experience, and despite not remembering the United Kingdom's last victory with Katrina and the Waves in 1997, Eurovision music has been around her forever:

– Eurovision has been around for so long and I'm a huge fan. I love ABBA! Learning that they came from Eurovision when I was younger made me think like: "Wow, Eurovision must be a really big deal!" So, it's been really nice to be on the outside of it and now being amongst it, it's crazy.

She goes on to share:

– The year I was born was the last year that the UK won (1997), so I'm taking that as a good sign!

Sam Ryder (UK 2022: Space Man) has also been helpful with the preparations for Liverpool:

United Kingdom 2022: Sam Ryder – "Space Man"

– I love Sam as a human being! He's just so lovely and so talented and he did such a good job. I think he really changed the way a lot of people in the UK looked at Eurovision. He took it really seriously, and that really showed! It's such an honor that he's passing me the baton. I want to keep the positive vibes going and make everyone proud, she says.

As for advice coming from last year's runner-up, Muller continues:

– We were messaging on Instagram a little bit and he just said that I should enjoy it. It sounds so simple, but he said it's a whirlwind, that I was going to be so busy, and that I just had to take each day as it comes. Because before I know it, Eurovision will be over and I'll be busy doing the next thing, and I've been doing exactly that and trying to just enjoy every minute of it.

We've enumerated a few reasons why it's such a big deal to represent the UK. However, to add on to that, this is like no other Eurovision since the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine.

It's really important that we remember that it is on behalf of Ukraine, and it's their party just at our house.Mae Muller

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine won Eurovision 2022 with their song “Stefania.” but due to the ongoing Russian invasion, the contest cannot be held in Ukraine. Therefore, the United Kingdom is co-hosting the competition in Liverpool with a grand emphasis on Ukraine’s win, culture and traditions:

– I think it just makes this year extra special, and I think that the UK is so excited and proud to co-host. I'm really looking forward to celebrating Ukraine in May, she says.

– I think it's really important that we remember that it is on behalf of Ukraine, and it's their party just at our house.

Mae must divide its host country participant’s obligations with Ukraine’s 2023 participant Tvorchi. The “I Wrote A Song” singer reveals that she has the best relationship with Tvorchi, and that she cannot wait to get to know them better:

– I did meet Tvorchi! I met the boys and they had like the coolest outfits on, I was really jealous. I was like: "Who's your tailor? I want to know!" she laughs.

– But they're really lovely, really talented, and I think they're going to be at a few of the pre-events that I'm doing, so it'll be fun to hang out with them some more.

Aiming for the top

Our conversation took place after her performance at the first pre-parties, so we had to ask about Mae’s experience at the first Eurovision pre-parties, and about her entertaining performance:

– I had a really good time. I think it was definitely a learning experience, and it's just going to get better and better. I'm feeling 100% healthy now, so I'm excited to do some more.

Unfortunately, Mae cannot reveal if learning the dance routine is worthy as she has been "sworn to secrecy” to not disclose any information regarding the stage setup:

Madrid Pre-Party: Mae Muller - "I Wrote A Song"

– Sworn. I've been sworn to secrecy! I can say that it's going to be really fun, that there will be a lot of energy, sassiness, and I want it to just feel like a party on stage. I want everyone in the arena and everyone watching at home to just feel like they're there with me on the night.

When asked about her fears regarding the big stage and her performance on the meaningful night, Mae doesn’t seem bothered:

– There's nothing like this, so I think it's that slight fear of you just wanting to do a good job, and I think I always have a fear of not letting down someone, but I will try not to focus on that too much. I just think to myself: "You know what? If I just get out there and I do my best and I put everything into it, then I'll be proud of myself, whatever happens."

– We're working really hard, and I think it's going to pay off for sure.

The singer also seems to be genuinely pleased about all of the great feedback that she's been receiving. Both from the UK public and international fans at the pre-parties and online:

– It's really nice and really reassuring that people have faith in me and they believe in me. It just kind of drives me forward, you know? I really appreciate everybody's opinion. The support has been really lovely, and I'm very, very grateful for it, she tells us.

At the moment, Mae is amongst the bookmakers’ top 10 favorites to win this year’s Eurovision. If that happens, it will be the first time since 1994 that a host country wins Eurovision. She confesses she has high hopes for her result in May as well:

– I'm aiming high! I'd love to be in the top five. Top five would be a dream, but I'd be happy with top 10, even if top five is the goal, she says.

– But honestly, whatever happens and whatever position I'm in, this experience has just been so amazing from start to finish, and just to be a part of it is almost kind of like a win in itself so whatever happens, I think I'll be happy. But the top five would be great, she concludes before laughing out loud.

Mae will sing "I Wrote a Song'' at the Eurovision 2023 Final on 13 May.

About the author: Marta Metuzāle (Latvia)

authorMarta is based in Riga, Latvia. Besides listening to Eurovision songs, she works as a financial analyst and freelance journalist. Her obsession with Eurovision began in 2011 when Musiqq won the Latvian selection with "Angel in Disguise", whose promotional CD she even bought. However, she remembers watching the contest ever since Latvia took the trophy home in 2002.

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