Maude Latour makes contemplative pop songs for existentialists

The New York City singer-songwriter tackles the gravity of heartbreak on “Lovesick.”

November 14, 2019
Maude Latour makes contemplative pop songs for existentialists Lola Lafia  

Maude Latour's contemplative pop music sounds like Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. A galactic amalgamation of space-station beeps and jazz piano chords, her new single, “Lovesick,” premiering today on The FADER, is an intergalactic pop odyssey through middle school butterflies set to the emotional maturity of a philosophy major (she's still in school at Columbia). The breathy choir harmonies set the track firmly in a post-Lorde landscape, but the charm of the verses are distinctly Latour, as she reconsiders universal heartache through the epic lens of texts like Virgil’s Aeneid. “It’s insane how powerful heartache is," Latour writes of the song over email. "It is the stuff of life. This song is about acknowledging their power, letting it go and being grateful for how lucky we are to feel any sort of connection between people despite how much space there is in the world.”

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"Lovesick" is the final track off of Starsick, her debut EP, out November 15. Read on for an interview with the New York City pop songmaker.

What was your first experience with music and songwriting?

I started seriously writing songs in high school. In New York City at 15, I was opened up to a new world of independence through friends, love, parties, and going to an all-girls school. Creating time capsules of these worlds in songs became a hobby. I’d come home every day after school and write song after song for hours. I wasn’t doing it for any career or end goal and it was truly the best time. Every time I found the catchiest chorus I’d try to challenge myself to make the chorus better. I made it a sport, a craft. Now I use that craft to say what I mean.

Who are some of your musical influences?

I think the roots of my melodic chemistry are ABBA, Queen, No Doubt and Gwen Stefani. I’ve had so many other influences over the years – Lana’s ability to create worlds, Lorde’s talent to romanticize the mundane, Amy’s rawness in spilling her mind, and SZA’s absolute crooning accurately capturing how girls feel.

What is your songwriting process like?

I’m a collector of melodies and words and sentences. Constant research. I have so many ideas as I’m falling asleep at night; I have post-it notes all around my bedroom walls of lyrics and thoughts; notebooks full of sentences that slip out. When I have this certain feeling, I sit at the piano for hours and run through eight different melodic universes and just explore and sing everything I’m feeling and sound as ugly or beautiful or risky or angry; just literally getting everything out of me. I definitely let the songs write themselves.

How did “Lovesick” come about?

In my freshman literature class last year, I learned that lovesickness used to be treated like a disease; diagnosed by doctors. Sitting with that gave me such relief. Heartbreak is so insanely crushing and all-consuming, there’s honestly nothing like it (in the scope of first world problems) except for dealing with death. It is so painful to the core and this song is my antidote. Somehow paying homage to the love in heartbreak, how lucky we are to ever feel close to anyone when the world is as big as it is. You can’t own these people we love, all we can do is be grateful for knowing this human sensation and live with this sickness as we heal.

How is balancing college life with music?

So far so good. Both worlds deeply inspire each other. The interactions, the heartbreak, my classes. I’m definitely an academic and I love school so much. I need to exercise my brain in the traditional sense, and I’m so deeply curious for knowledge – it’s just a part of my life and how I was raised. But I need to write songs because... I just love writing songs. I blast my own music before I upload it on Spotify. The feeling of walking down the street blasting the final product of what I wrote... it’s literally one of the most legendary sensations in the world.

What do you hope people take away from your music?

These are the words I use to get through life; These songs are my utopia. If they make you feel good too, well, then I’m glad. It’s a freedom and relationship to transcendence: seizing and brightly absorbing life. Talking to God, living openly and honestly, realizing people are all lonely — which means we aren’t all that lonely after all — and appreciating pure joy and knowing yourself. You know, the usual.

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Maude Latour makes contemplative pop songs for existentialists