Indie-pop artist mazie on rebelling in Catholic school, singing about the Capitol riot and returning to NJ

Few people can say that the first show of their first ever tour was at Disney World, but indie-pop artist Grace Christian, aka mazie, can. 

mazie, a native of suburban Baltimore, performed her first show ever on tour with COIN, at the House of Blues in Disney Springs in Orlando,. The experience of getting on stage for her first show was akin to waiting to get on the Tower of Terror or Space Mountain. 

“It was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever experienced,” says mazie on the phone from Detroit. “I don’t normally get a lot of stage fright, but my throat felt like it was closing and my mouth was dry, and I was like, ‘This is so scary’’”.

And the process of playing a show for mazie is a lot like the process of riding a roller coaster at Disney World: “I freak out 15 minutes prior before playing a show and then I just do it,” says mazie “When I’m on stage, I’m like, ‘This is the best day of my life,’ and when I’m offstage, I’m full of anxiety.”

mazie’s journey into music started in the suburbs of Baltimore, where she grew up taking classical voice lessons when she was 10 years old. But her love for music grew when she entered a recording studio for the first time when she was 15.

“It was the first time I ever recorded in a recording studio,” says mazie. “When I mean recording studio it was my friends basement, but hearing myself being recorded and making a song that day I was like, ‘Oh my god this is the craziest thing I could ever do.’”

mazie was drawn to the creative process of making music, and saw it in action in real time at the recording studio. “It was being in the creative process 24/7,” says mazie. ”It taught me so much about writing, recording, putting yourself out, collaborating with others.” 

While mazie was drawn to the creative side of music, she also used music as an escape during her time at a private all-girl Catholic high school. 

“My family was very religious and super Catholic,” says mazie. “I was a freshman when I completely left Catholicism, but I still enrolled in Catholic school. It was really hard, I rebelled, and I was kind of an asshole in high school honestly. … It was a really hard time for me, and I felt stifled in the environment.”

mazie got through Catholic school with a mix of rebellion and music. “I would dye my hair a bunch of crazy colors, and not attend school events to make myself feel a little better.” 

For college, mazie looked to escape the Baltimore suburbs, and made the trip up I-95 to Philadelphia, where she attended school at Drexel University. She credits the city that’s always sunny with making her the person and musician she is today. 

“I think I became myself,” mazie says about her time in Philadelphia. “I feel like I met the world for the first time, and Philly’s a special place. It has such a vibrant underground music scene, and the vibe is amazing.”

During her time in Drexel, mazie discovered that she is a creative and unique person, and spent time attending shows at venues like Underground Arts, Voltage Louge, and the Fire in Philly. 

It was those experiences that helped make mazie the artist that she is today, and the creativity is shown in her first album that she released this year, the rainbow cassette.

“It was interesting because the recording took place in the two years in which we were in the pandemic,” says mazie. “We learned so much so quickly in that year and a half.”

The recording for the rainbow cassette took place in Baltimore and Los Angeles, where mazie recently moved. The album was also influenced by current events going on at the time of the recording. For example, the song “dumb dumb” was about the Capitol insurrection.

It just so happened that mazie was recording on Jan. 6, 2021, and she couldn’t stop watching the news or scrolling through social media to keep up with what was happening in D.C. 

“We happened to make that song the day the insurrection happened and it was pretty insane. The TV was behind us, and we kept looking back. It was the main point of conversation that day, and we kept on going back to, ‘everyone is dumb.’ January 6th was a really intense day for everyone, and we just happened to be in the studio for it.”

When mazie first saw what was happening in the city about 10 miles south of where she grew up, she was like, “Wow, is this really happening?” Like a lot of people that day ,she was doomscrolling on social media, and balancing laughing at the QAnon Shaman memes and also being fearful about what was going on in D.C. 

“That day was also coupled with doomscrolling that happens with moments like that and being on Twitter. You’re laughing so hard at the memes that are coming up, and also you’re like, ‘Wait, can I laugh at this? This is so bad,’” she says.

Along with the January 6th meaning, the song also has some pretty cool sound effects and instrumentation. “Dumb dumb” included nord sounds effects, and a lot of samples that mazie and her producers spent hours compiling.

Recently, mazie released a new single called “people don’t change,” and the indie-pop singer says it is one of her favorites.

“I wrote that song as a sophomore or junior in college and always kept it around,” says mazie. The song is pretty self-explanatory, and is about how people don’t change.

“The biggest lesson I learned since living with my friends in Los Angeles is that you’re cohabiting with them, living together, being in business together, or making music together. It’s a lot of dynamics and you have to be aware that people won’t change to suit you. People are going to be themselves regardless of where you are and what you are doing. It’s something to weigh heavily when you think about who you want in your life.”

People can hear “people don’t change “and more of mazie’s music when she opens up for COIN at the Stone Pony on Dec. 17. 

The last couple of shows of her run with COIN will be a sort of homecoming for mazie. She plays in Philadelphia in the city where she came into her own, she plays in Baltimore where she grew up, and she is playing in New Jersey, where she spent time going to her relatives in rural Gloucester County, and going to the beach at Cape May. 

“Jersey has been a huge part of my life,” says mazie. “My dad is from Franklinville, and every summer I would go to Cape May. My tour manager is also from South Jersey, and we’re all excited to go back to Asbury Park.”

mazie will be playing the Stone Pony in Asbury Park with COIN on Dec. 17. Event information can be found here.