Staff writer Heather Allen got to speak with New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter Maggie Trapani on road trips, Bonnie & Clyde, and her experience recording her debut EP Life Of A Perpetual Quitter.
I wanted to get started talking about your EP since you just recently released it and it was your debut. How was your experience with the recording process and everything?
It was really fun! I had worked with my producer before because we worked on another song together, so we were really familiar with each other, which was really nice. I had never done, like, a body of work because it was always single songs. It was nice to actually be able to figure out how they relate to each other and make them all sonically cohesive. So it was different, but nice.
Yeah, it sounds like it was a learning process for you!
Oh of course!
That’s always good! I was also so wanted to ask you since it was probably hard to figure out what songs to even put on the EP, which song was your favorite to write and record from The Perpetual Quitter?
It would probably have to be “New York Won’t Love You” because it was the very last one that we did and it was also the most reasonably written out of the songs. It was a lot of fun and my producer was really excited about it too and when people get really excited about it it makes me really excited about it too. *laughs*
Yeah! And since there are only four tracks on the EP would you like to get an idea of what inspired the tracks? And we can start with “New York Won’t Love You” since we were already discussing it right now.
It was actually written after my first performance in Manhattan. It was a songwriter’s night and the person before me didn’t show up and I didn’t know until they were calling my name on stage. I was tuned and I wasn’t ready and there were a bunch of mishaps. It wasn’t THAT bad, but I went home and I was like “Oh my God! What happened! What am I doing!” and so that’s why I wrote that song.
Oh wow! That’s awesome though! And how about the other tracks like “Open Road” since that was your first single and everything?
I love road trips but that one was actually inspired by a Buzzfeed article that was like “25 Camping Crusies to Inspire Your Next Road Trip” or something like that. So it inspired a road trip and inspired the song as well.
Oh I love Buzzfeed! It’s like my go-to website to learn random new facts. *laughs* And how about “Oh What A Life?”
“Oh What A Life” was about when I had went to Temple University for two years before deciding to take time off to pursue this and music. “Oh What A Life” is mostly about when people starting finding out about me leaving because everybody was like ‘Oh, well you could always go back’ and I was like ‘Well, that’s not the point because I’m enjoying myself so I’m all good.’ It’s kind of a song about what it’s like when everyone thinks that you’re making ridiculous choices. They just don’t understand. *laughs*
*laughs* Yes, always. And one of your other tracks that’s on there is “Bonnie & Clyde.” They’re one the most famous crime couples in history and they even had their own mini-series on the History Channel.What inspired you to choose to write about them?
I don’t know! I started reading about them a bunch when, I mean, I’ve always known about them, but I randomly started reading Bonnie’s poetry. I just remembered the line “I’ve got secrets” and I just kind of wrote it from there. It just sort of happened. *laughs*
Awesome! I was really interested to hear what your thoughts were on them because the other songs seemed pretty cohesive with each other and then there was “Bonnie & Clyde.” I could help but be intrigued.
Oh I’ve always been interested in that all encompassing type of love.
Yeah, they definitely have a deep love story that’s for sure. It might not have worked out for them in the end, but it’s still pretty powerful.
So you tilted for debut EP Life Of A Perpetual Quitter and I wanted to ask you how you decided on that EP title.
I thought of it after I was back at school visiting people and somebody would very suddenly be like ‘Oh yeah, I’m so-and-so and you seem like that type of person that doesn’t really stick with anything.’ I’d only known that person for like a year and I was kind of offended by it to be honest. So I came up with that idea but I had that title for a long time before it actually became an EP and I chose it because I think that people have this idea of me and what I do, even apart from music and all this stuff. I’m ok with myself and my life and all this stuff and you can see that in the songs, but the songster not what you’d expect from such a title with such a negative connotation. I just thought it was cool and funny and I thought it was my way to forget what people say. *laughs*
*laughs* It’s like ‘You don’t know me and my life!’
It sounds like it’s a really personal title to you and that’s always a good thing when having a debut. It’s like your baby project kind of thing. Sometimes artists just throw out an album name and it’s like ‘Well, why?’ and they’re like ‘I don’t know.’ This one has a personal tie to you and that’s really great because it’s your debut and you have a storyline behind it.
*laughs* Yeah, I guess you can say that!
If you could describe your EP in three words what would they be?
I think I would have to say ‘upbeat,’ ‘realistic’ and ‘optimistic!’
Awesome! I also wanted to ask you about your music video for “Open Road,” especially because you mentioned that you love road trips and the idea of road trips and that Buzzfeed article. In your music video for that song you actually went on a road trip! How long exactly was that road trip that you took that you used to film “Open Road?”
We were gone for just under a week, like six days I think.
Oh! It was a long road trip!
*laughs* Oh yeah.
Which was your favorite place to visit while you were filming the music video?
I really liked everything within Arizona! I really enjoyed Route 66 and the Grand Canyon too and I’ve never really been anywhere so flat before and somewhere that was so dark at night! *laughs* I live like 20 minutes from Manhattan so I really enjoyed the change. Really the first minute of the video was all my favorite places.
Because it was the complete opposite of what you were used to?
Yeah pretty much.
Which song is going to be turned into a music video next apart from “Open Road?” Do you have any potential concepts for them yet?
We just made a music video for “New York Won’t Love You” actually! It follows some street performers and their time in New York. You can see it now online and on my website, social media and YouTube of course.
Awesome! If you could choose any three artists that you would like to create a tour with who would they be and what would your tour be named?
I thought about this one a lot and this one is hard for me. I would LOVE to open up for all those big artists one day and that would be awesome. I think Charli XCX and Jack Antonoff of Bleachers just did a ‘Charli and Jack Do America’ tour and they went with Born and I would love to do something like that where there are all of these great pop artists but they all have different styles of music but are still catchy and hooky. I think something like that would be a lot of fun.
So definitely an eclectic kind of tour?
That would be so fun! What would you want to name the tour?
I don’t know! I thought so hard about it too! I think I would want it to be based off of the names of our albums depending on who it was. If it was like a co-headlining tour I would have to thing of something witty. But if someone else is headlining then it’s all based on what they want to do. *laughs*
I wanted to ask you some questions about you as a musician. What initially inspired you to become an artist.
I’ve always been creative and I’ve always loved music, but never played any instruments. I did choir but I wasn’t all that great at it before. I danced my entire life and have been really big on photography, like I do a lot of sports photography. The music part actually didn’t even come in until the past three years. I picked up the guitar sometime in the beginning of high school and never ever learned how to play it. I was at home on break from school and I just picked it up and started playing, writing songs, and it became all-consuming. It became everything that I wanted to do. I’ve always been creative, but the music stuff was kind of random. It was always something I wanted to do as a kid and a lot of people from my school enjoyed it, but I never got around to it. One day I said ‘Well, maybe we can do it. This could be fun!’
Better late than never!
And look! You have your own EP already in three years!
Yes! It’s so exciting!
You were kind of getting into your taste preferences with the touring question, but who are you personal music influencers and which current artists in the same genre do you feel that you’re similar to?
I really like all those song-writers that could make everyday average life into something really interesting. I like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel and all those people. I’d lie if I didn’t say that Taylor Swift is one of the reasons that I started writing songs, but I think I’m closer to Taylor and Sara Bareilles.
Now that you’ve gotten some experience with the recording process and everything and know how things work, is there anything new that you would want to incorporate into your music later on when you release a full album?
I think I would really like to be able to play instruments on recordings. I didn’t actually do the guitar on the songs, my producer did and some others as well. I think it would be cool to be able to record the guitar and to learn more instruments and be able to play more in the songs so I can be more involved in that aspect.
Yeah it’s always good to have that hands on experience.
Yeah of course!
What do you hope your audience takes away from your music?
I just hope that they think it’s the type of music that they can listen to everyday. I just hope that it’s the type of music that they would want to share – just happy, everyday music.
Yay awsome! And my last question for you is what big plans should we be looking forward from you from the remainder of the year? Any big projects? Touring? Etc.
I’m playing a couple times in the New York area during September and October so if you’re in the New York area look forward to that! Otherwise I want to write more and be able to put out more music maybe at the beginning of next year. Keep playing shows.
And hopefully give us a full length album? Crossing my fingers.
*laughs* Hopefully one day.