Max George is back and ready to truly make his mark on the music industry.
Best known for being one fifth of The Wanted, Max launched his solo career last year with the catchy ‘Barcelona’, which has amassed over four million streams on Spotify. Since then, he has been busy working on more new music to share with the world and now he is raring to go.
Today, Max released his brand new single ‘Better On Me’, a slick uptempo track which was co-written with Jason Derulo. Showcasing a different side to his artistry, Max is already proving to be one to watch over the coming months.
We recently met up with Max George in London to talk all about ‘Better On Me’, working with some of music’s biggest icons, stepping out as a solo artist, his plans for the rest of the year, and much more.
First off, how are you and how are you feeling ahead of the release of ‘Better On Me’?
I’m really good, I’m excited! It’s a song that I’ve had for around four years so I’m excited about it. It’s been close to me for a long time so I’m buzzing that I’m getting to put it out there finally.
You’ve said on Twitter that it’s going to sound quite different to ‘Barcelona’, so what can you tell us about the song and what it’s going to sound like?
It’s a little bit more funky than ‘Barcelona’, a little less sort of straight up pop. I worked on it with Jason Derulo so I think you can hear bits in there that are definitely him. I also do some different things with my voice that I didn’t necessarily do before in other stuff. It is different from ‘Barcelona’ but I wanted to keep it upbeat especially with the time of the year. It felt right to bring this one out now.
So is it going to be the new summer anthem?
I mean, that would be a lovely title to have but I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see!
You mentioned before that you wrote the song with Jason Derulo, how did that collaboration come about?
I met Jason about 4-5 years ago in LA and then he was in Miami and I got a call saying to fly out there as he wanted to start working on a song for me so we did! We worked on it in Miami, did some more of it in LA, a little bit more in London and then it was done. Jason was actually on it as a collab for a little bit but then we decided that it was probably better fitted to me than it was as a collab so I took it. We literally just finished it two weeks ago, tweaking production and stuff like that as I wanted to get it right and now it’s ready to go.
You’ve been teasing the music video on social media as well. Have you filmed it yet or can you tell us about the concept?
Yes, I have filmed it! What was nice about this one is that it was directed by Dean Tymon, a friend of mine from when I was like five. He’d never done a music video before but I gave him the song and I said “I want you to come up with the concept, I don’t want any say on this one, I want this to be your baby.” It’s basically me and this girl and there’s a chase on. I’m chasing her and she doesn’t really want any part of it but then as the song progresses there’s a kind of change, and she’s more into me. It’s sort of like a chase I guess, but it’s done in a studio with a beautiful girl and it’s very classy. I think people are going to like the video.
I like the fact that you’ve got your friend involved with directing, it makes it so much more personal!
Absolutely! I’ve known him since he was five, and his family, so it was really great to work with him.
A lot of the fans have been asking if you’ll be doing a radio tour for the single?
I’m not sure about a radio tour. I will be visiting some radio stations so fingers crossed I will get to places that I can meet up with them, but it’s not planned yet so that could change.
Well the whole industry has changed a lot since you were in The Wanted – radio tours aren’t as big a thing these days, and of course you’ve got the impact of streaming now. In terms of your plans going forward, are you going single by single or are you working towards an EP or an album?
I think it’s gonna be single by single, just take each one as it comes. The next one [after ‘Better On Me’] is one that I wrote on the same day as ‘Barcelona’ with Steve Mac. I’m literally just working on the production of that now. I’ve also got a song, possibly for autumn, which is a ballad that I did with Diane Warren. That one, for the first time, I’m going to be working on the production side of things which I’ve never done before, but she’s asked me to do production so I’m doing that with Andy Brown who was in Lawson. That’s nice, again it’s one of my mates that’s involved – he’s super talented as well so it’s nice to keep it close.
How do you feel about going into the production side of things, is it nice to have an input into that as well as the writing?
It is yeah. I mean, the actual technicality of physically doing it, I’m not great at, but it’s nice to be able to say when I’m listening to something that I would prefer this etc so I have my own print on stuff. The more you put into something, the more it feels like it’s yours.
You mentioned earlier about working with Diane Warren, what was she like to work with?
Awesome – I’ve known Diane for quite a long time and this song, I hadn’t spoken to her for a while but I got an email from her out of the blue. She sent me this song saying “I wrote this for your voice”. I listened to it and I loved it, it’s just the production of it that I’ve changed. She said, “look, you go with it, take the production and do what you want with it”. She’s crazy but good crazy you know, it’s always a pleasure working with Diane, she’s a legend.
You’ve worked with massive names like Diane, Steve Mac, massive names. Who’s on your wish list to work with next?
I’d like to do some writing with Tom Walker, I’m a big fan of his so I would definitely like to work with him.
Talking about Tom, what current artists are you currently enjoying?
I think like everyone, I’m a big fan of Lewis Capaldi. I don’t know if it’s more his music or him. He’s like a breath of fresh air and his music’s so good. I really like Anne-Marie as well. I think she’s so good, she does so much writing for other artists, she’s super talented. She’s definitely up there.
You tweeted the other day that you’ve got some gigs coming up, now we saw you perform last year and we loved that you paid homage to your The Wanted days by performing some of the old school songs. Which is your favourite to still perform today?
For me, ‘Glad You Came’ is probably my favourite. We went round the world with that song and people always sing it when I do it so it always gives me a really good feeling when I perform it. Bit of nostalgia as well, so yeah I’d definitely say ‘Glad You Came’ is my favourite.
How did you feel when you stepped out on your own for the first time?
It was quite a strange feeling. I was excited for it but as I was walking out onto the stage it was definitely strange. The first time, I felt a little bit lost if I’m honest. Because I didn’t have a full set of my own stuff I was still throwing in some of the boys’ stuff, but it was a bit like “where are they?!” I think because obviously I’ve been working on my own stuff now for a lot longer, I think I’m more ready to do it now.
I guess it was comforting that you had Andy [Brown] on stage with you on guitar too.
That definitely helped a lot, yeah!
Aside from music, you’ve also dabbled in acting – you were in Glee which must have been an amazing experience. What kind of acting projects would you like to do next?
I think more adult drama based stuff. There’s an American drama, I can’t say what it is, but there’s a potential one in America that I might be doing later on in the summer which is a lot more serious, an Army based kind of thing. I think something like that would be really cool but honestly I like any kind of roles, even the wacky stuff, I’d have a look at anything really.
Jay McGuiness and Tom Parker have been killing it with the musicals, is that something you’d consider or would you prefer to keep your future singing and acting projects separate?
Ideally I’d keep them separate. Glee was sort of a middle ground, I did some singing in it but it was predominantly acting. For now I’d keep them apart but if the right role came up then I’d absolutely look at it.
You’ve also done some modelling, you were one of the faces of JD Sports last year. Is there a particular brand that you’d love to work with in the future?
Well actually I’ve signed with JD for another year so I’m gonna say JD! [laughs]
So what’s next for Max George for the rest of the year?
I’ve got three singles that I know are ready. I’ve worked on a song that I wrote with LAUV a couple of years ago, DJ R3HAB has taken it but it’s featuring me so it’ll still have my voice on it but it will be his song. We’ve got that one in between and a couple of soft releases as well, stuff that I’ve written over the past couple of years where we’re not going to push it too much, we’re just going to put it out on Spotify for the fans to listen to. You never know, you can’t predict it now with Spotify, you can put a song out just so that the fans can have some content but it can end up being the best one you’ve released. You just don’t know.
Finally, do you have a message for your fans?
Just thanks for sticking with me for all these years, cos I know I’ve not been around that much but I’m here now. I’m in England, I’m living in England and I’m here to stay. This time, I’ve got all the music ready so you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me and hopefully, fingers crossed touch wood I’ll be seeing a lot more of you and I love you all.
Thank you to Max George for his time! ‘Better On Me’ is out now.