Posted On 30 Mar 2017
Nashville’s newest alt-pop darling, Mags Duval, has released two singles from her debut collection. “Stay Lonely” and “Cinnamon Gum” are currently out now. Moody and vivid, “Cinnamon Gum” relishes in being hung up on the wrong someone.
Based in Nashville, Mags Duval brings the alt-pop scene an authentic, new voice older than her years. Produced by Grammy Award Producer, Luke Laird (Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton) and John Hill (Eminem, Sharika, Jay Z), her music is a unique mix of pop, smart storytelling layered over hooks that nod to 90’s hip hop, and iconic 50’s girl-group harmonies.
On working with Mags, co-producer Luke Laird said, “Every producer dreams of working with an artist like Mags. Her music has that hard to find quality of being hooky with depth. She is a prolific lyricist and incredible vocalist who writes songs for her generation, but they have a timeless, relatable quality. I get an education every time we work together.”
Now, at just 19, Mags is ready to introduce the world to her distinct voice and honest lyrics.
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Learn more about Mags Duval in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music?
2016 was a year of growth for me. I learned so much about myself and the kind of person and artist I want to be. It was a year of love, heartbreak, perseverance, sadness, joy…really all the things haha a lot went down in 2016 that gave me a lot to write about.
What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
I got to travel to LA quite a bit and work with some incredible people that I’ve admired for years. The creative process was definitely a highlight for me- getting to collaborate with producers, writers, photographers etc. who have helped me bring my vision to life. I’m honestly just so excited to share my music with people and to get to connect with them through it- that’s what excites me the most. These songs have meant so much to me and I’m pumped for them to mean something to someone else.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
I actually thought I was going to be an entertainment lawyer! I always sang and wrote songs, but no one in my family is musical and I had no idea that pursuing music as a career path would ever be an option for me. Haha my first musical memory- there’s a home video of me when I was two years-old in a car seat between my two older brothers. I was making up words to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and my mom was saying, “All of her friends are saying one or two words, but she just has all these songs…”
Where did you come up with your artist name and why did you choose to not go by your real name?
Mags is my nickname- it’s what my closest family and friends have always called me and that’s the kind of relationship I want to have with my fans. My music is the most intimate way anybody can know me- so going by my nickname seemed fitting. Duval is my grandfather’s middle name, I like the way the two sound together. It sort of has an Old Hollywood ring to it.
How do you think you and your sound have been influenced by moving to Nashville?
Ahhh Nashville! I have so much love for this city. Songwriting is everything to me- it’s how I see the world and process everything in my life and Nashville is a place that truly values the craft of songwriting above all else. Living here and being immersed in the scene has pushed me to be the best writer and storyteller I can be.
You recently released the video for your debut single, “Stay Lonely.” What was that like? How creatively involved were you with the making of the video?
Making my first music video was so much fun! I knew I wanted a twisted love story-line because the song is about being conflicted over somebody. I also really wanted some of it to be filmed in the backseat of a car- there’s something about cars that’s really symbolic to me. They get us from place to place- just being in a car with somebody, especially somebody you have feelings for, is an experience in itself. Matt, the director, really helped form a creative vision for the video that encompassed the mood and vibe I was hoping for completely.
What was it like working with the producers, Luke Laird and John Hill on “Stay Lonely”?
It was an absolute dream! I admire them both so much, as producers and as human beings. We recorded in John’s studio in Santa Monica and I was just amazed everyday at how creative they were and how they were able to help bring my songs to life in ways that were everything I could’ve hoped for and beyond. I played some pretty good pranks on John haha- I am definitely an unsuspecting prankster and he had no idea it was me, so it was hilarious.
Because of all the incredible artists they have worked with, were you ever intimidated or nervous to work with either of them?
Oh my gosh yes! Sitting in the room writing songs with them- it definitely crossed my mind that artists I fan-girl over had been in my same spot. It was slightly terrifying, but I also just felt so grateful to have the opportunity.
When do you hope to release more music and an entire album of new songs?
An entire album is in the works! And I’ve honestly written three albums in the past year haha, I’m literally writing songs all the time. My release date is TBD, BUT I do have a new single coming out at the end of this month that I’m so excited about!
What was it like opening for Meghan Trainor on her Nashville stop of “That Bass Tour”?
Meghan is a total sweetheart and completely embodies what it means to be a true artist. She and I wrote songs together when I was fifteen and she was eighteen- so we go way back! It was an amazing experience getting to open for her. She texted me three days before the show if I’d be down to do it and I was like um yes, I’m so down!
How do you hope to be a good role model to your fans? What do you think separates you from other artists today?
I try to live my life in a way in which I treat people with love and respect. I think we live in a time where it is extremely difficult to be a young person- and we all need to be aware of our words and our actions and how we make each other feel. I want to make music that makes my fans feel like they’re not alone in whatever it is that they’re feeling. Music is the only thing that gets me through things and I want to be that for them. I know who I am and who I’m not- I’m nineteen with an old soul trying to figure out love and life and everything in between and I figure it out in songs.
Any plans to tour this year?
I sure hope so! We’ve started discussing potential tour dates, so stay tuned on this one!
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
I am honestly such a mixed bag of musical inspiration…I just love good music! I’ve been listening to Chance The Rapper, Frank Ocean, Banks, Phantogram and Troye Sivan a lot lately just to name a few! My dream duet partner would probably be Nick Jonas, I’m not gonna lie. I recently met him at this Q&A session he did for The Recording Academy in Nashville and I was like, “Hi! I like your music.” That’s literally all I said…if there’s one thing I could get a redo on in life, it would be that interaction.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I hope my music helps people feel understood. There’s nothing like hearing a song and thinking, “That is my life! This person gets me!” We play those songs on repeat when we’re falling in love or have just had our hearts broken or if we want to just let go and have fun. When I’m going through something and I don’t feel like there’s a song that tells that story the way I would, I write about it because I figure if I’ve felt something, there is someone out there feeling the exact same things as me.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
First off, thank you for taking the time and for asking such wonderful questions- I loved getting to answer them. Hi, people reading this! I’m Mags and I am so excited to meet you and to get to make music for you. I’m looking forward to this entire journey. Some random things to know about me since we should be best friends- I love coffee, I’m a bookworm, I grew up in Florida, I have three brothers, I like old movies, I like wearing dresses, I have like five lipsticks in my purse at all times, black is my favorite color, I get really excited about sunsets, I would like to have a dog someday, but I couldn’t keep a cactus alive right now, roses are my favorite.