It’s been a whirlwind year for Mabel, with two top-10 singles and a new album already in the bag. Saskia Harper caught up with the singer-songwriter, to chat success, self-love, and staying true to yourself.
From writing songs in her bedroom and uploading tunes to her personal SoundCloud account, to supporting Harry Styles and releasing her debut album, Mabel has been on a rollercoaster journey over the last few years: a journey that’s just getting started.
Coming from a musical family, where both parents work in the music industry, she was exposed to music and creativity at a young age. But, she’s keen to point out, this didn’t get her where she is today: she’s carving out her own path in the industry.
“It was inspiring being around lots of creative people as a kid,” Mabel remembers. “Obviously, I’m very different from my parents. I have a different form of expression, a different writing style. I’ve always been on my own path; my parents just happen to be musicians.”
When we speak, Mabel’s debut album, High Expectations, has been released just six days earlier. Reaching number three on the Official Albums Chart Top 100 just a week after its release, it’s no surprise to fans who have been eagerly awaiting her debut record.
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And an album is born!!! Very emotional because today an almost three year long journey has come to an end. First of all I want to say thank you for your patience because without it I wouldn’t have been able to give you this body of work. It took time, many lessons, ups, downs, heartbreak and all of the bits in between to be able to make the project that I’ve always dreamt of making. I need to thank my team especially my manager @radi_dadi who is one hell of a woman and @holskiii_ for the crazy amount of hard work you’ve put in, my record label @polydorrecords, everyone else on my team that has worked tirelessly for the last few years and of course all of the collaborators I love you so much. The album is about self love and confidence and I’ve made it for anyone who’s ever felt like they’re not enough because I know what that feeling is. I hope that listening to this album makes you feel as good about yourself as it’s made me feel writing it. High Expectations out now!!!! Link in bio 💗 Love all of you Mx
“It’s been incredible,” she enthuses. “I’ve worked on the album for almost three years and really poured everything into it, so I’m so excited that people can finally hear where my head’s at, the evolution of the sound, and my storytelling. I’m really proud of it, the reaction from fans has been amazing.”
The album takes listeners on a relatable journey, from relationships and break ups to self-love and mental health, reflecting on Mabel’s own experiences throughout her teenage years and into adulthood.
“I’ve always set the bar really high, I’m very ambitious, very driven,” Mabel explains.
“In relationships, I set the bar high there too, and then there’s what people expect of me and what I expect of myself. I just thought there were so many ways to look at that.”
Like many teenagers, Mabel has experienced issues with confidence, self-esteem and anxiety, using music as therapy and an escape.
“The whole album is about confidence and self-love,” Mabel enthuses. “I lacked a lot of confidence growing up and making the album has made me stronger in myself and more confident than ever.
“[High Expectations] is really for anyone who feels like they’re not enough, because I really know what that feels like. I’ve come out the other side of making the record and I just feel empowered, so it’s all about feeling good about yourself. That’s what I want the listener to feel when they’re listening to the tracks.”
Most surreal moment seeing my album like this 🤯 Best week of my life for real!!! Thank you so much for all the love you’ve shown so far but let’s keep goingggg 👉🏽 https://t.co/fubXUMCTua💖 pic.twitter.com/TwtiAcuy0Q
— Mabel (@Mabel) August 6, 2019
As well as the upbeat empowering dance tracks that we know and love in the charts, the album also explores the struggles of growing up, and the problems encountered along the way. Track 12, OK (Anxiety Anthem), explores the singer’s personal battle with anxiety, and the advice she wants to pass on to fans experiencing similar emotions.
“OK is the song that’s closest to my heart and it’s a song that I knew I had to write for many years,” continues Mabel. “I’m so open and honest about everything else, so I have to be open and honest about that part of my life, too.
“The battle with anxiety is a journey I’ve been on through my whole life. It’s about not pretending that everything’s great, because actually sometimes you just have to feel the bad days. If today’s a bad day, tomorrow will be better and rather than pushing that away, communicate with people; it’s all about being open and honest and not being ashamed.”
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This was the most challenging song to write because it's about something I spent so long feeling embarrassed about. Feeling low is ok and it can even make us stronger Watch the OK (Anxiety Anthem) vertical video on the Pop Rising playlist on @spotify🖤 Album is out now, I hope you love it
Following the release of High Expectations, Mabel has a busy year ahead. First stop is supporting Khalid on the European leg of his Free Spirit World Tour. And come 2020, she’s setting off on her hotly anticipated High Expectations headline tour.
“I’m so excited about the support tour, but obviously on my own tour, I’ll give even more than before,” she laughs. “If you’ve been to a Mabel show before, it’s going to be a completely new experience; if you haven’t been, I’m going to make sure you want to come back.
“All my shows are really high energy. It’s about bringing the vibe everywhere we go. I’ve got my dancers and we try to make it a little party that everyone’s invited to, so it’s going to be cool. I’m just excited to hear the people sing songs back to us and share those moments with fans.”
Mabel has a close bond with fans, many of whom are young girls, going through the same teenage trials and tribulations she writes about. So, how does she feel about being a strong female role model for so many?
“I’m just out here being myself and trying to help people who reach out with messages,” she explains. “It’s all about having open conversations about things, because it is really hard.
“Growing up is difficult, being a woman can be difficult, but it’s also a beautiful thing and I’m just trying to share my experience with people.”
Mabel’s unique style, her raw song writing and message of empowerment has created an album that you can not only dance to and belt out in the shower, but that also makes you feel like you have a friend that always has your back.
One thing’s for sure: Mabel has exceeded everyone’s high expectations, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Grab your tickets for Mabel supporting Khalid at the SSE Hydro on 20 September here, or catch her headline show at the O2 Academy in Glasgow on 1 February 2020.