We had the good fortune of connecting with Steel Maggie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steel Maggie, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
In the music business, I’m sure everyone on the outside knows about the shadiness and the manipulation/demoralization of musicians, especially the young ones, because it’s rampant in the entertainment industry in general. However, there’s something almost just as bad going on in the “independent” artist realm, something that I like to call the “indie-stry.” And that’s music business coaching. It’s a bad deal. It just is. Both the “coaches” that preach hustle culture and the hustles who rail against it, they still have the same system. They’re selling you the same thing, and that’s “mediocrity.” I’ve actually spent around $15,000 over the years with more than a dozen of these people, learning nothing but the lesson, finally, that I’m the only one with the answers to what I want to do. Don’t spend any money or time on “surefire strategies,” “formulas,” or “blueprints,” Especially if it’s a course sold by a webinar, click off immediately. Anything that looks like a click-funnel is 100% an absolute waste of your time and your mental energy. It’s not even about the money, because that replenishes. It’s about your peace of mind, and your belief in yourself. You’ll have these gurus and experts and coaches pushing the most limiting bs into your mindset and the way you see yourself. It’s poison, it’s insidious, and they will live rent free in your head. I was paying THEM to live there. If you define yourself as an “indie musician,” this is what you’re going to get. So say no. You’re an artist pure and simple. Do exactly what you’re moved to do. Don’t “optimize.” No matter what your industry is, don’t let anyone try and sell you how to be enough. Because you’re in charge here. You’re already more than enough.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My name is Steel Maggie, and I’m the demigoddess of dance pop. If you understandably have no clue what that means, I create bittersweet and bold dance pop for the minimally sane, the moderately restless, and the significantly idealistic. Still super cryptic? I totally get it.
Here – If Lady Gaga, Marina and the Diamonds, and Allie X had a lovechild, it would be me. I’m a songwriter, a vocalist, and above all, an entertainer. By both name and title, I embody duality in every sense of the word. But I didn’t claim or even know my own power for awhile. When I was 18, I was feeling out of place and lost in college. I was on the psychology track, believe it or not. My best friend told me to pursue what I really wanted to do, which was get into the performing arts department and just give myself the shot he showed me I deserved. I wrote my first song on guitar, even though by no means was that my primary instrument. I joined choirs and ensembles, trying to find my solo voice along the way. It was rough. I was pitchy and uncontrolled, and I was trying to put the gravitas of the male rock and roll vocal into female vocal chords; apparently that doesn’t read well! They told me I sounded like a folk artist, and that was the last straw, because I wanted to be pop. I went head first into my vocal development, and eventually found my own bittersweet and bold sound.
I take the “Steel” in my name and juxtapose it with “Maggie,” or my personification of the magnolia flower, evoking the duality in indestructible beauty. I am a conceptual kind of girl, 100%. I find much inspiration from literary symbolism, mythology, and Biblical themes, although my writing is definitely not Christian in nature. Mortality, self-worth, internal struggle, addiction, fear and control; all set to shimmering synths and classic four on the floor. I want my music to be an audio injection of strength and self-worth to anyone who listens, because that’s what it is to me. I want you to find your truth on the dance floor, that’s the goal of my music right now.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a fun question. It’s a different answer now than pre-pandemic times, but I’d say we could still do fun things. I love the beaches, especially the small relatively unknown ones in Laguna. Hiking is also a great thing to do in the surrounding LA areas, particularly La Tuna Canyon, Topanga, Malibu. Just beautiful areas in general, provided our wildfire season is not doing its thing. Eagle Rock has great restaurants, there’s a particularly good ramen place there if I remember correctly. Vegan options are on point in LA, for sure. Rodeo Drive, as I have mentioned in a song of mine, is perfect when you want to feel completely out of place and pretend you have money. Hamburger Mary’s, The Abbey and lgbtq+/drag spots in general would be cool if/whenever it’s safe to do so. I loved dancing in clubs and always will and can’t wait until we can do that again. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A drag queen by the name of Issa Diva, also known as Tim by day – my best friend, who planted the seed of Steel Maggie in my mind 10 years ago and has helped me grow to fill my own shoes every step of the way.
Other: Tik Tok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeeRv8mb/
Tim Gutierrez Alexander Thomas