So, Mae Muller has been officially revealed as the UK’s entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
The 25-year-old heads to Liverpool in May to perform I Wrote A Song – a daft-but-catchy revenge song, written about her ex-boyfriend and teased heavily on her social media channels.
Muller follows hot on the heels of Sam Ryder, who came second in Turin last year – giving the UK its best result in more than two decades.
Like him, she’s been in the music business for a while, releasing her debut single Close in 2018; and scoring a minor hit in 2021 with Better Days.
Hailed as “the relatable queen of sass” and a “pop sensation in the making”, she’s already been nominated for an MTV Award, and worked with stars including Little Mix and Marshmello.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2023 Eurovision hopeful.
She’s got middle child syndrome
Holly Mae Muller was born in 1997 in Kentish Town, North London; and says she was a typical, spotlight-pulling middle child.
“I have been an attention seeker since I was two,” she recently told the Private Parts podcast. “Every Christmas or family thing, I was like, ‘I want to put on a show! Everyone sit down, I wanna sing for you!’
“It sounds so silly but I just loved music and I felt I loved music more than anybody else.”
Her parents separated when she was six, but Mae stayed in London with her mum, a costume designer, while attending school in Tufnell, where she taught younger children creative writing.
Handily, her aunt is a music video director, and Muller used to spend afternoons as a runner for artists like Labrinth, for whom she once made tea in a polystyrene cup.
“It was my claim to fame for a long time,” she told Golden Plectrum.
She’s never confirmed her aunt’s identity – but it seems likely to be Sophie Muller, the acclaimed director of videos like No Doubt’s Don’t Speak, Bjork’s Venus As A Boy and Beyoncé’s Deja Vu.
Sophie also directed the clip for Mika’s Grace Kelly, which brings us to this…
Her first role was in a Mika video
When she was nine years old, Muller starred in the video for Mika’s breakout single, dancing around in a lime green ballgown, and lip-syncing Grace Kelly’s dialogue from The Country Girl.
“I actually got it based on how [messed] up my teeth were, apparently,’ she said on a recent episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
“I guess they saw all the auditions and he went, ‘She’s got some real intense teeth. That’s good, we like that’.”
Gwen Stefani made her pursue music
The first album she obsessed over was Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby – a hyperactive pop classic that married pop, hip-hop and a retrospectively questionable obsession with Japanese Harajuku culture.
“I wouldn’t say she influenced my music and songwriting, but after discovering Gwen I knew that I wanted to do what she did,” Muller told Wonderland magazine in 2018.
Other early influences included Florence + The Machine (“I would listen to her on my headphones and cry about some 12-year-old boy I was upset about”) and Lily Allen’s debut album, Alright Still.
“We used to listen to it on holiday,” she recalled.
“We’d be driving around these beautiful mountains and Lily Allen would come on saying the rudest things. I was still at primary school so I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew I was obsessed with it.”
She wrote her first song because the Wi-fi failed
Despite her aspirations, Muller only wrote her first song when she was 19 – and even then, she was forced into it.
The singer was taking a train from her father’s house in Cornwall back to London when the Wi-fi cut out, and she started writing a tune about her boyfriend to stave off the boredom.
“I opened Notes [on my phone] and started singing melodies and anything that came into my head,” she told The Line Of Best Fit. “I just said how I felt and tried to make it into a song and it worked.”
After getting home, she asked a friend to help her record the song on his laptop, and uploaded the track – now called Closer – to the internet.
“I gave him a bottle of wine for doing it, because I had no money.”
The song is still on her Soundcloud now.
“From there it just kind of snowballed,” she told Glamour magazine. “I started getting into sessions and just making more and more music and working on improving my writing skills.”
Those early songs scored her a manager and a publishing deal, and she was signed to Capitol Records in 2018.
Better Days was her breakout hit
A collaboration with Swedish producers Neiked, Better Days blew up in September 2021, giving Muller her first taste of chart success.
An upbeat, joyous slice of dance-pop, it’s an obvious festival-slayer, but Muller was initially reluctant to record it.
“I used to be very stubborn with recording songs that I didn’t write myself, because that’s always what I’ve done,” she told Women In Pop.
“But I listened to it and I just fell in love with it. A great song is a great song, and Neiked said ‘Put your sauce on it’ and so I did and it just felt right.”
She was right to trust her instincts – the song sold more than a million copies and has gone platinum in the US.
Her Eurovision song is a diss track
“Never cheat on a songwriter” is a good axiom to live your life by.
Muller has made a career of shaming her feckless ex-boyfriends on songs like So Annoying, Jenny and HFB – which tells the (true) story of how she discovered her partner was two-timing her, and dumped him on his 18th birthday “so every year he’s reminded of his mistakes”.
Her Eurovision entry – I Wrote A Song – continues the tradition.
“I was really annoyed at this guy. I wanted to do something crazy, maybe burn his house down, I don’t know,” she explained on TikTok,
“But instead I took the high road and I wrote a song. And that’s called growth, ladies and gentlemen.”
An upbeat club banger with flecks of Spanish guitar, the song tells that story almost word for word.
I was going to cuss you out / Outside your house for everyone to see
Wanted to trash your Benz / Tell all your friends how cruel you were to me
Instead I wrote a song / About how you did me wrong
I could have cried at home / And spent the night alone
Instead I wrote a song…
Technically, however, the title should be “I co-wrote a song”.
Muller had a little assistance in the studio from hitmakers Karen Poole (Kylie Minogue, Zara Larsson, Becky Hill) and Lewis Thompson (Joel Corry, Little Mix Raye).
She can ‘cut it’ live
Before Sam Ryder, one of the big failures of the UK’s Eurovision acts was their total lack of experience in performing (a) live vocals, (b) on camera, (c) to a global television audience, or (d) to anyone at all.
But Muller has paid her dues and earned her stripes and generally proven to be pretty decent at holding her own on live television.
She’s supported Liam Payne and Little Mix on tour; sung with Aitch in the Live Lounge; and played a sold-out homecoming show at the Kentish Town Forum last year.
And here she is performing to millions on The Voice US, looking perfectly at home in front of megastars like Ariana Grande and John Legend.
Fingers crossed for Liverpool.
Harry Styles helps her get ready for the stage
Most musicians have a pre-show ritual to help them get in the zone. Foo Fighters drink shots and listen to Michael Jackson, Rihanna leads her band in a battle cry, Beyoncé gets an extensive massage.
Mae’s demands are slightly more simple.
“I have to have a tea,” she told CBBC earlier this year. “And I recently got a Harry Styles mug, and now I have to have it in my Harry Styles mug.
Her love for Styles runs deep. “When I was 13, I went to see One Direction on X Factor, and I’ve grown up with him, she told Capital Radio last year.
But the obsession almost got her into trouble last year – after she released a cover of Styles’ As It Was, and used the Harry Styles mug as the artwork.
“I failed to realise you can’t just have the most famous man in the world’s face on your release without their permission,” she admitted.
“[I] had to take it down to save getting sued.”
Despite the surname, she’s not the heiress to a German yoghurt fortune
But she did dress up as a giant Muller Corner yoghurt for a Hallowe’en show in 2019.
Bonus fact: Mae also has a tattoo of a Tunnock’s Teacake on her forearm.
After Eurovision – a film career?
In the middle of last year, Muller shot her first ever film role in a gritty action thriller called Gassed Up.
Directed by Bafta-nominated documentary maker George Amponsah, it tells the story of 20-year-old Ash (Stephen Odubola), who gets caught up in a wave of moped crime while trying to raise money to send his mother to rehab.
Muller posted a video from the set last July, saying the shoot had “been the most fun, exciting, scary, amazing experience” of her life.
But music will remain her focus, with her debut album planned for later this year – and her sights set on the charts.
“I never wanted to be a cool underground artist,” she told Billboard magazine. “I want to be a pop star; I want to travel the world; I want to be in the charts. I never shied away from that.”