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Metro Artist Spotlight: Rising Pop Star MAX

In this exclusive interview with Metro.Style, MAX talked about his newest album “Love in Stereo,” his trending “Stupid in Love” track, and his passion for collaboration

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Oversized blazer with floral applique, sheer button-down shirt and wide-leg pants, all custom-made by Martin Uy | Photography by Erron Ocampo of Metrophoto


With millions of listeners and billions of streams under his belt, multi-decorated singer-songwriter Max Schneider, mononymously known as MAX, is no stranger to making hit songs like “Lights Down Low,” “It’s You,” and “Blueberry Eyes.” His cross-culture collaborations, along with the record-smashing tunes that his music folio boasts, involve global forces and icons no less than the likes of Keshi, Huh Yun-jin of LE SSERAFIM, and Suga of BTS.


Recently, after dropping his 12-track studio album “Love in Stereo,” Max returned to the Philippines for the second time for a series of tours, shows, and collaborative projects. “It’s been great. There’s been a lot of great singing; a lot of great music, food; wonderful, passionate fans. I’ve loved it,” he shared with Metro.Style in an exclusive sit-down interview. 


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He beamed when asked how he was welcomed by his Filipino fans. He said, “Everybody sings so, so loud and passionately and there’s just so much enthusiasm and kindness and lots of hugs… Most people are like me. I’m a short king. I’m very proud of it. And I love that so many people are short kings and queens so we hug so easily. I love it. It’s great.”


Looking back on his first visit to the Philippines back in 2016, Max revealed what memorable experience he had with a fan. “I had someone break into my hotel room, which was crazy, but I was totally fine. And it was just a very passionate person who worked at the hotel,” he revealed, as if amused by the “breaking-in.”


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“It was someone who was really loving and the note on my mirror said, ‘come see how we party on the fourth floor,’” he carried on. “It just goes to show that Filipino fans are full of love and passion. So it was awesome.”


“I got back from my show and I looked up and on my bathroom mirror, it was in Sharpie—like written in Sharpie on my mirror.”


Besides pork sinigang, an even more reason to come back to the land—according to Max—is the treatment that he gets from the Filipino community. “Kind,” “sweet,” and “amazing,” as he would describe it, Filipinos have been nothing but loving to him. He has also met local artists like Pio Dumayas of Filipino rock band Lola Amour; P-pop supergroup SB19; and in-demand singer-actress Alexa Ilacad, with whom he performed his viral piece “Stupid in Love” on the ASAP Natin ’To stage.


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Sheer shirt with thread applique and wide-leg pleated pants both made to order by Martin Uy; tank top by H&M; and belt by Uniqlo


Meanwhile, on the topic of future collaborations with Filipino talents, Max said, “Hopefully. We’ll see! You know, for me, the collaboration just comes sort of naturally so if we meet, we get along, let’s see what happens.”


Now a more evolved musician, Max caught us up on how he eventually grew into his own skin despite the pressures of the industry. “[My music has] just become more and more [of] myself, honestly. I think that the longer I do it, the more confident I feel to put out songs that I just love and that feel vulnerable and hopefully authentic to the audience.”


For one, in the case of Max’s favorite, “Stupid in Love,” he knew in the first place that while it may not resonate with everybody, most of his listeners will still relate to it. 


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“It was a song that not everybody on my team necessarily believed in the same way I did. So it’s really great that the fans decide which songs they love the most. And the same [goes] with ‘It’s You.’ I just feel like there are so many songs now where I just make the music that I love the most and then I hope that people will love it as well.”


Scroll down and learn more about MAX and his most recent pursuits in music:


What was your selection process like with the collaborators for “Love in Stereo?”

“So hard! I mean, I did probably a hundred songs for this album. I wrote a lot of them and some went to other artists and some just for myself. But I think on the collaborator side, I just go with artists who I respect and I’m excited about like Duckwrth. [He] has been one of my favorite artists for so long. So having him on ‘Say Less’ was such a dream and he was so cool and like, does all his own styling. Really cool guy!


With Yun-jin, it was so cool because I get to work with BTS a lot and their team and I co-write some of their songs. And so I was working with their team and they introduced me to Yun-jin and to the team and she wrote me a beautiful letter and so the universe just has a plan, I’d like to say. And so different collaborators come in different ways but always, it has to come from a mutual love and respect and I think that’s what is consistent for my collaborations.”


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Tailored blazer and pants by Keith Sacasas and beaded long-sleeved top by Zara


You mentioned that K-pop changed your life. How exactly would you say that it did?

“I just felt so seen and loved and respected and I felt the same way, too. I think that growing up, I always felt a little different. I guess. I love fashion and I’ve always just been someone who never really fit into one box. For some reason—I think that a lot of people who—especially BTS, I think that people just felt seen and heard and safe.”


How do you feel about your music reaching Asia?

“I’m from New York. I’m that kid busking on the subway with my ukulele... It never gets old that my music is on another part of the world, that people are listening, and that I get to come here and meet everybody. It’s just I never take it for granted. It’s really beautiful.”


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Photographer: Erron Ocampo of Metrophoto

Editor-in-Chief: Geolette Esguerra

Sittings editors: Red Dimaandal and Grace Libero-Cruz

Editorial Assistant: Mika Yusay

Videographer: Giancarlo Escamillas

Grooming & hairstyling by Paoie Minerales

Styling by Eds Cabral 

Photography assistants: Billyjoe Angue, John Rubiales, Aizel dela Rosa, and Nikki Quiogue

Flowers from Pazu

Shot on location at Marquis Events Place

Special thanks to Warner Music PhilippinesGrace Foronda, and Marquis' Aezel Valerio and Riza Delector


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