Singer, songwriter, and producer, YOUR ANGEL, aka Maddy Boyd, is back with a brand new album titled A Star In The Headlights that will satisfy all of your pop music cravings. As a follow-up to her debut album Pipe Dream, this album is chock full of tracks about relationships, loneliness, and self-discovery. With poignant and honest lyrics along with an infectious indie-pop sound, there’s something for every listener. Boyd, who is based in LA, began her musical career by joining indie-rock bands Current Joys and Surf Curse on tour. She was with them until 2019, playing over 150 sold-out shows, before she decided to pursue a solo career.
We chatted with Boyd about her new album, touring, and her process as an artist.
Tell us about “Misbehave.”
“Misbehave” is a song I wrote right after I met my now-boyfriend of 2 years. It was at a time when LA was deep in COVID lockdown and so we got serious really fast because we essentially started quarantining together. He just came over and never left! He also met and stayed with my family within a month of us dating, which is super out of the ordinary for me. So yeah, the song is about meeting someone who you feel like you’ve known your whole life. You just want to throw all your boundaries out the window and go all in. The underlying narrative of the song is also about feeling like the pandemic put a pause on life and that it wasn’t fair to still be aging.
You wrote and produced it on your own at first before bringing on others to collaborate with you. Does working in solitude allow you to really focus on the project and figure out what you want it to be?
I really value working by myself before I have anyone else touch my music. I like to write and produce simultaneously because I find it easier and more satisfying to build a cohesive world for a song to live in when the writing and production are playing off of each other. I do think collaboration is super important, but at the end of the day, I’m still writing music for the same reasons I started when I was a kid. It’s one of the only ways I know how to process my emotions and the world around me. I have a hard time letting myself do that when I have someone hovering over my shoulder. But one of the most fun parts of the process is definitely bringing songs to my friends for them to put their touch on!
For you, what comes first – the lyrics or the melody?
Definitely the melody. I will mumble random stuff and sometimes little lines will stick here and there but for the most part, I’m figuring out the melody first.
Having established yourself as a solo artist with your first album, what was it like working on this second album? Did you have any goals in mind as you worked on it?
I found the process of making my new album, A Star in the Headlights, super fulfilling! I’m proud of my first album, Pipe Dream, but it’s definitely a pretty lo-fi record because I was still teaching myself how to produce when I made it. It was the first time I had a computer with enough space to make full songs! I’ve definitely grown as a producer since then, which is why A Star in the Headlights is more along the lines of the music I have always wanted to make. I didn’t really go into it with any set goals other than trying to encapsulate the feeling of nostalgia. All of my favorite songs made me feel like I had known them my whole life from the first listen, so I want my music to make people feel that way too.
Are there any tracks that took a little longer to nail down than others?
“Misbehave” definitely gave us the most trouble. It’s in 3/4 which was really annoying of me. We couldn’t figure out the drums for a while because we were way over complicating it. But I think she turned out pretty cute!
Any that came very easily?
“STAR” definitely came the easiest. It’s also by far my favorite song on the album. I feel like it truly embodies the world of YOUR ANGEL. Making that song was just so simple and intuitive. It is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made.
Who were your biggest inspirations while working on this album?
Britney Spears, Long Distance – Ivy, FutureSex/LoveSounds – Justin Timberlake (and Timbaland), No Angel – Dido, Born to Die – Lana Del Rey, Beach House, Slide – George Clanton.
What is the main message you’re trying to put out there with this new album?
I guess just that there is beauty in our most ugly, embarrassing, shameful emotions and that we’re not unique in feeling them. I’m not sure I was intentionally trying to put that message into the world but I was definitely trying to convince myself of it!
Prior to working on your solo projects, you were touring with Current Joys and Surf Curse. What do you cherish when you look back at your time with those bands and being on the road with them?
Oh man, I honestly don’t even know where to start! We were a family — there’s really nothing like being young and going on tour with your best friends. It was such a trip. I played the first shows I had ever played in those bands. The extent of my performance experience was busking outside of Starbucks on the sidewalk in Santa Fe before that. Playing in those bands was so formative and I 1000% would not be where I am today without them. They will always be family to me and I love them all very much.
As a solo artist, do you have any goals in terms of touring and what that will look like?
I would literally do anything to go on tour right now. I genuinely love touring even though it can be kind of gnarly. I really hope to tour before the end of this year. I take a lot of pride in my live show. I want my shows to be a massive, cathartic party. I want people to dance and cry and scream and wear their craziest hottest outfits. I want to lean into the theatrics and absurdity of it all. I think I have felt deeply misunderstood my entire life and the reason pursuing music as a career is so important to me is because it feels like the easiest way to see and be seen. I want my live shows to make everyone feel seen.