If you’ve opened TikTok even for the briefest of moments this year, you’ll likely have heard ‘If We Ever Broke Up’, the funky, attitude-filled alt-pop bop sweeping the app. Its creator,19-year-old Kettering musician Mae Stephens, has been bombarded with messages to release the song in full and, now, the alt-pop hit of 2023 is here.
Before she woke up on New Year’s Day to some of the more than 200 million TikTok views that the track has now racked up, Mae was finding solace and sanctuary in her music-making between working shifts at her local Asda. A songwriter since the age of 12, she’d used music to guide her through the hardships of teenage life, pouring her heart out in emotional, impactful songs penned at her nan’s old piano.
In Mae Stephens, Gen Z has found a new champion – an artist ready to use her voice to help others and provide the same kind of sanctuary in her music that it gave her while making it. “A lot of kids are probably going through stuff that’s a lot worse than what I went through and it’s not highlighted as much as it should be,” she says. “To watch kids go through not and not have someone to look up to is something I’m really trying to stop. I want to be the champion of the underdogs – Mae’s misfits.”