Exclusive Interview: Max George opens up on new single Barcelona and The Wanted

Since The Wanted came to an end, lead singer Max George has spent his time out of the limelight in LA.   Now he's back with his debut solo single, Barcelona and he's happier than ever...

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Barcelona only dropped last week, what’s the reaction been since?

The reaction has been brilliant, so many people love it.  I went in with no expectations at all, I genuinely just didn’t know how it would be received but it has been so positive, it’s great.


Roman Kemp had the first play on Capital, when you were with him in the studio.  How did it feel to hear it?

It was weird, I was really nervous doing it on my own.  It reminded me of the first time All Time Low was played on the radio.   So yeah, it was nerve wracking but it felt pretty good.


The Wanted had a strong relationship with Global and Capital, are you pleased they had the first play?

Yeah absolutely, I was very pleased, I have a lot of close friends there now so it was so cool to go back there and do this.

You wrote the track a few years ago, what have you been doing since?

Just before I wrote the song I signed with Warner and Jason Derulo’s label, Future History.  I wanted the track out last summer and they had a staff turnaround there which meant I would also miss this Summer.  I really wanted to get the track out there, so I took people’s advice and went out on my own and set up my own label, working closely with Sony in America.


You’re back working with Jayne Collins, how’s that?

Well after everything at Warner it really made sense for me to go back to the old team, I’ve always been great friends with them and so there’s no better team for me to work with now for Barcelona.  Once my agreement was up with Scooter Braun it made perfect sense.


Is the label just to support your own releases or will you work with other artists too?

I think my plan is to sign other artists to the label.  It’s so hard for people to get signed to the big labels nowadays and I want to give people a platform.   There are some really talented young people out there and they need a chance.   

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When The Wanted split was it unanimous? Were you ready for it?

No, I wasn’t ready for it.  I wanted to take a break and find another ‘Glad You Came’, we really needed another big hit like that and I thought that was the plan, to take some time to get it right.  But when it did end, I didn’t sit there feeling like I was missing it, especially doing Glee.


We know you’ve had support for Barcelona from Tom and Jay, what about Siva and Nathan?

I haven’t spoken to or heard from them for a while.

You did the Bear Grylls tv show as well, didn’t you? Any plans for more tv work?

I’ve never really thought about doing more tv. The Bear Grylls thing came up and I said yes straight away because I liked him but I actually had no idea there was any competition element to it! I don’t know about doing more, I’m concentrating on music.


When can fans see you live?

I’m looking at doing some live stuff, there’s a Help the Heroes radio thing coming up and over the next three to four weeks or so I’d like to start getting out and about.   The industry works so differently now, you drop a track and you have to wait for it it build.  Streaming is everything now and it all takes time, it’s a different industry.  If Barcelona goes well, we’re looking at live stuff really in September or October time.


And what about a follow up single?

Around the same time I think, September or October.  I’m also doing a radio tour for Barcelona, so I will be up and down the country before long and then there’s stuff in the States, Dubai, Brazil, it’s really busy.


What are you listening to at the moment?

Leave a Light On by Tom Walker is the best song at the moment. I actually heard it when I wrote Barcelona and I wanted it for myself but was told it was already taken!  I listen to Ed Sheeran, he just bangs out hit after hit doesn’t he?


You’ve also got Tom’s wedding come up haven’t you?

Yeah man so the plan is wedding on Saturday and then pool party for the World Cup final on Sunday. It’s going to be mental, I can’t wait for that.


Will all five of The Wanted be there?

Three of us will be, you can probably guess who!

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Will there be singing involved?

Most likely, it depends how much I drink!  Although I’m more in control of that these days.


Speaking of which, it can’t be easy coming out of a phenomenom like The Wanted and not going on a downward spiral. How did you avoid that?

Will the first month after The Wanted it was really harda nd it could have gone that way but Glee brought focus.    You have to rehearse so much for it, that was like a year of work and because I’m not a natural dancer it took so much effort and I had to keep fit so that’s what kept me focussed and off the beer.  Although I still like the odd beer!


Are you more mature now?

Yeah well in The Wanted we were like kids, we’d go out drinking and then we’d go straight into an interview the next day and you had to rely on one or two of us carrying us through the interview, but I don’t have that luxury now, it’s all me!  You do make mistakes and that’s how you learn discipline and I’m nearly thirty so I am more mature now!


Any plans to tie the knot yourself? You’re in a stable relationship aren’t you?

Yeah I am and it’s great but no, we’ve not spoken about it.  I’m really focussed, we’re not rushing into anything. I am in a really happy place, I’m excited to see what happens with Barcelona and I’m very focussed so I’m just going with everything for now and we’ll see where it goes…


Barcelona is out now.

Listen / buy on iTunes

Listen via Spotify

Visit Max-George.com