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Youth Music Awards 2023 Winners: Ni Maxine

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Get to know the trailblazing winners across the 12 categories at the Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe.

ni maxine wears an orange dress and holds her award
Credit: Connie Burke

Ni Maxine

Liverpool Lighthouse, North west

Ni Maxine won the Original Track Award (Solo) sponsored by Levi's.

Ni Maxine was inspired to write "Strange Love" after having been deeply impacted by the TV series ‘I May Destroy You’, written by and starring Michaela Coel. Within the song, Ni itemises and explores the different types of love that we often encounter and weaves that multiplicitous journey into the finding of true love that is often right in front of us. The recognition of true love can often start and end with us genuinely loving ourselves and understanding our true worth; only then can we open the door to real love from external sources.

Ni draws on a combination of lived / witnessed experience and imagination. The lyrics are tightly married with the music which ruminates in a 6/8, bass-heavy jazzy dream-space before a bossa nova awakening, acknowledging love that's "right beneath your noses, away from validation-seeking."

ni maxine acceptance speech
Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand

How are you feeling?

Really overwhelmed, pleased and excited.

What does this award mean to you?

It really means a lot. I’m kinda going through a bit of a dip, I think it’s a really tough time to be an independent artist and there’s been so many times recently where I’ve thought I’m just gonna quit and get a full time job because I need money and I need a team and I can’t get that right now. So this right now is so validating, inspiring and encouraging and I’m just so grateful. Thank you.

So I heard you were inspired to write 'Strange Love' by the hit TV show 'I May Destroy You'. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

It was so amazing, such an important piece of TV, not respected enough I don’t think. There were so many themes that resonated with me and it’s such an emotional watch. I just needed to offload and try and process some of my relationships. I love her (Michaela Cole).

Would you say this award is dedicated to her as well?

Yeah let’s do that. This is for you Michaela!

How do you navigate loving yourself?

With difficulty…It’s a real challenge and I think we live in a world that constantly tells us that we need to be different from how we are and who we are. So it’s challenging, and the song is a message to my younger self and anyone else who’s in a position where they don’t know how to love themselves and they need to learn, because otherwise they’re just gonna keep getting hurt and hurting other people, and that’s not gonna be great.


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