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Medieval Melodies: Penny Mae is Staking Her Claim to MN’s Music Throne

At just 21 years old, Minneapolis artist Penny Mae is asserting her seat at the MN Music high-table.

With industry-level vocals and razor-sharp lyrics, the Uptown native wields her sound like a sonic Excalibur.

Exposed to music at a young age, Mae cut her teeth performing national anthems at big-time venues all over the city…⬇️

Penny Mae-Timberwolves Game:

But once the pandemic hit and the world went on pause, Mae had to switch gears…

Fast forward to March 2022: Mae has over 6,000 fans on SoundCloud as well as almost 9,000 listeners on Spotify.

With her newest EP ‘Feel Good’ dropping last month, Mae’s momentum in the scene is red-hot.

Blending soft, feminine vocals with biting lyrics, her music packs a cerebral punch woven in a smooth, ‘late-night drive’ aesthetic.

With that, let‘s sit down with the fiery prodigy herself to see what sparked her musical flame…


📸 by @kittikussi

What pushed you to start pursuing music as a career?

Growing up with ADHD, I had trouble focusing on reading and writing in class. Funny enough, the only thing I could actually read and focus on was karaoke lyrics. From that, I got really into performing and eventually met a great vocal coach named Savannah Street. She really helped me stretch myself as a singer and refine my sound as an artist.

When COVID hit, I started writing/dropping a ton of music on SoundCloud. From there, I’ve been riding that momentum ever since. My Grandpa is also a jazz teacher; so whether it be him, my dad, or other role models, I’ve been immersed in music my whole life.

Which artists have influenced your sound the most?

I’d say Nora Jones and Corinne Bailey-Ray were big in helping me find that soft, ‘feminine-lullaby’ type of cadence. Also, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Bob Marley wowed me with their ability to weave powerful messages into soulful, timeless melodies. I love music that hits on a sonic, surface level yet still delivers a meaningful statement underneath.

What’s your unfiltered take on the Minneapolis music scene?

I feel like Minneapolis has a great sense of authenticity because we don't have the superficial pressure to be like everybody else(LA, New York, etc.) in that we aren’t as much of a hotspot(yet). It also makes sense to be sad in Minnesota, so my heavier, deeper material gains a lot more traction in an area where a lot your audience can relate to it.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your music career so far?

As an artist, I think it’s important to be careful about what you say. You can drop a song that’s goofy or silly, but it’s important to speak your truth on some level. I’d also say expanding your comfort zone is crucial. For me, I grew up in more of a jazz, scat music environment where I was more of a belter(low-pitch); but because of that, I was insecure about my falsetto(high pitch); but after diving into that weakness, now some of my best songs are in falsetto. Just always be willing to stretch your comfort zone as an artist and dive head first into new styles, no matter how intimidating they first seem. Those limitations aren’t real.

If everything went your way for the next 5 years, what does that look like?

I’d love nothing more than touring and performing as a traveling artist. Seeing the world and connecting with people through my music is a dream come true.

Any specific projects you’d like to highlight?

Yes! For this month, I’ve got both a new video and single dropping very soon…

The video is for my newest single, ‘What to Say’. It's a classical, down-to-earth track with a touch of glamour/flash. For the video, I put a lot of emphasis on the filmmaking as a form of visual storytelling. Details are everything.

Penny Mae-‘What to Say‘ Music Video ⬇️


Stream Penny Mae’s latest single, ‘Ruby Crown’ available now on all platforms!



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-Cameron Hernandez

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