It took spending a night in a Malaysian jail cell for Maggie Lindemann to find her purpose as an artist. “I was performing and someone tried telling me to get off stage in the middle of a song,” Lindemann says. “I got off and people from immigration told us I didn’t have the right papers to perform there. I was really scared and we ended up getting taken to the immigration center and got booked. I was in a jail cell for over 24 hours and then we were on house arrest in the hotel for five days until they finally let us go back to the U.S.”

Lindemann continues to experience anxiety to this day from the harrowing ordeal, but the experience left a positive mark on her as well. “Coming home from Malaysia really sparked something in me,” Lindemann shares. “It made me realize that if I’m not doing exactly what I want to be doing, then it’s not worth it. If crazy shit is going to happen to me, I want to at least be having a great time and doing exactly what I want to do.”

Long before she found herself in a prison cell thousands of miles from home, Lindemann was a teenage pop singer posting cover songs to social media. “Before Instagram had video, there was an app called Keek and I would make singing videos on there,” Lindemann says. “My manager actually saw a video of me singing on there and got in touch with my parents.”

Photo by Samantha Simmons

Photo by Samantha Simmons

Lindemann’s parents were understandably resistant to allowing their teenage daughter to meet a stranger from the music industry, but eventually they gave in and accompanied her from their home in Dallas to Los Angeles. Lindemann went on to relocate to L.A. at just 17 in order to put her all into making it in music. “I knew pretty early on that this is what I wanted to do,” Lindemann says. “I didn’t want to go to college and when ‘Pretty Girl’ started taking off, I knew that music could actually happen for me.”

“Pretty Girl” was Lindemann’s first single after signing to 300 Entertainment and it put her on the map as a pop artist. It was her first single to make it on a major U.S. chart and was soon heard on radio stations worldwide. “That song was formed through a tweet,” Lindemann explains. “I tweeted something about how I hate how everyone thinks that because I’m pretty, I’m not talented or smart. Then Cheat Codes hopped on and it blew up. I don’t think anyone thought that it was going to go that crazy.”

The track opened many doors for Lindemann and allowed her to build a loyal fanbase. But creatively, the bubblegum track only scratched the surface of who Lindemann is. “I felt that, at the time, this song was who I was and what I wanted to say,” Lindemann explains. “I’m older now and there’s so much that’s happened within the span of a couple of years. I’ve grown so much, I’ve found myself, and I’m not doing things for other people. The music I’m doing now truly comes from me and it’s exactly what I want to be doing.”

Photo by Brandon Arreaga

Photo by Brandon Arreaga

After returning home from Malaysia, Lindemann was inspired to start writing for herself. She recounts her nightmarish encounter with immigration in her song “Different.” From there, Lindemann continued to express her vulnerability through her writing, as she realized that if she could write about spending the night in a Malaysian jail, writing about anything else would be easy. This gave rise to what would become the first single from her upcoming “Paranoia” EP, “Knife Under My Pillow.” “I’m completely paranoid of being home alone,” Lindemann says. “I used to live in this big house and whenever my roommate wasn’t home, I would be so scared and sleep with a knife under my pillow. I would hide in the bathroom if I heard any noises and would call my friends because I thought there was someone in my house trying to kill me. I realized I needed to write about this because it was literally driving me insane.”

This revelation not only shifted Lindemann’s approach to more honest writing, it gave her the courage to pursue a genre that’s a pretty significant departure from what her audience is used to. Over the last year, Lindemann has leaned into alternative music and has taken inspiration from some of the bands she connected with as a kid. “Growing up, I just wanted to be heard and I felt heard listening to bands like Sleeping with Sirens,” Lindemann says. “That’s the band that got me through my hardest times. I would scream the lyrics and cry—and I hope people feel that with my music, whether that’s pain, sadness or happiness. I want my music to be there for people and show them they’re never alone, no matter what they’re going through.”

You can trace Lindemann’s evolution from an unsure teenager to a more experienced 22-year-old through her music. It’s hard to believe the same person wrote the uplifting pop hit “Pretty Girl” and the darkly emotional EP “Paranoia.” Yet Lindemann has grown a lot in five years and this change shows clearly through her approach to tattoos. “I got my first tattoo when I was 17 and it’s a broken heart on my wrist,” Lindemann says. “I wanted a broken heart because I thought that one day, when I got married, I would color it in because then I’d be full. But that’s stupid and I’m not doing that because I’ll never be full from someone else. I think it’s just going to stay broken forever.”

On the precipice of her upcoming EP, Lindemann is ready to show the world that she’s not the girl she used to be. She’s left her “Pretty Girl” roots in the past and now there’s nothing holding her back from showcasing her authentic sound. Get ready, Maggie, it’s your time.

Photo by Samantha Simmons

Photo by Samantha Simmons