‘I think I might be grown’: Mae Krell Charts Her Coming-of-Age in a Debut Album of Healing, Hope, & Choosing Life

Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Brooklyn singer/songwriter Mae Krell takes us track-by-track through her achingly vulnerable and breathtakingly beautiful debut album ‘(i think) i might be grown’ – a warm and wondrous, life-affirming indie folk album shining bright with sweet love and inner light.
tw: suicide
Stream: “apollo’s song” – Mae Krell

I’m living a future I never thought I’d have…

Mae Krell will be the first to tell you that this album wasn’t in her cards.

Not at first – none of it was.

“For so long, I couldn’t see past the moment, week, or month that I was in. The concept of living long enough to have a life as full as I do today was some sort of fantasy I daydreamed about in my free time,” the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter tells Atwood Magazine. “I was seventeen and struggling so much that I didn’t see myself sticking around for very long.”

But she did stick around, and eight years later, Krell’s debut album – a record she never expected to make – is a testament to choosing life.

Achingly vulnerable and breathtakingly beautiful, (i think) i might be grown is a warm and wondrous, life-affirming indie folk album shining bright with sweet love and inner light. It’s a collection of intimate, tender songs soaking up the fullness of this world – the big moments we remember, the little things that make us smile – and basking in the simple joy of being here, today.

Because Krell almost wasn’t.

“As I’ve grown and committed fully to being here, everything has changed: I’m sober, my family wants to be around me, I have a job where I’m valued, I have a girlfriend who I love more than anything in the world, and dogs who are excited to see me when I get home,” she smiles. “All of these are things that are so far beyond the realm of possibility that I lived in for most of my life. That’s the core of this album. I feel it every day when I wake up, I feel it on stage, or when someone tells me that they relate or connect with a song… Making this album has felt like solidifying and claiming my place in this world. I’m meant to be here, and I was from the day I was born. It just took me until 25 to see it.”

(i think) i might be grown - mae krell
(i think) i might be grown – mae krell
The dog meant to outlive me is starting to get old 

My best friend’s name will change soon

Floral blueprints on the floor 

And i’ve thought a lot of leaving

The only city that i’ve ever known

Thought i clipped its wings 

But somehow time’s flown by 

And i never saw myself
walking down an aisle 

Couldn’t imagine
what I’d look like past 25 

Dreams were a luxury
that i couldn’t afford

And now

I’m living a future
I never thought I’d have 

Independently released April 19, 2024, (i think) i might be grown is an enchanting, evergreen reminder of the real magic and supernatural beauty that is being live. The coming-of-age story “for someone who didn’t plan to come of age, or ever think that she would,” Mae Krell’s debut album is a candid, unfiltered, and honest, and raw collection of songs dwelling in the deep end of self-reflection and self-discovery, meditation and observation. Krell isn’t so much soul-searching, as she is soul-purging in eleven stirring, heartrending tracks that tell the story of a teenager who grew up. With her innermost humanity exposed for all the world to hear, Krell explores and unpacks her “struggles and subsequent triumphs of growing up, falling in love, and finding herself.”

Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon

Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon

And as important as it is that this special record be shared far and wide – just think how many people could benefit from hearing Mae Krell’s songs and story – it was one that she needed to make not for others, but for herself.

“I know it’s pretty typical to say this about a debut album, but I feel like I’ve spent my whole musical life working toward making a project like this,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “What’s a bit less typical is that I didn’t ever imagine that I’d reach this point – both within my career as an artist and as a person who struggled to believe she’d live long enough to do so. (I think) I might be grown is my coming-of-age story. It’s a little late (I’m 25), somewhat atypical, and most importantly unexpected and unplanned.”

“Of course, the process of going through experiences when you didn’t prepare or plan for them makes them a lot more difficult, but it also makes them all the more beautiful. What is it like to live in spite of yourself? To get sober and lose friends and find love and get older when you previously could never imagine even in your wildest dreams what any of that would look like… it’s a beautiful thing, and this record holds all of it.”

I’ve been searching 

For the wrong thing

And i’ve been chasing it for years

A long wilted garden

I’ve replanted

It won’t bloom

’Till i’m beneath it 

Does all beauty

Need to disappear

So that it can be born again?

What if i don’t want to?

What if i don’t want to?

Leave this place and then come back

What if i don’t want to?

What if i don’t want to?

Leave this place
– “garden ii (intro),” Mae Krell

While this record has been in her bones from day one, the concept for it came about eighteen months ago.

“The concept of this album and the vision behind it began when I wrote ‘apollo’s song’ in November of 2022,” Krell adds. “I felt like that song was part of a larger narrative about growing up that I had been trying to communicate for a while, but hadn’t quite figured out the words for yet. As I kept writing, now with a larger project in mind, it developed more into wanting to tell a story of coming of age in your 20s and having all of these experiences that are typically reserved for your teen years a bit later, or more vulnerably, of growing up when you never planned to.”

“The vision of the project stayed consistent throughout recording, in part I think because the track list was finalized before we started working in the studio, but I do think that I began to internalize the concept of the album a lot more. I had so many moments where I was so beyond grateful to be alive throughout the recording process and my time in the studio, and that’s what this album is all about, really. To step back from your life and realize that everything turned out alright, and that everything you went through and struggled with now has the power to help someone else.”

Hurt myself and call it independence
I’ll tell you the truth

As long as you don’t call my parents

We pinky promise
I say that it’s for the better

It all works perfect until you get caught
And of course I thought that the world was on fire

Burning houses are all i’ve ever known

And the warmth can start to feel like home 

After a season, or a couple

Or a decade or two
And I wonder when i’ll start sleeping through the whole night

Thought I would’ve aged into that by now

And if asking to belong is too much,

Can I at least least ask to begin?

Ask to begin
Can’t blame the you that didn’t know better

Thought I would have believed that by now 

And if I grow old and still can’t sleep through the night

At least i can say I tried

It’s not your fault

No one taught you to survive
– “to begin,” Mae Krell
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon

Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon

You all say I turned out fine, but I’ll always be searching for what I’m too grown to find…

– “this place,” Mae Krell

Krell describes (i think) i might be grown as introspective, healing, and hopeful.

She made the album together with producer and multi-instrumentalist Jakob Leventhal.

“I’ve always wanted to make folk music, but for a long time I was too scared to commit to it,” she admits. “It’s generally a more stripped-down genre, and as a solo artist there’s really not much left to hide behind. If you’re opening up about something in a folk song, it’s just you and the lyrics, hoping someone will listen and try to understand. While I think I’ve slowly inched toward who I’ve always wanted to be as an artist throughout my time releasing music, this album is the first time that I’m putting something out and really feeling like it’s 100% me, no compromises, no changes to make other people happy and no censorship to make people comfortable with the stories I’m telling.”

The album takes its title from the lyrics in its final track “grown,” a song Krell hopes gets heard far and wide.

“As a fan, I really love when album titles aren’t just the name of a track but rather a lyric or something that references the overall concept,” she explains. “When trying to decide on an album title, I listened through the whole record and wrote down the lyrics that I felt were most instrumental to the story, and then narrowed it down based on what felt most right. ‘grown,’ as the closing track of the album, feels to me like the whole concept wrapped up into a three-ish minute folk song, so I leaned toward a lyric from that one. I don’t know if I’m all grown up yet; I don’t think I am, or at least I hope not. I’d like to think that I have more time, but I’m also way farther into my life than I thought I’d ever be. I’m not grown quite yet, but I think I might be.”

Highlights abound across (i think) i might be grown‘s eleven tracks. The one that started it all, “apollo’s song,” is a definitive standout in a sea of stunning songwriting. Krell holds nothing back, singing her brutally honest lyrics over a sweet, tender acoustic guitar and gentle drums. With emotive grace and heartfelt sincerity, she sings candidly, reflecting on all the life changes she never thought she’d see. The experience aches with the vulnerability of a soul who stuck around, despite her suffering – and the weight of that is not lost on the listener.

What do you do with a life you didn’t plan for?
Sucker punched straight into your wildest dreams 

And worries too, good things never come unpunished

Think i might finally stop praying for relief

And i never saw myself walking down an aisle 

But i’m starting to look pretty damn close to 25 

Dreams were a luxury that i couldn’t afford

And now

I’m living a future i never thought i’d have

Mae Krell and the dog "meant to outlive her" © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell and the dog “meant to outlive her” © Alex Lyon

Krell says “grown” has been her favorite song since she wrote it, but that “garden ii (intro),” “too hard,” and “apollo’s song” have all connect with her more as time has gone on and she internalized their lyrics. As a folk-leaning singer/songwriter, the words she sings hold tremendous importance; she shares six lines that continues to resonate with her to this day:

  • garden ii (intro): a long wilted garden I’ve replanted, it won’t bloom ‘til I’m beneath it
  • to begin: I wonder when I’ll start sleeping through the whole night / thought I would’ve aged into that by now / and if asking to belong is too much / can i at least ask to begin?
  • too hard: i wish i could see myself through my dog’s eyes / as loving / and capable / and kind
  • this place: what a blessing to have something to lose / all this gratitude feels more like a noose
  • apollo’s song: the dog meant to outlive me is starting to get old
  • grown: the grass might not be greener / but i’m sure it’s easier to take care of

Mae Krell © Alex Lyon
Mae Krell © Alex Lyon

For as dark a place as she once was in, Mae Krell has created a truly inspiring and life-affirming album.

She’s not living in spite of herself; she’s living for herself, and it sounds absolutely glorious.

What a blessing to have something to lose

All this gratitude feels more like a noose
Every corner is a story i’ve begged my mind to erase

And if I let myself
I’ll spend forever trying to love this place
I’m terrified of changing
Is it worse to stay the same?

And if I let myself
I’ll spend forever trying to leave this place
– “this place,” Mae Krell

“I hope I can make someone who has experienced anything remotely similar feel less alone and help them find some sort of hope to stick around for just a bit longer,” Krell shares. “So much of life is so difficult, but when you see it through, it has the potential to be so beyond beautiful in a way that I never imagined. Working on this album has been a lot of internalizing all of that – I’ve had so many moments where I’ve thought: ‘Wow, I really am so grateful to be alive. I can’t believe I wanted to give this up for so long. I’m so happy everything turned out the way that it did.’”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Mae Krell’s (i think) i might be grown with Atwood Magazine as she takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!

— —

:: stream/purchase (i think) i might be grown here ::
:: connect with mae krell here ::
‘(i think) i might be grown’ – mae krell

:: Inside (i think) i might be grown ::

(i think) i might be grown - mae krell

— —

garden ii (intro)

“garden ii (intro)” acts as the preface to the storyline of this album. Before I can tell you what it has felt like to enter adulthood without any preparation, I have to tell you about the moment where I realized that I might actually want to stick around to experience my own life. This song is meant to encompass that turning point moment.

to begin

“to begin” is where this project properly starts. It’s a little messy, and maybe some of the lyrics are a bit uncomfortable to hear, but that’s how it felt to live through the situations that the song talks about. My teenage years were really tough, but what’s been even harder is trying to forgive myself for all of the pain I caused — both to myself and the people I love. “to begin” is trying to find compassion for a younger version of yourself who didn’t know better, and hopefully, beginning to forgive her too.

who we said we’d be

“who we said we’d be” is my ode to old friends and all of the different people each of us could have ended up becoming. It also finds me specifically questioning: if i had made the choices I once thought were right as opposed to what I ended up choosing as I changed- would i be happier?

too hard

“too hard” is the track on this album that digs the deepest into my thoughts. I have such an intense fear of being left, and often that manifests as a fear of being known as well- both by myself and by others. “too hard” focuses on that and the spirals that it often leads me to. My little sister actually helped me finish it up when I couldn’t get the melody to a place I was happy with, so it feels extra special for that reason as well.

body bag

I had the concept of “body bag” in my head (and my notes app) months before I wrote the first version of it, and that first version came months before I rewrote it to what it is now. It was definitely the song that required the most edits and rewriting, but I’m happy I committed the time to it. “body bag” is another turning point in the album’s narrative. while “garden ii (intro)” is me realizing that i might want to stick around and live my life fully, “body bag” is the moment of fully realizing that i can’t do this anymore — i have to start taking care of myself and i have to stay here.

like poetry

“like poetry” is the final chapter (at least for now) of a friend breakup storyline that i’ve released two songs outside of this album about- “rest stop” from the imposter syndrome EP and “tooth fairy” from the imposter syndrome (b sides). While “rest stop” and “tooth fairy” tell the more active part of the story, “like poetry” is the aftermath. More specifically it’s the internal debate that I went through of: was this person truly a bad friend to me? Or am I the problem in this situation? Is all of the pain and hurt that i’m feeling my own fault?

for now

I wrote “for now” for my girlfriend. I knew I loved her, and I wanted to tell her but I was so beyond scared she didn’t feel the same way. To me, it’s a hesitant love song. It was essentially me saying- i’m sure about you, but I’m not quite sure if you are about me quite yet.

feeling too much

“feeling too much” was written while I was on tour and properly away from my girlfriend for the first time since we had started dating. I’ve spent a lot of time away from home, but never while worried that I might lose someone because of it. I also think I really realized how much and how deeply I loved her while on that tour. I saw her everywhere I went, in every beautiful thing and long drive, and whenever something really special happened or a show was extra good, I just found myself wishing she were there to experience it with me.

this place

I grew up in New York City proper and am very much a city kid but I also often find myself wishing I would’ve had more “standard” teenage experiences. A lot of these feelings came to a head when I went to my girlfriend’s sister’s high school graduation- it was on a football field and looked just like the scenes in movies I had always wished I could relate to. I wrote “this place” in full the next morning.

apollo’s song

I wrote “apollo’s song” in November of 2022 while traveling and living out of my car and rooftop tent with my dog, apollo. It was the first song I wrote for the album and the birth of the record’s concept. Making and releasing this album has also felt like a sort of real life manifestation of “apollo’s song” — writing and making a full length LP, touring, hearing that people connect with what I have to say: I really am “living the future I never thought i’d have”, and i’m so beyond grateful to be around for it.


I wrote “grown” in late April of 2023 in my friend’s empty apartment in LA on a day off from tour. At the time, I thought the album’s tracklist was finalized, but writing “grown” felt like the final chapter of the story I was trying to tell, and so the album became an 11-song project. The closing lyric of the song, “I think I might be grown” is also the album title, which I thought was a nice way to tie everything together (in the form of a folk song).

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:: stream/purchase (i think) i might be grown here ::
:: connect with mae krell here ::

— — — —

(i think) i might be grown - mae krell

Connect to mae krell on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Alex Lyon

:: Stream Mae Krell ::

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