Published Apr 17, 2013No chicken suits, horny robots or exploding prisms — Maylee Todd wears tapered track pants, too many bracelets and a t-shirt she designed with Jeff Garcia, a line that she intends to start selling as merch.
Speaking the day after the release of her sophomore album Escapology, Todd isn't recovering from a day celebrating its media success, or even toasting the Prism Prize nomination (for best Canadian video) received by lead single, "Baby's Got It." Instead Todd spent the day in hours of rehearsal preparing for her upcoming Canadian tour. "Having been in Hong Kong for three days, then the Philippines for three weeks, then Japan for a week, I still feel like I'm in a different time zone."
Fans of Todd's previous album Choose Your Own Adventure may be doing some time travelling themselves when Escapology hits their ears. In addition to the disco-pop jam of "Baby's Got It," the new record includes a cover of childhood favourite "Pinball Number Count" (aka "Pinball Countdown"), the animation classic from Sesame Street soundtracked by the Pointer Sisters.
Her oversees trip was part business — while in Japan, a "ton" of fashion magazines were fascinated by the Toronto-bred Todd's style sensibility, or arguably the charming absence of sensibility in her style — but also personal. "I'm half Filipino, my mom is from the Philippines, and I'd never been. I'm 31 now and it is something that I've always wanted to do. My mom never really spoke about her upbringing, so there's always been this curiosity to explore and understand."
For all her flights of creative fancy, Escapology took Todd to some dark places. "I wrote these songs a while ago but there is still so much personal attachment to them, which really all ties in to the album name, Escapology. Many of the songs were intense therapy sessions. I would write, express myself and need to take time to escape from the place they brought me to before being able to come back and see them from a different perspective. Time really passed and eventually I was able to become free of the emotional attachment."
Songs like "Did Everything I Could" and "Successive Mutations" illustrate how 31-year-old Todd's writing style has matured since Choose Your Own Adventure, but it isn't all scowling seriousness in Maylee's world. Loyal fans can still count on some reckless dancing in a glitter spacesuit on stage. But they might also hear her sing secrets that bring her to tears or share truths about her native land her mother never dared to.