Musician MAX

Some people are just born to entertain. New York native Max Schneider (known as MAX) has been performing since the age of three, when he would sing and dance on the living room table for his family. With a Broadway musical under his belt, and a recurring spot on Law and Order: SVU (a rite of passage for any New York actor), he also studied musical theatre at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and recently nailed a major Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign that featured Madonna (no biggie). He’s also a solid songwriter and has a voice and charm that rival that of Bruno Mars. His new album, “Hell’s Kitchen Angel”, comes out on April 8th and we’re excited for the new ear candy. We caught up with MAX and talked about his upcoming album, the best piece of advice he’s ever gotten (from Pharrell Williams), and his love for late night leftovers.

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I know I’m going to like this interview already. I’d start with some avocado toast, lightly salted with lemon, then a piece of goat cheese and blackberry toast, scrambled eggs, and iced coffee. Lunch would be a delicious Panini of some sort – maybe chicken pesto from a legit Italian sandwich shop. And for dinner a really juicy, cooked perfectly to medium rare burger with crisp fries on the side.

What’s your new album all about?

Well, it’s called “Hell’s Kitchen Angel” being that I’m from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, which really represents the whole album. It’s a personal journey for me in every way: The die-hard romantic side like the “Lights down low” songs, the darker sexual side with songs like “Wrong”, and the personal realization of the things that really matter in life, like “Lost My Way”. I hope people dig it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from another musician? What was it?

I got to work with Pharrell Williams awhile back, which absolutely surreal. I went into the booth, and after I came out (after singing a verse on a song we were working on) he said something along the lines of, “Don’t ever change that passion you have for this. It’s who you are that will set you apart. Don’t become something you’re not just to make it.” It really hit home for me and I’ve lived by it ever since.

What’s been your most memorable collaboration so far?

Tough one. I’m going to go with the awesome Patrick Stump. He had such a unique process writing, which really changed my whole perspective on the way anyone can write a song. I loved our collaboration so much.

What’s the song you can’t stop listening to right now?

I love the song “Talk About It” by Erik Hassle. I’ve been really into it for a while, but it just never gets old. Beautiful songwriting and soul.

What are your go-to snacks on tour?

I eat Quest protein bars a lot for energy, raw almonds, fruit, iced tea, hot tea, iced coffee, and of course the most important, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches toasted.

How do you unwind after a show?

I try to cool down a little bit vocally and physically. I’m just starting to get to that age where if I don’t treat my body properly it punishes me the next day (laughs). I stretch a lot, and do my own yoga of sorts. After that, I just give a lot of love to my tour family. I find that putting my energy on other people after a show helps me really wind down and feel awesome.

When you make stops in NYC, SF and LA, what are your favorite restaurants? What do you order at each?

In New York City, I’m all about Room Service (the restaurant), where I get their Room Service Pad Thai. In Los Angeles, I love a place called Rustic Spoon, where I get their Chicken Eggplant dish. I’m not as well versed with San Francisco, but surprisingly I’ve had some of the best tacos there.

Your favorite thing to eat late night…

Leftovers; I’m all about cold leftovers late night. It’s my Jewish upbringing. I can’t let food go to waste – plus, it tastes so good cold.

How do you always start your day?

With a glass of water.

The app you can’t live without…

Notes app. I’m writing this interview in it right now, along with so many important things. I probably rely a bit too much on it.

Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?

I love traveling to tropical places and I always like to bring my own pillow for the plane and travel.

Your feelings about streaming music apps like Spotify and Pandora…

I’m cool with them; as long as people are listening to the music, I’m happy.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato in music right now?

Honesty in music. I think it’s coming back in a big way. People want to hear stories and authenticity.

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*Max Schneider, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann