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MAX’s Quotes About The Impact Of “Blueberry Eyes” Shout Out BTS’ Suga — EXCLUSIVE

MAX and Suga’s “Blueberry Eyes” collaboration originally dropped on Sept. 15, but the song continues its worldwide domination well into November. So far, it’s garnered over 70 million global streams, 22 million YouTube views, and the No. 1 spot on iTunes in 66 countries. Fans love the track so much, MAX dropped jazz and acoustic remixes of it, and now, the singer’s teamed up with Steve Aoki for another take on the single. MAX’s quotes about the impact “Blueberry Eyes” has had explain what the song’s popularity comes down to: staying true to the vision.

MAX finds it so cool seeing his collab with Suga reach new levels of success, but he doesn’t take all the credit for it. Instead, he thanks his fans for putting the song on, and all over, the map. “All the numbers are a reflection of fans’ focus and hard work,” MAX tells Elite Daily. “They’re so passionate about getting it to those places, and I think the numbers are a really great way to celebrate with them.”

MAX’s favorite part about “Blueberry Eyes” going viral is seeing how fans interpret the song creatively. Ahead of the single’s release, MAX launched a contest asking fans for merchandise ideas inspired by the title. In the end, he received nearly 3,000 submissions, and eventually turned one into a hoodie for other fans to purchase off his website. “It’s so cool to see how many talented and amazing humans are so supportive of the song,” he says. “Seeing how it’s a part of the soundtrack of their lives and knowing this song is all over the world in people’s ears and their daily lives is [what fulfills me the most].”

On Nov. 12, MAX collaborated with Aoki on a “Blueberry Eyes” remix that puts a new twist on the song fans never expected. The pair got to know each other after MAX signed to Dim Mak Records in 2018 as part of his duo, Party Pupils. Despite knowing Aoki for years, the right opportunity to collaborate with him didn’t come until now.

“[Aoki’s] done so many great records [with BTS],” MAX says, referring to Aoki’s collaborations with the boys on “Mic Drop,” “Waste It On Me,” and “The Truth Untold.” “I keep my ears on the ground for what the fans love, and I know he’s one of the few they trust in the same way. It felt like between our personal relationship, us never releasing anything quite yet, and the love he’s already garnered from this wonderful fanbase, this was the perfect, organic, wonderful mix of talent to create a new version.”

MAX gave Aoki complete control over the remix, and what he got in return was something truly special — an ’80s-inspired re-imagining of his originally jazzy and upbeat track. “Somehow, [Aoki] transported me into a Back to the Future world mixed with this [Singing in the Rain] world. It almost adds to the romance in a completely new light,” MAX shares. “Having him put his magic on this was amazing.”

After working with so many artists, MAX realizes giving his partners free rein inspires the best results. “I found that when I collaborate with people, it’s best to [let them] create what’s natural for them,” MAX says, adding that’s why he never pressured Suga to rap in English. “His native language is Korean, and that’s where he feels the most creatively enriched to speak his truth.”

MAX says him and Suga being true to themselves as artists is what really makes the song so relatable to fans. “I love that it’s a combination of our languages and the fact that that’s brought so many people together who may be more into western music or Korean music. It’s like they’re all coming toward the middle with this song,” MAX explains.

Despite the language barrier, MAX and Suga still keep in touch through text message. Most recently, MAX sent Suga well wishes for a speedy recovery after his surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum. On Nov. 6, Big Hit Entertainment announced Suga would be taking a temporary break from BTS to recuperate. MAX understands the feeling of being forced to step away from your passion unexpectedly to take care of your health. In 2018, he had surgery on his vocal cords and couldn’t speak for months, causing him to cancel the rest of his shows that year.

“I think we all feel a little invincible, and we’re so concentrated on our dreams and getting there, but any trauma in your life gives you a new perspective,” MAX explains. “It humbles the best of us when something makes us realize we don’t get to do this forever . The fact that we get to do what we love is such a gift, and getting to reflect on that gift just brings more inspiration. It makes you love what you do even more.”

MAX and Suga’s "Blueberry Eyes" collaboration originally dropped on Sept. 15, but the song continues its worldwide domination well into November. So far, it’s garnered over 70 million global streams, 22 million YouTube views, and the No. 1 spot on…

MAX Unpacks “Blueberry Eyes” Collaboration With BTS Member Suga

In the early years of MAX’s career, the then-17-year-old New Yorker made headlines for an odd trot around Manhattan with Madonna.

The photos were part of a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, in which he was acting as Madonna’s son. It feels “surreal” to MAX now, he says. At 28 years old, the former Nickelodeon star (real name Max Schneider) has a fully-fledged music career of his own — he’s releasing his second album, Colour Vision, following a slew of popular singles and collaborations with Hayley Kiyoko, Quinn XCII, Noah Cyrus, Chromeo, and more. But he still thinks about what he learned from those days spent working with Madonna. “She’s unapologetically herself with every release,” he says. “The vision was always fully fleshed out.”

Now, he’s shaping a new vision of his own. MAX spoke to Teen Vogue about how his collab “Blueberry Eyes” with BTS member Suga came together, his admiration for the BTS ARMY, and why his new album Colour Vision (out Sept. 18) is all about new perspectives.

Teen Vogue: How long have you been putting this album together?

MAX: I guess since inception it’s been like four years, but it’s really come down to the last year, I’d say, and really the last eight months has been the real grind time to bring it to fruition in the way I had hoped.

TV: You’re very prolific with singles, but this is only your second full-length album, right?

M: Yeah, I can’t put four years between albums ever again, for sure.

TV: How did you think about building a whole album versus focusing on the singles, like “Love Me Less”?

M: For me, the album is never dead. My favorite artists are the Princes, the Marvin Gayes, the Stevie Wonders. The people who, maybe there’s a breakout single you from that record, but if you go back and really experience the album as a whole, that single is a puzzle piece that fit into a really special whole. So I like to approach every single in that way, where I like having certain singles be the big focus tracks, and they’re the main songs, but they always have to fit in with the world I want to create on a record.

TV: What’s the world you’re trying to create with Colour Vision?

M: A theme has been new perspectives, new awakenings, new life. That kind of came from me coming out of a really dark time and just doing a whole new perspective on my own life. Going from almost losing my voice, and shedding a lot of people that I was with on the music side for may years, and sort of having a new period of really appreciating every day in a different way. I think that’s why the title is Colour Vision, seeing things in a whole new way and seeing the same things that have always been in your life in a new way.

TV: What was your relationship to music like while you were dealing with almost losing your voice?

M: It was totally new. I couldn’t write anything, I couldn’t sing the way I normally did. I journaled a lot. It was something I took for granted. I was working myself to the bone and I wasn’t actually appreciating just being able to sing, being able to express myself in that way. Every day that I can sing now I have a whole new appreciation.

TV: Were there things you were watching or reading or listening to that shaped the way the album has turned out?

M: It’s interesting that you say that because I feel like, the visual experience of Colour Vision is so based in Disney meets Wes Anderson, with a little Adam Sandler sprinkled in, because the characters in the videos and inspirations for different songs are people in my life. They’re not actors hired for videos. It’s my tour manager, who becomes the main character. Ryan, my right-hand man, is a different character in each video. My wife Emily is always the love interest, so it’s the combination of different styles in my own way.

TV: Are there songs that you feel were especially emotionally impactful, or really intense to record, on the album?

M: “Where Am I At” was definitely the most hardcore loss song. It’s a relationship song, but the actual story is that I wrote it for when my hero in my family passed away. Realizing that so much of who you are is based on the people who are mentors to you, who you worship growing up. And when they’re gone, you feel like a piece of yourself isn’t quite the same. That song was really hard to record, and it’s still hard to sing. The emotion comes back every time.

TV: You, of course, had the collab “Burn It” on Agust D’s D-2 earlier this year, the sophomore solo project of BTS’s Suga. What was it like to see the fan support after that? I know you did the fan art contest for “Blueberry Eyes,” and I imagine you saw a lot of the ways that fans are inspired to make their own stuff based off BTS. What was it like seeing that passion?

M: It’s magical. I mean, it’s so cool to feel so accepted by such an avid and beautiful fanbase, really a family. I was just talking about this earlier, with ARMY it’s so based on authenticity. I love that when they really do trust certain artists that collaborate with BTS, there’s very few that they really trust and say, this person’s for real. I was really grateful that people accepted me and realized my love and respect and feelings toward Suga especially and the whole group are authentic. It’s been amazing to have that support.

TV: I saw that you tweeted about their Billboard Hot 100 no. 1. Did you text Suga about it?

M: (Laughs) Of course. I sent him a message right after. He told me he couldn’t sleep he was so excited. “I can’t sleep bro.” It was so cool. Our back and forth — usually when we’re in person, we have a translator, which makes speaking a little easier. But just our texts, because our languages to each other are limited, are usually short and sweet. “Congrats on the no. 1,” and then “thanks bro, I can’t sleep.” Then he’s like, “Go Max, go ‘Blueberry Eyes.’” Then I’m like, “Go ‘Dynamite,’ go Yoongi.” It’s just to the point and cute, and I’m so happy for them.

TV: I feel like fans want to know how a song was made, and all the small decisions that go into a collaboration. Can you take me through the whole process of “Blueberry Eyes”? How did it begin as a concept?

M: Of course. So I feel like everybody in ARMY especially already knows our origin story.

TV: Yes.

M: Jungkook and Suga gave me love — you know all that. We can fast forward. So we’re at the basketball game, and I showed him a song called “New Life.” And I had already been working on “Burn It,” and there was this understanding that of course, we’re gonna both be on each other’s projects. So I showed him “New Life,” and he said to me, “I really like this song, but I can’t really hear my style in it.” So I ended up just sending him the whole album, like, you pick a song, whatever you want. And he ended up really loving “Blueberry Eyes,” which I was kind of pleasantly surprised at. I don’t know which song I thought he was going to pick, but that wasn’t the first song. He just loved it. I’m glad I just gave him the freedom to choose what he responded to the most, because now that the song is what it is, I can’t imagine it without him. It’s special to have another language with the same love, and emotion and sweetness, and tenderness. You can feel it through his version too. What you hear on “Blueberry Eyes” is exactly the first thing he sent me. I was blown away with it right away, and blown away that he matched the message so perfectly.

Singer and songwriter MAX talked to Teen Vogue about his collab with BTS member Suga and why new album "Colour Vision" is about seeing the world differently.