As a New Yorker, I can personally attest to the fact that New Yorkers possess a very specific attitude that revolves around complaining about New York City while also being wildly possessive and defensive over it. Yes, the subway system ruins my life but no, I’m not moving. Singer-songwriter Max Schneider, known as MAX, is a native New Yorker and understands that though there might be room for Manhattan to improve, it is a city rich in character, charisma and color. So, it makes sense when MAX walks into the DuJour offices rocking a black and white striped shirt, sequined pants and a classic New York swagger.
“I was walking here and some guy just yelled at me, “Hey Prince! Nice shirt, what’s going on?” And I was just like, well, that’s New York,” MAX says with a laugh. Growing up in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, MAX is fondly familiar with the diversity that exists in the city and truly cherishes the eclectic melting pot it is. “You walk around and hear every language and see every style of human. If you’re not accepting of that, you’re not living. You can’t avoid life here,” he says.
MAX recently released a new song called “Still New York,” which serves as a clear tribute to not just the city itself but to the people who live and breathe here and give it its unique essence. “I’m hardly home which is why I wrote the song. The city evolves so much and that’s the beautiful part about it,” MAX says of his hometown. Making a point to honor New York City’s spirit through the song, featuring Joey Bada$$, didn’t quite feel enough to MAX though–a sign of a true ambitious New Yorker.
The song’s accompanying video includes appearances from celebrated New Yorkers like Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Chainsmokers, The Fat Jewish and more. Showing personality, charm and humor, the video captures the heart of the Big Apple perfectly. “Still New York” is always a way for MAX to show his support for two causes that are close to his heart – Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) and New York Public schools with art programs. MAX says that as an animal lover (and proud owner of a rescued one-eyed Yorkie named Wink) and a graduate of a public arts school, it only felt right to donate his song’s proceeds to those causes. “It would feel weird to profit off of my city,” he says.
On encouraging the arts in public school systems, he passionately describes how important harnessing young people’s creativity is. “It’s unfortunate to hear about all these public schools losing their arts programs. Yes, we need more doctors. But we need doctors who, when my wife gets surgery and things don’t go as planned, are creative enough to think on their feet to save her life.”
MAX explains that his wife of two years recently had surgery and when the doctor saw how much worse the situation actually was, he had to make the decision to call in another surgeon, mid-surgery. “He’s an artist of life,” MAX says of the doctor who saved his wife’s life. With a firm belief in the strength of creativity and a pride in his hometown, MAX is paving the way for artists who choose to stand for something.