With musical inspirations including Maggie Rogers, Rex Orange County, and Lizzo, Maia, or mxmtoon, is a young woman who became famous after the song “prom dress” went viral on TikTok. Streamed over 100 million times, her 2018 self-released EP plum blossom was recorded on her laptop in her parents’ guest room.
Maia, like many other musicians, has released her own coronavirus music influenced by quarantine isolation, like her otherworldly song “walk but in a garden” with musician Llusion. During her own quarantine, Maia has been playing lots of video games, especially Minecraft and The Last of Us, catching up on shows and trying to learn to be “a functional human despite the chaos of the world.” She has also been preparing for the release of her third EP dusk.
Not only is she an incredible singer with the streams to match, but she is also a burgeoning podcaster. On September 14, Maia is releasing 365 days with mxmtoon on basically any platform that has podcasts. This new podcast is a daily podcast, like The Daily from the New York Times, that focuses on interesting and fun history events of that day and fun music facts.
Maia decided to start a podcast after working with Spotify on documenting her first ever album. The podcast that Maia “binge-listens” to all day is Reply All, “the perfect mixture of fun facts, like dinner table facts, and internet culture,” which also provided inspiration for her new podcast.
Listening to the first episode of the podcast was very calming, not only with its lovely jingle (an mxmtoon original) but full of interesting facts. Considering the times, it’s nice to have a little consistency, and this new podcast as a good little piece of media that helps us learn while also having fun.
“One of the reasons I love podcasts is because it feels like I’m educating myself on various things, but then having a good time while I’m doing it. So, if anybody takes anything away from this podcast, it’s that hopefully it inspires them to continue to be curious about the world and helps them find things that they maybe never knew they would be interested in,” Maia said about what she hopes people take away from her podcast.
Mxmtoon’s new EP is a follow-up sister EP to dawn, which she released earlier this year. This new EP is aptly named dusk. Her inspiration for this new EP was to show the opposite side of “sitting in the dark.” While dawn is about finding optimism and hope, dusk is more about “the introverted side of sitting with the darkness.”
“Wallflower” is the song that mxmtoon is most proud of in her new EP. She suggests listening to dusk all the way through on its own, but considering they are sister albums, dawn and dusk work perfectly together and could be listened to back to back.
Considering Maia went viral on TikTok, not only because of her song “prom dress” but also her funny videos and discussions on politics, it’s only natural that we discuss TikTok.
“I did not expect it to go viral at all and when it happened, I was just kind of watching and refreshing my phone being like, ‘This is incredible. I can’t believe this is happening.’ It happens so instantaneously in the way that TikTok specifically works. Everything just happens in bursts,” Maia told BUST. “I don’t think anyone’s brain is ready or prepared to have thousands, millions of people [interacting] with you and [sharing] their opinions about you or whatever you’re making. So, it was just like a really crazy adjustment.”
Maia also discussed how Gen Z uses social media platforms like TikTok to discuss politics and social justice movements. “I think that social media is always going to be the way that we as a younger generation interact with the world, given how intensely present it is with everything that we do,” she said. “Even in the era of COVID-19 and quarantine, the way that we should express and share our opinions in a world that feels very isolated is through our screens and TikTok has this massive audience of people, and especially a lot of young people who have a lot to say.
“I think I have 2 million followers and the least I can do is just remind them that there are a lot of important things going on and you know, do my part to educate on the things that I feel like I have enough information on,” Mxmtoon added.
As for the future? “I just want to go back on tour,” she said. “Having to be in quarantine is really tough and I miss playing live shows getting to have face to face time with my listeners and sing along with them. I hope to release another album and push myself to keep making music that feels different from the last thing. Just playing live shows, getting to tour more around the world and getting to keep testing myself to see what other what other things I’m capable of.”
The new mxmtoon podcast, 365 days with mxmtoon, will start releasing episodes daily on September 14 and her third EP, dusk, is out October 1.
And, if you’re interested to hear mxmtoon’s favorite TikTok audio at the moment, listen at your own risk.
Header images by Blythe Thomas and Noelle Duquette respectively.
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