In a musical sub-genre dominated by big names such as Billie Eilish, bbno$ and Lil Nas X, Indie artist MXMTOON, (pronounced MXM-toon), or Maia, has paved her own way as an underdog, an emotional storyteller and a Tik Toker.
While most mainstream artists rely on listeners to share their work on Tik Tok, a song sharing app for teens, Maia uses the social medium to her advantage, promoting and streaming her own work, taking control and fast-tracking her career.
On her hit single, “Prom Dress,” the self-made singer reminisces about her high school prom, visualizing the discrepancy between her ideals of the night’s events and what actually happens. This disjointed reality is a clever unifying theme in all of Maia’s music, and accompanying Tik Tok videos. “Prom Dress” has been featured in over 100,000 Tik Tok videos.
Maia said to The Bold Italic she’s been writing music since the early age of 13. Her experience shines through her music, as her storytelling ability shapes her lyrical content. She tackles a universal feeling– love, sharing her experiences and misadventures. Using her voice to guide listeners through these very personal moments, it’s a simple task on paper, though daunting in reality.
When Maia reveals her perspective on the love she’s feeling, it works. Listeners can put themselves into her shoes, adopting her point of view. It may sound emotionally manipulative and easy – Everyone’s loved somebody. But the way Maia presents this feeling is personal, it’s raw, revealing itself through the subtle change in key, fingertips resting on guitar strings and subtle cracks in her voice. What she’s feeling is real, it’s intense, and listeners have the opportunity to share these intimate moments with her.
As Maia steadily spreads the influence of her music, it becomes harder to believe that she started off making lip-sync videos in her parent’s guest bedroom. With her silky voice and smooth ukulele melodies, she sounds like a homage to the best tracks of 2007. “Plum Blossom” releases Dec. 7, 2019, but two of its tracks, “I feel like chet” and “cliché” are streaming now on all platforms.