mxmtoon

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mxmtoon
Mxmtoon.jpg
mxmtoon performing in September 2019
Background information
Born (2000-07-09) July 9, 2000 (age 19)
OriginOakland, California, United States
GenresBedroom pop[1]
Lofi hip hop[2]
Folk-pop[3]
InstrumentsVocals, ukulele
Years active2017–present
Associated acts
Websitehttps://mxmtoon.com
YouTube information
Also known asMaia
Channel
Genre
Subscribers410,000
(August 30, 2019)
Total views23,919,957
(August 30, 2019)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers

mxmtoon (/ɛm.ɛks.ɛmˈtn/, em-ex-em-TOON; born July 9, 2000), also known as Maia, is a Chinese-American singer-songwriter and social media personality from Oakland, California, known for singing and playing the ukulele. Her 2018 self-released EP, plum blossom, recorded in her parents' guest bedroom, has been streamed over 100 million times. Her 2019 international tour has nearly sold out, and her debut album the masquerade was released in September 2019.

Early life[edit]

Maia was born on July 9,[4] 2000,[5][6] and grew up in Oakland, California.[7] She is Chinese-American on her mother's side[8] and German and Scottish on her father's side.[9] She became interested in music from a young age. Her brother took violin lessons, and in first grade, Maia joined him. A few years later, she began playing classical cello and trumpet.[10] In fifth grade, she auditioned for her school rock band.[2] Expecting to audition for cello, she was asked to sing Oasis's Wonderwall, and ended up joining as a vocalist,[10] where she recalls singing The Middle by Jimmy Eat World.[9] In sixth grade, she began playing guitar, learning in part from her father.[10] Maia first coined the name "mxmtoon" on her Instagram account where she drew cartoon sketches for her 500 followers, whom most of which were strangers.[9] She started her YouTube channel and began playing the ukulele in middle school.[11] She wrote her first song at age 13.[12]

Career[edit]

2017–2018: Falling for U, plum blossom[edit]

Recording with GarageBand[13] in her parents' guest bedroom,[5][14] creating percussion tracks with hair straighteners,[15] Maia began self-releasing songs on YouTube as "mxmtoon" in 2017.[16] After initially attempting to write comedy songs, she began writing songs that embodied her emotions such as "feelings are fatal".[15] Her 2017 lo-fi collaboration with Japanese singer-songwriter peachy!, "Falling for U", reached nearly 40 million streams on Spotify by June 2019.[11] Maia began secretly releasing music to the public, but was later compelled to tell her friends and family after experiencing viral success online.[17] In 2018, Maia released her debut EP, plum blossom, which was reviewed by Earmilk,[18] i-D[13] and Hypebeast,[1][19] and gained more than 100 million streams on Spotify by August 2019.[5][20] The EP's single "i feel like chet" is a tribute to one of her favourite jazz musicians, Chet Baker.[21]

After high school, Maia took a "gap year" by postponing college to focus on her music.[22] She was planning to study architecture after graduating high school, until her music went viral in April 2018.[23] In November 2018, she announced her "plum blossom tour".[24] Her first tour, it was initially scheduled for five US shows[11] with fellow Californian singer-songwriter khai dreams in March 2019,[18] which sold out[19] and was extended to include additional concerts in North America and Europe,[5][7][25] including opening appearances for bedroom pop YouTuber Cavetown in the United Kingdom.[26][27][28]

2019–present: the masquerade[edit]

Prior to the release of the masquerade, Spotify announced the release of 21 Days, a music podcast that follows Maia while she works on the album in New York City.[8][29] Liz Gateley of Spotify praised Maia's online following as well as her social presence, stating that "She obviously has lots of followers already, but that's not enough. The person had to be the right human too, and we felt she had both."[8] The podcast is an eight-episode audio diary that includes interviews with family, friends and collaborators, including Cavetown.[8][29]

Maia's debut studio album the masquerade was released on September 17, 2019.[17] The album peaked at 17 on the US Heatseekers Chart and at 45 on the US Indie Albums Chart.[30][31] It features "prom dress", a "light and peachy tune"[25] described as "relatable, infectious hook-led pop that speaks to millennials".[3] The single is inspired by experiences from her own big night and deals with social anxiety and the problems that come with being a teen in modern society.[32] The song has been streamed over eight million times on Spotify and has been used in 100,000 videos on TikTok.[23][26] Maia's back catalogue of songs have also received tens of millions of online streams.[3]

Joshua Bote of Paste described the ten-track album as "comforting twee-pop that wrings out genuine pathos from mxmtoon’s internet celebrity".[33] Matt Yuyitung of Exclaim! wrote "[Maia] brings her wry sense of humour and diary-entry lyricism to her debut record, recalling the lo-fi relatability of Frankie Cosmos."[34]

Reception[edit]

I can be as ridiculous as I want but I can also be an emo teenager and people like both sides.[15]

— Maia a.k.a. mxmtoon

Maia has been credited with having an "endearingly intimate presence".[6] The singer-songwriter's[35] music has been described as "warm folk-pop tunes with acoustic ornamentations",[19] "one part acoustic-pop a-la Kina Grannis, mixed with sharp lyricism and avant-garde, off-kilter melodics akin to Fiona Apple or PJ Harvey",[36] that explores "themes such as the trials of love, being a burden to those close to you, and connecting with your family's heritage"[14] and "encapsulates many of the values her fellow Gen Zers possess".[5] Joe Coscarelli of New York Times has compared Maia's bedroom pop style to that of girl in red, Clairo and Beabadoobee, as well as the folk-pop "simplicity" of Regina Spektor and The Moldy Peaches. Her manager, Max Gredinger, has presented her with Billie Eilish and Shawn Mendes as models for potential super-stardom.[9]

Joshua Bote of Paste described Maia as "really, really good at the internet".[33] Maia makes comedy videos on the video sharing platform, TikTok, where she has amassed 1.1 million followers and 36 million likes as of October 2019.[37] To date, she has made appearances on Vine, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitch, Snapchat, Bandcamp, Pinterest and SoundCloud as well as TikTok.[9] Her music has been streamed over 150 million times across all online platforms collectively.[26] As of October 2019, her YouTube channel has over 34 million total video views and 453 thousand subscribers.[38] As of October 2019, Maia has almost 4 million monthly streamers on Spotify.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Maia identifies as "a young bisexual woman of color from a family of immigrants"[5] and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she writes, records and produces her own music from the guest room of her parents' home.[14] She graduated from Lick-Wilmerding High School in June 2018.[40][41] Her mother, Cheryl, and father, Cameron are currently educators at a co-educational private school in Oakland.[9][42] The name "mxmtoon" is derived from Maia's initials, MXMT.[43] She uses the pseudonym Maia[5] and does not disclose her full name for privacy reasons.[9] Maia owns a cat and likes to wear mom jeans.[12] She is yet to relocate to New York City where she will stay with her brother who currently attends college in Brooklyn.[9]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Notes
US
Heat.

[30]
US
Indie

[31]
the masquerade[44]
  • Released: September 17, 2019
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming, vinyl
17
45

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Notes
plum blossom[45]
  • Released: December 7, 2018
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD, digital download, streaming, vinyl
Title Details Notes
plum blossom (the edits)[46]
  • Released: April 26, 2019
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download, streaming

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[47]

Year Title Album/EP
2017 "1-800-DATEME" Non-album singles
"life online"
"please don't"
"hong kong"
"stuck"
"birdie"
"the sideline"[48]
"the idea of you" plum blossom
"feelings are fatal"
"cliché"
2018 "i feel like chet"
"porcelain"
"temporary nothing"
"don't play your card" Non-album singles
2019 "My Way"
"prom dress" the masquerade[44]
"high & dry"
"seasonal depression"
"blame game"
"dream of you"

As featured artist[49]

Year Title Album/EP
2017 "Falling for U"
(peachy! featuring mxmtoon)
Non-album singles
2017 "Maybe I Shouldn't"
(Mochi featuring mxmtoon)
2017 "So Mean"
(Afternoon featuring mxmtoon, Samsa & Love-Sadkid)
2019 "We Used to Talk Like Every Night"
(Isiah A. featuring mxmtoon)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cheung, HP (October 16, 2017). "15 New 'Bedroom Pop' Artists You Should Check Out". Hypebeast. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Bryce (November 1, 2017). "The 8 women of lo-fi hip-hop that you need to know". Revolt TV. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Ward, Sean (May 17, 2019). "Youngster mxmtoon breaks our heart with her latest alt-folk pop release 'prom dress'". The 405. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  4. ^ mxmtoon (confirmed account) [@mxmtoon] (July 9, 2019). "awwww HELLL YEAAAAA" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Cline, Jesse (August 9, 2019). "Follow mxmtoon's Journey at Outside Lands 2019". Flood Magazine. Archived from the original on August 30, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Boilen, Bob; Gotrich, Lars; Bote, Joshua (May 7, 2019). "New Mix: Faye Webster, Khiis, The Quiet Temple, mxmtoon, More". NPR Music's All Songs Considered (Podcast). Event occurs at 1:01. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Frometa, RJ (June 27, 2019). "mxmtoon Announces Debut Album 'the masquerade' + New Song "high & dry," Half of North American Tour". Vents Magazine. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Eggertsen, Chris (September 12, 2019). "Spotify Follows '21 Days' in the Life of Up-and-Coming Singer-Songwriter mxmtoon in New Music Podcast". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Coscarelli, Joe (October 11, 2019). "A Teenager, Her Ukulele and a Bedroom Pop Empire in the Making". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c mxmtoon (April 4, 2017). "music & me". Retrieved August 29, 2019 – via YouTube.
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  13. ^ a b Wheeler, André-Naquian (October 31, 2017). "how to become a pop star without leaving your bedroom". i-D (in US). Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved August 30, 2019.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
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  26. ^ a b c "mxmtoon Gives Personal Insight in New Single 'seasonal depression'". BroadwayWorld. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019. mxmtoon is a 19-year-old bourgeoning artist
  27. ^ maia [@mxmtoon] (June 3, 2019). "so excited to go on tour with @CAVETOWN in the UK this winter!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved July 21, 2019 – via Twitter.
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  35. ^ Suskind, Alex (August 30, 2019). "EW Pop Shop: Lana Del Rey is blue, a rare Lauryn Hill feature, and more songs you'll love". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 1, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
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  39. ^ "mxmtoon". Spotify.
  40. ^ "Redwood Day Alums Work wth 6th-Graders". Redwood Day School. April 19, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  41. ^ mxmtoon (confirmed account) [@mxmtoon] (June 28, 2019). "CANT BELIEVE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL LAST YEAT WHAHHAHSGA I FEEL LIKE IVE LIVED 20 LIVES" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  42. ^ "Redwood Day | Faculty & Staff". Redwood Day. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  43. ^ mxmtoon (July 23, 2017). "how do you say "mxmtoon"? (get ready with me)". Retrieved August 29, 2019 – via YouTube.
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  46. ^ "plum blossom (the edits)". Apple Music. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
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  49. ^ "mxmtoon". Apple Music. Retrieved August 30, 2019.

External links[edit]