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Maia, aka mxmtoon, had the career come-up most teen musicians could only dream of. At 17, the Oakland-raised multi-hyphenate artist began releasing music from the privacy of her bedroom and quickly acquired an online fanbase drawn to her earnest yet witty lyricism and no-frills production. Her instrument of choice was a ukulele and she wasn’t above using common household objects (a hair straightener, for example) as a percussive tool. After uploading a stream of one-off singles to various social media platforms, mxmtoon’s debut EP, plum blossom, dropped. It garnered the attention of a broadening fan base with sold-out tours and multi-platinum records but also earned the stamp of approval from mainstream media outlets like The New York Times and NPR. Since then, mxmtoon’s output has been prolific. Last year, she released her sophomore LP, rising, which followed 2019’s the masquerade, all while maintaining a creative practice outside of music.
With another album on the horizon in 2024, mxmtoon is poised to premiere plum blossom (revisited), a reconsideration of the early songs that propelled her to fame. While Maia is only 23, the amount of growth in the five years since plum blossom debuted is unmeasurable. She came out as queer, moved to Brooklyn, and experienced a year of familial tragedy. Her grandmother, a visual artist who had inspired Maia throughout her life and encouraged her music career, died of cancer. In the aftermath of this enormous loss, and in the midst of another close family member’s illness, Maia found a sense of wholeness by reimagining the music that made her. “My mom really loves my early music, so in a sense, I did this for her as much as I did it for me,” Maia says.