Mxmtoon’s Maia is one of the busiest young women in the indie-pop world, but you wouldn’t know it from a cursory glance at her space. Zooming in for a video call with MTV News from her apartment in Brooklyn, the 20-year-old social media star-turned-pro singer-songwriter readily accepts compliments of her lush surroundings. Cascading houseplants and small trinkets adorn the white shelves on the wall behind her. “I’m an introvert,” she says, “so I'm fine with just hanging out in my room, taking care of my plants.”
The serene setup is a stark contrast to Maia’s jam-packed schedule: She dropped her second EP of 2020, Dusk, on October 1, less than a year after releasing 2019’s Masquerade, her first full-length studio album. She’s been churning out daily 10- to 15-minute episodes of her history-themed podcast, 365 Days With Mxmtoon, since September 14. Twitter, Instagram, Twitch — you name it, Maia uses it, and the digital native’s 4 million combined followers are a captive audience.
Maia (who goes by her first name to have a semblance of privacy in the digital age) describes Dusk as the “sad but beautiful” companion piece to April’s Dawn EP. She wrestles deftly with feelings of loneliness and depression, pairing ukulele and piano instrumentals — both nods to her internet origins as a teen uploading ukulele tutorials to YouTube — with the diaristic lyrics her young fans have come to know and love. “I just wanted to make something that felt like I could progress as an artist but not leave behind my roots,” she says.