mxmtoon's star began to shine one evening as she secretly wrote music inside her bedroom. She didn't know it then, but she would later have planets circling around her in a year's time.
From hiding her songs from her parents, the Chinese-American (a.k.a Maia) artist turned a secret into a career with her trusty ukulele, GarageBand, and YouTube. She now has three records out—plum blossom (2018), the masquerade (2019), and dawn (2020)—packed with a sparkling folk-pop charm and bright, relatable lyrics that could help make the world a better place.
Bandwagon caught up with the YouTube star to check in on what she's been doing since quarantine began besides Animal Crossing, what she does to keep in touch with fans, and her plans once things get better.
How has your work life changed since the quarantine began?
I have a pretty at-home friendly job, but I recently moved out to New York for work. When quarantine happened, I came back to Oakland with my family. So my entire worksphere is on the other side of the country and that’s a little bit odd! I would say the biggest change is that there’s nowhere to go.
As someone who has a fairly stationary job, I really relished face-to-face meetings, session work in studios with other artists, or the opportunity to travel, and now I find myself in a situation I feel like I was actively trying to avoid. It’s weird.
How do you stay connected with your fans?
For me, it’s been making sure I’m exceedingly active on social media. Streaming has become a huge part of how I maintain the connection between me and my audience. I’m live online for 3-4 hours at a time throughout the week, doing streams sometimes four days out of seven. It’s been my version of keeping routine, and also gives me a space to check in with my listeners and how they’re doing too.
What are you looking forward to after the quarantine is lifted?
I really want to have a picnic with my friends! It’s not often I find myself in the same city as my friends, between college and work lives, so I’m looking forward to being able to embrace the opportunity that we’re all in the space place at the same time.
Take us through a day in your quarantined life:
I wake up at different times every day, but my cats being asleep in my bed is a constant regardless. Both my cats were sleeping in my bed when I woke up today like this!
I went to walk the dog so that way he wouldn’t keep barking during all the Zoom calls every one of my family members is doing right now, and my neighborhood has some encouraging signage for everyone to look at!
This is my quarantine desk. It’s been hard with little motivation to clean, lots of stuff has been scattered everywhere. I think we’re all having some trouble keeping our spaces [like] ones that can feel productive, and I know I can fall behind on that.
Answering some emails in bed with beautiful weather outside. Feels wrong to stay indoors when the weather is so lovely, but we shall prevail!
I was working in my studio downstairs, as the sun was setting. It’s nice to appreciate these moments, especially nowadays.
The pets have loved having the whole family home day after day. Movie night with the cats!
Share your ‘Working From Home during COVID-19' playlist with us.
JAWNY - 'Anything You Want'
Charlie Burg - 'To Dance Is To Loe'
Wallows - 'These Days'
MyKey - 'Was It Something I Said'
Yeasayer - 'Ecstatic Baby'
COIN - 'Crash My Car'
Maggie Rogers - 'Love You For A Long Time'
Declan McKenna - 'Brazil'
JAWNY - '4Tounce'
binki - 'Sea Sick'
Still Woozy - 'Lava'
No Vacation - 'Yam Yam'
Dayglow - 'Listerine'
HUNNY - 'Televised'
Vansire - 'That I Miss You'
Stream mxmtoon's dawn below.
mxmtoon is slated to perform at 88rising's virtual festival, ASIA RISING FOREVER, on May 7, 2020. Watch the livestream on 88rising's Youtube or Twitter at 9AM PH/SG/MY Standard Time/ 8AM TH/ID Standard Time.