Maia from mxmtoon released her first EP in 2018. She was 18 years old, recorded it in her bedroom, and self-released it. It went on to be streamed over 100 million times. This year, she put out her second album, Rising, and in this episode, she breaks down her song "Mona Lisa." She told me about how different it is from the songs she used to write when she was teenager. And how she found something authentic and honest by connecting with a part of herself from even earlier in her life.
For more, visit songexploder.net/mxmtoon.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Maya from an exam tune, released her first dp and twenty eighteen
Eighteen years old and recorded it in her bedroom and self released, it
It went on to be streamed over a hundred million times
this here she put out her second album rising and in this episode she breaks down her song, Mona lisa
She told me about how different it is from the songs she's right when she was a teenager
how she found something authentic and honest. By connecting with the part of herself
Even earlier in her life
how wanna be exempted, but my name
is actually maya in the past.
Asked been easier for me to kind of play this part of being a maxim tune, rather than actually thinking about who I
Miss maya a lot of my
work has really been about kind of hiding in the background and not really sharing
experience in story proudly, and I dont
I was making music that felt representative the type of songs. I really love to listen to and my free time and with this song spaces.
Equally. I think it was this really important.
to figure out how I could make something that felt
empowering without trying to hide myself in. So
The challenge that I had posed for myself to make something that felt like a pop song that could be it
A celebrating myself.
When we were in quarantine, I found myself going back to a lot of the music that I loved to listen to growing up in
cheesy, but I had mama mia on a city that I would listen to constantly and I had her
the spray on CD. I was a big musical kid, I guess growing often I listened to all of these things and I just remembered the joy that I felt for the first time when I found those records when I was six years old- and I remember thinking I need to
songs that make me feel this way. That's cool,
I walked into the studio the day I was working on Mona LISA, knowing that I would be collaborating with two people that I really really look up to and love, and both of them are incredible. Strong women in music pompom is the producer of the song and the co writer rosie, who has her own artist project as well, and I feel
excitement in the session room day was just really palpable. I was here,
with them about how I wanted
The song, the cunning just be about seeing yourself his beauty,
porn, seeing yourself is r and d, make it really playful and a fun way too
friends a bunch of other art
palm picked up a ukulele anne, she play
the verse cords and it just fell,
like this, really like
be light. Strumming pattern.
and then from there we really worked on trying to figure out the core.
lisa Musee was the last is so now I like that. It's kind of strange always
I didn't grow up with a lot of forms, the representation that really felt like reflected my identity or self, and you know either
thinking about something is famous, is a painting like the Mona LISA, the model
this is a white woman, and so I didn't really necessarily see myself in major forms of like famous media, whether it was paintings or plays or movies or tv shows. So finding the can
Think about ok,
make a song but has a very famous painting as the title and I'm gonna be the famous painting
and a girl that you can change
I first learned how to play the ukulele. When I was twelve years old, it was very new to me. I had only been classically trained on cello and violin, and so there is this
instrument that had no rules when I really loved,
my cat playing music lily through
school and eventually releasing songs with it. So it was just kind.
This through line that existed through everything I think it was
important to me to kind of figure out a way to move on from it. I don't want to be the
ukulele girl for the rest of my life? I want to be just a girl.
So I was really adamant about the fact that I was like, and this needs to be bigger and needs to be alive
grander than justice instrument.
That's why the song had so many more elements that we added on. We wanted to make it sound, really sweeping, and I knew that we couldn't do that with just the lily
I love story.
as somebody who was trained on.
Lang strings? I think I am big proponent of putting them into my songs. I think they add a lot but
I am not the picky strings player that ever existed in the world so
The string sounds are literally just a plugin that palm had on her computer.
Session. Musicians are also, but if you can get an idea across and put it down on the day of or whatever it is, doesn't need me more common,
It would not have always played
I hide behind the ink and pen. My brain is very satisfied by the idea of playing in a play as shakespeare who's, a playwright like okay, we get it like you, you nailed the joke into the ground like it's. Fine, whatever
I'm so tired of being a book on the shelf, tired stories for somebody else think that I'm ready to start a new chapter we wanted to make.
sound sparkly and like have disney vibes and make
a kind of feel fantastical
In writing for Mona LISA was kind of proudly taking that sort of camping s.
in the lyrics and the writing and just run,
with that and not trying to hide the fact that it's kind ever absurd concept to think of yourself as the Mona LISA, but viewing it more ass kind of
performance allowed for more honesty and vulnerability to come through. So
Is there anybody who catch
My point of view as well.
I wrote that lyric. It was this question of like. Why am I even writing this? In the first place,
can is there's somebody else that could do this. For me, it's exhausting to make art constantly about, like your experience,
everything? How nice.
Would it be to have somebody else, take the reins and do it for you and not have it fall upon your shoulders, I'm so tired?
being a book on the shelf. Tired of stories for somebody else think that I'm ready to start a new chapter. It's really
Fund to make songs with the intention of performing them live and Mona LISA was one of those songs. I was made knowing that
It would be areas where people shot back and UNESCO
with you and like I'm so tired,
it'd, being a book on the shelf, tired Asturias, for somebody else like these. Are these big moments that I put into the sea
knowing that it would be something that people were going to sing with me
and looking for someone to turn it around. Looking for someone to me the crown no and I feel like I finally matte. I think that gang
of course add like this really great texture. It also has a great way to include like these people that you're working with into the song we are making- and I love having this
and a joint experience of everybody being involved in the recording
Well, we were just trying to get the clap track to have like more texture to it and just adding kind of weird odd lives throughout it, but it just ended up kind of go off the rails. We were
I'll just having a little too much fun and ended up sounding, like quote dad's edible
Small game where work is going up in the background,
luke nickolay who executive produced the song after palm finished off and of her main framework for it
he's an incredible guitarists, so he can tell it just like pick up anything in at it. So
We put birds into the song.
To kind of also build, maybe something that feels more fantastical and airy. I guess they haven't really airy quality about them. I mean they're birds. For god's sake,
Also, I you know it
We think of like a disney princess, montage scene where, like she gets out of bed and the birds are like carrying her out of the bad and then she's dancing around like I feel like it was just a kid
you think I'm very soon be does not do enough to lily. I test all music that I
on my younger cousins. I need to make sure that they enjoy it
like a song, then I've done something correctly. I could care less if, like
dude, unlike his fifties, tells me that he doesn't like my music, but I care so much if my seven year old cousin does not like my songs,
but to her- and I made her listen to it and she just dance to it.
maritime- and I remember thinking this is
Actually, the way I want my music to make people feel that unfiltered joy is just more
important to me in and makes me feel so much more satisfied with the work that I'm doing if they are financing to it. That's good.
But they're gonna- remember
be their hairspray in their mama mia. It's gonna be my song, Mona LISA and about also.
Now- here's mona lisa by a maxim tune in its entirety
have always played the part of shakespeare. I hide behind the ink and pen build upwards and say alright, beginning middle the I wanna be the so
Is there anybody changed? My stories were ready to start in its turn in italy. The feeling I want to learn more
song, exploded dot net you'll find
links to stream or download the song and you can watch the music video.
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-16.