mxmtoon’s ‘plum blossom’ EP Gets Reimagined

Singapore—Maia, known as mxmtoon, began her music journey at 17, releasing heartfelt songs from her bedroom, and she’s now revisiting the tracks that launched her career with ‘plum blossom (revisited)’ as she prepares for another album in 2024; her first reimagined song, “feelings are fatal (revisited),” is out now.

She reflects on the changes in her life from her teenage years to adulthood, expressing gratitude for the growth and resources she now has to realize her artistic dreams while honoring her younger self’s courage and creativity. ‘plum blossom (revisited)’ serves as a tribute to her beginnings and an encouragement for others to embrace their youthful selves.

Image Courtesy of Joelle Grace Taylor.

According to the artist, “Now, at twenty-three, I’m so grateful to say I have the resources to make those dreams come true for my younger self. to honor and thank her for being brave enough even to make art in the first place, and make her songs shine the way she always wanted them to. ‘plum blossom (revisited)’ is my way of paying homage to where I started from, to thank everyone who’s grown up with me over the last five years, and encourage people not to shy away from embracing our younger selves.”

At the age of twenty-three, Maia’s journey since the release of ‘plum blossom’ five years ago has been marked by significant growth and transformation. She came out as queer, relocated to Brooklyn, and faced a year filled with family tragedies, including the loss of her beloved grandmother, a source of inspiration for her music. Amidst the profound grief and the illness of another close family member, Maia found solace in reimagining her music.

Cover Art Courtesy of mxmtoon.

She turned to her trusty ukulele and even improvised with everyday objects, like a hair straightener, to create percussion. After sharing a series of singles on various social platforms, mxmtoon’s debut EP ‘plum blossom’ made waves, amassing a devoted fanbase, sold-out tours, and multi-Platinum records, while also earning praise from respected media outlets like The New York Times and NPR. Since then, mxmtoon has maintained a prolific creative output, culminating in her sophomore LP ‘rising’ last year, following the release of ‘the masquerade’ in 2019.

Maia’s collaboration on this project exclusively with women in production was of utmost importance, enlisting the talents of Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) as co-producer and engineer, along with Laura Sisk (known for her work with Lana Del Rey and Lorde) for mixing. Two weeks at Oakland’s Tiny Telephone Studios brought an element of playfulness to the collaboration, with unconventional percussive techniques reminiscent of her early days. Maia aimed to elevate the production while preserving the childlike wonder inspired by limited resources.

The project’s core mission was to fulfill the potential envisioned by her 17-year-old self, most evident in the reimagining of “1-800-DATEME,” her debut song. While retaining her endearing self-deprecating interludes, the new version introduces rhythmic hand claps and vocal doubling, reflecting a sense of companionship and self-assuredness. Maia, now openly queer, changed the opening verse significantly to better align with her identity, reflecting her journey and growth.