I’m 20 years old now, and I’m starting to confront the fact that some people, younger people, exist—and that they may be in touch with a culture I am unfamiliar with. I went into this concert knowing that the lead act, Maia, who goes by the stage name Mxmtoon (pronounced em-ex-em-toon), was only 18 years old. What I did not anticipate was that there would be so many fans of her same age… and younger. In retrospect, it makes sense. She built a large portion of her following on her youtube channel… and on Tik-Tok???
I felt out of place for a moment, with some references going over my head, but it only temporarily took me out of the experience. She came on stage and announced she would perform three sections: love songs, sad songs, and sad love songs. Perfect, that’s what I came for after all. I came to simp to love songs— the innocent kind, the kind that takes you back to freshman year of high school and your first crush, a time before anyone truly hurt you, when love and relationships felt simple. The rest of the crowd felt the same way, whether through nostalgia or because that was the reality they knew. Everyone sang along with her through her emotional set, even providing back up vocals without having to be told by the solo performer.
It’s an experience I’ll cherish for a long time, and I’ll be keen to follow her growth as an artist. Tongue-in-cheek, she declared that her single “feelings are fatal” would one day be the next “Riptide” by Vance Joy. Whether she ascends to the same level of pop culture relevance remains to be seen. She is a talented young artist whose music resonates widely with her loyal following. She sold out The Moroccan Lounge, and in a few years’ time, you can count on her doing the same at bigger and bigger venues.
Photo by Antoine Delcayre