When mxmtoon started recording lo-fi confessional songs at home on her ukulele and sharing them online, she was only 13 years old. Now, the down-to-earth multi-hyphenate 21-year-old has carved out her own path as a musician, vlogger, podcaster, and online community-builder.
Squarespace chatted with mxmtoon about connecting with people online, not limiting herself to only one type of creative endeavor, and the importance of being your genuine, vulnerable self as a creator.
SQSP: What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
mxmtoon: I honestly never anticipated that I would be able to do music for a living! I feel like songwriting was an outlet for me growing up, and I just got immensely lucky that it came to my doorstep and presented itself as a career option. I think, in the beginning, the idea of being creative for a living was extremely daunting, but the possibility that I could share my story with the world and, in turn, inspire others to do the same made me feel brave enough to accept it as my job and do the best I can.
SQSP: How does your online presence help you connect with your audience?
mxmtoon: Being online bridges divides so easily in a way we’ve never had, and I think any divide is just becoming smaller and smaller by the day. I started my job in music online, and without being able to connect with people over the internet, I’m not sure if I’d even have a job! I love the fact that I’m able to forge an online community of passionate, kind, and creative individuals and host it all through spaces that I can make on social media.
SQSP: What challenges have you faced creating and sharing your work over the past couple years? Have those challenges led to new creative ideas, or ways to reach your audience?
mxmtoon: I feel as if my biggest obstacle is making sure I don’t give all of myself away in the process of trying to share who I am online. It’s a tough balancing act to have your job revolve around sharing yourself all the time and not allowing it to take over your entire life. I definitely use this experience to create lyrics. It’s an ongoing battle that I face all the time, so I imagine it’ll only continue to inform some of the art I make and the messages I share.
SQSP: What’s one of the most useful lessons you’ve learned from creating and publishing a daily podcast this past year, and how do you think you’ll carry that lesson forward in your career?
mxmtoon: I’m not limited to one singular thing. Doing a year-long history podcast seems like the furthest thing away from making songs about my teenagehood! Yet, I still did it. As a creative, I never want to limit myself to doing one form of anything. Exploring my other interests under the umbrella of “mxmtoon” has always been a priority. 365 days with mxmtoon has been a huge undertaking, but I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process — and also probably way too much random information about space or even cicadas.
SQSP: What advice do you have for emerging artists who are trying to build their own brand and community online?
mxmtoon: You should never try to be anyone but yourself. Being genuine and vulnerable is one of the bravest actions a person can take, and I think honesty shines through more than anything. Any new artists should get really good at telling their story. The basis of any creative is their ability to storytell, and nobody should be better at telling your story than you yourself!
SQSP: How do you see your art and career evolving over the next year?
mxmtoon: I think the last year has really shown that there are so many avenues that artists can take to explore their creative expression, whether it be with podcasts, livestreams, visual art, or music. The ethos of mxmtoon is how multi-hyphenated the project is. It’s really exciting to me to keep exploring the vast world of creativity that is out there and see what else I can dive into. I definitely see music as the core of everything I do, but I’m curious to see how else I’ll bring my own creative universe to life alongside it.