Maeta is your new favorite Alternative R&B singer, and she’s here to bless the masses with her inner and outer beauty. Hailing from Indianapolis, but now residing in sunny Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter creates heartfelt ballads inspired by real-life experiences, touching on everything from the toxicity in relationships to everyday struggles we all face as we navigate this thing called life.
There are two versions of Maeta: one inspired by Indianapolis and the other inspired by Los Angeles. The former is loud, seeks attention, loves to sing, always has her shoes off, and is wild at heart—while the other version is moody and trying to figure out her life. She speaks on the latter, “I overanalyze things, I fantasize all day. I love food and wine in life. There’s a kid version and grown version.”
Now, the latest Roc Nation signee returns with her newest EP titled Habits, showcasing a more comfortable, confident Maeta than fans have ever seen before. The body of work chronicles the trials and tribulations of adulthood, spearheaded by lead single “Teen Scene” featuring Buddy and produced by Kaytranada. The second single “Toxic” features Beam and is produced by Skrillex.
Flaunt caught up with Maeta via Zoom to discuss her roots in Indiana, biggest influences, moving to Los Angeles, what inspired “Toxic”, working with Kaytranada and Skrillex, her new EP Habits, studio essentials, goals, singing the National Anthem back home, and more!
You’re from Indianapolis, what was the household like growing up?
My household was always wild. My house was the house that everyone was always at. My mom didn’t care, I’d invite people over without telling her. There’s always people at my house. Always had music playing, it was loud. We always had the doors and windows open, we’re running in and out all day. When I was a kid, my dad always had camcorders recording us. We’re always in the spotlight. Indiana was fun, I loved growing up there. I had a very free childhood.
Who were your biggest influences?
Beyoncé of course, Rihanna of course. My parents listened to a lot of John Mayer and The Eagles. I got into R&B because all my friends listened to it in middle school and high school, so it became my thing.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
My dream of being a singer started at 6 or 7. I didn’t realize I could do it for a living until I was 12 or 13 when I got my first manager and then it became more about business and more serious. I was flying to Atlanta all of the time because that’s where he lived. I’d go there for meetings and record and started making it a serious career.
What have you learned since then?
One thing I’m proud of myself for is never giving up. It can look like there’s no hope, but things always turn around. Never giving up is one thing, staying consistent, which I struggle with. Also trusting myself, that’s been a thing I’ve been working on for a while and I still am. Sometimes, there’s so many people around me. I could get really lonely and tell strangers what I’m going through, and everyone has an opinion. But I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and trust myself, trust my team. I’m still working on that.
How did you get your name?
Maeta’s my real name. I’m named after my great great grandma from Germany.
You moved to LA two years ago, how is it coming from Indianapolis?
I love It. When I left Indianapolis it was like, “Ooooo LA.” It was this big thing. Now, it feels normal. When I first moved, it was a wake up call. This isn’t what you think it’s going to be, you have to pay rent. I had no friends here. It was really hard at first because I had nobody, I was so so lonely. I was in this toxic relationship. It was really hard but two years later, I finally have friends. I have a lot of my team here, it’s starting to feel like home. I still think I’m not completely my full self here. When I go to Indiana, that’s when I let go and everything’s natural. L.A. is where everything I’m meant to be doing is happening now.
What do you like about LA?
First of all music, there are barely any studios in Indiana. I love making music, that all happens here. My whole team is here. I like the chaos, I live downtown. It’s loud, there’s people everywhere. I like that it’s hot, I can go to my rooftop now and tan. That’s what I’ve been doing the past few days. The food’s good. I was in New York for a few weeks, the food’s a lot better there.
What did you like in New York?
Pasta. I got so much pasta, I gained 10 pounds at least. I don’t care, I was eating a lot of pasta and drinking wine. I love taking myself out to dinner. Sometimes in LA it can feel weird, especially when I run into people. In New York I didn’t know many people so I’d take myself on dates every night. I loved it, it was so fun. I spent way too much money.
“Toxic” out now, how are you feeling?
I feel good, “Toxic” was one of my favorites. It’s so weird because once I release a song, I don’t listen to it anymore. I haven’t listened to that song since it came out. I listen to it all day every day up until the release point. Once it’s out, I just let it go. I’ve been listening to my project every single day but now that it’s out, I’ll never listen to It again.
Who or what inspired this record?
“Toxic” is about toxicity. It’s about going through the rollercoaster of a relationship, thinking you love someone but you don’t actually love them. You want them for yourself, for your own selfish reasons. The whole song is a back and forth between me and Beam who’s featured on it, trying to figure out what we’re doing and talk about why we love each other. It’s very toxic. The lyrics aren’t healthy lyrics, but it’s real though. I went through it and I’m still going through it.
How was it collaborating with Skrillex?
I met him at a studio a few months before we went to the session for “Toxic.” He was with Beam one night and invited me to the session. I went, I didn’t think anything of it. I almost didn’t go because I was so tired. I went, ended up staying till 7am working on songs. Beam ended up playing “Toxic” for me because he’d already written it, but it was for someone else. He wasn’t going to be on it, he just had it and played it. I said “I want that song.” He said “you can have it.” I asked if he could feature on it, he said “sure.” A few weeks later, we got back in the studio and rewrote the lyrics to fit me. He recorded his part, it came together slowly. Skrillex is one of the nicest people.
What did you learn from being in the studio with them?
With Beam, to stop overthinking music and let my soul grow. Not overthinking my melody, he helped me let go and let everything out. Through watching Skrillex, he’s very laid back and doesn’t overthink anything. He seems very relaxed and lets everything happen. Ty Dolla $ign showed up, all of these random people showed up. He’s a very go with the flow person. That’s one thing I’m inspired by.
Best memory from the video shoot?
All I remember is getting drunk and having a good time. I love that my whole team’s there. We all talk, we’re always on the phone. We’re all in different places half of the time. Whenever my team’s in the same place, I always get emotional. I sit back and observe everybody, know this is my team. It’s a beautiful thing because I love my team, we have a lot of good times. Everybody talks shit the whole time. [laughs]
How did “Teen Scene” come about? Produced by Kaytranada and featuring rapper Buddy.
“Teen Scene” happened during Covid when quarantine started, so I never got to meet Kaytranada. Everything was online, I was talking to him through DMs. I got in with Rook Monroe, the other writer, and talked about leaving Indiana. The song happened slowly over a few months. Buddy came on it, it all happened. I met Buddy in person at the video shoot. He was amazing, so fun. It was a whole party. The whole video when you watch it, all that shit was real. I had the time of my life, one of my favorite days ever. It was a mess. A lot of difficulties that we had, but it was super fun. I love it.
What inspired your new EP, Habits?
Habits is about a toxic relationship I was in. It’s a bad habit I have going back to this person that I swear I’m done with. They text me, I immediately started getting ready for any plans. It’s that thing that’s really hard to get over. I’ve been dealing with it for the past two years, that’s what this project is about. It’s about every aspect of the relationship. There’s songs about how much I love this person. There’s songs where I’m mad, I’m so pissed and so over it. There’s song about sex, it’s all aspects.
How many tears and tequila went into this?
So much, I’ve cried to every single song. I almost threw up recording half of the songs, it was a lot.
What inspired the cover art?
It’s inspired by Janet Jackson. I did it with my photographer and creative director right when quarantine started, it’s been a whole year since we shot it. It was the first photo shoot I’d done with her, it just happened to be the cover. I love it so much. It represents everything I’ve gone through because I was in the thick of it at that point.
3 things you need in the studio?
One, tequila. Two, the lights off because of my peacefulness. I don’t like when a lot of people are there. Three, my engineer Rafe Noonan.
Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Going on tour. Right when quarantine started, I was getting into doing shows then it stopped. I had to sit at home and wish I was doing shows. I want to go on tour. I’ve been rehearsing a lot recently for some online things that I’ve done. My VEVO DSCVR performance is out now. I really want to be in person with my fans and sing to them at an actual show.
I have my long-term goals and whatever I need to get there, it’ll happen. I’m not good at planning short-term things. I like the bigger picture. I’ll end up there how I”m supposed to. The only thing I can think of is going on tour. That’s the one thing I want to do this year. I have stage fright, but I’ve gotten a little better at that. I want to push myself more, perform these songs and see my fans in front of me. Not just on Instagram.
How was it singing the National Anthem back at home in Indianapolis?
It was terrifying! That’s the first time I’d ever performed in Indiana. It wasn’t completely full due to COVID, but it was cool to see myself on the big screen. It was amazing. I was terrified, but my whole family loved it. They all said they cried to it. It made all of my Indiana people really proud.
Anything else you would like to let the people know?
Habits is out, go listen to It. I love it so much, it’s my diary of the past two years. I hope everybody loves it. I worked with some amazing people on It. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @maetasworld.