Newly-signed Roc Nation singer Maeta talks her new EP, her creative process, and who she wants to collab with next

Maeta press photo
Maeta discusses her new EP. Pic credit: Press/Sam Leviton WMA

Debuting on the music scene in 2019, R&B star in the making Maeta releases her long-awaited second EP, Habits.

Fresh from signing a record deal with Jay-Z’s very own Roc Nation, the Indianapolis-born singer is ready to become your favorite new songstress.

The new six-track project is true to Maeta’s soulful brand and see’s her experimenting with a whole range of hit producers — Kaytranada, Teddy Walton, and Mustard — and talented artists — Buddy, BEAM, and Leven Kali.

Monsters and Critics caught up with Maeta to discuss what it was like making the new EP during the global coronavirus pandemic, what she hopes listeners will take away from the music, and who she wants to work with next.

Monsters & Critics: For those who are just discovering your music, how did you get started?

Maeta: Music was always playing around my house growing up, so it just kinda came naturally to me. I grew up singing in church, was in all the music clubs at my schools, played piano, etc. I always knew it’s what I wanted to do. 

M&C: How would you describe your sound?

Maeta: I would say moody, soulful, and spicy. 

M&C: What has making the EP during the pandemic been like?

Maeta: Honestly, it was the only thing that got me through it! It was so nice to have something to look forward to during those dark times. I spent so much time in the studio, and it honestly helped me get the work done since nothing else was happening. 

M&C: The EP’s lead single, Teen Scene, with Buddy remains your most popular song. Did you have a feeling this track would resonate with people? Also, has the success come by surprise?

Maeta: Yes, I think my whole team knew. With the talent involved, there’s no way it wouldn’t. You can’t go wrong with Kaytranada, and Buddy is incredible. 

M&C: Kaytranada produced the song. What was it like working with him?

Maeta: I actually still haven’t met him, we started the song at the beginning of covid, so everything was done through emails. But I’ve talked to him a few times on Instagram and he is very sweet! 

M&C: Is there a certain track on the EP that was the most challenging to create/write?

Maeta: Probably “B***h Don’t Be Mad.” It was a little challenging because I was trying to sound too perfect when recording it for the first time. I actually had to re-cut it a couple times to completely let go and pull out all of the emotion it needed. Once I got in with the original producers, they really helped me bring it to life. 

M&C: What are you hoping listeners will take away from listening to the EP?

Maeta: My EP takes you through a toxic relationship I was in, and my rollercoaster of a life that started when I moved to LA. It was like therapy to me when I was confused, lonely, and just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I hope anybody going through something similar can use it as a sense of comfort, or something to relate to. 

M&C: Janet Jackson inspired the artwork. Has her music had any influence on your sound?

Maeta: Of course, not even just musically but as a whole artist. She has so many iconic songs, shoots and videos it’s hard not to. 

M&C: You recently signed with Roc Nation. How did this deal come about?

Maeta: My A&R and current co-president Omar Grant actually found me on Instagram. He saw a few covers and ended up flying to Indiana to meet me. We had dinner for a couple of hours, I sang a little for him, and a few weeks later, I was signed. I am really grateful for that. 

M&C: You’ve been releasing music for a couple of years now. Do you feel like you were still experimenting with your sound with the early material?

Maeta: Yes! Do Not Disturb was the first project I ever put out, so it was all new to me. I love those songs, but I am completely different now and have grown so much. I never want my projects to sound the same though. I’ll probably be saying the same thing when the next one comes out. 

M&C: Who is on your radar that you would like to collab with next?

Maeta: I really want to collaborate with SZA or Victoria Monet eventually. They are so amazing. I’ve never done a song with another girl either, so I’m interested to hear what that sounds like! 

M&C: Are you already thinking about and saving songs for an album?

Maeta: Yes. I have songs from 2019 that we’re planning on using. They felt too big for an EP, so we wanted to keep them for an album. It’s hard to keep them secret for so long, but I am so excited about them. 

M&C: Whose music has helped you get through the pandemic this past year?

Maeta: A lot of old stuff from home. Kacey Musgraves, John Denver, John Mayer, to name a few. These are artists that I listen to with my friends and family from home, so whenever I’m homesick (which I was all last year), those artists give me comfort. 

M&C: What is something you would like to achieve by the end of the year?

Maeta: Shows!!! I can’t wait to perform, and see my fans in person! 

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