When Maeta left Indiana to move to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of superstardom, she kept her eye on the prize. Since then, she's garnered viral exposure, courtesy of her Soundcloud and Instagram covers, but the budding R&B singer did draw on her hometown experience for her new single, "Teen Scene."
Produced by Kaytranada, the coming-of-age track, which features rapper Buddy, hears the 20-year-old croon about outgrowing a relationship, while simultaneously finding herself in the process. It's a tale as old as time for those who've left behind their stomping grounds. "You were backwards/ You'd act like it’s for me/ So I left you in the teen scene," she sings over some lush production from the Canadian hitmaker. The hypnotic offering, the first from her upcoming Habits EP, hears Maeta's gentle delivery evoke both nostalgia and the freshness of new beginnings.
After the release of the Child-directed music video for "Teen Scene," Maeta spoke to iHeartRadio about the new single, the making of its accompanying EP and her ever-so-relatable fandom for SZA. Scroll on below to read our Q&A with the emerging singer.
"Teen Scene" tells a very specific narrative of outgrowing a relationship, yet embracing one’s youth. Was the inspiration behind this track based on personal experiences?
Personal experiences for sure. It reminds me of when I left home at 18 and came to LA. I said goodbye to my whole teenage life in Indiana and quickly had to grow up out here and start fresh. This song reminds me of home and all of my people there, before we all grew up and separated.
Kaytranada produced the cut. How did you two find your way to one another?
Honestly, we never met and still haven’t. Several months ago I heard an unfinished version of the song and got in the studio with Rook Monroe, an amazing writer, and we finished it up. Due to COVID-19, I was never able to meet with Kaytranada and he’s also in Canada, so everything was just sent back and fourth. I hope to meet him soon!
You’ve been in the studio with so many different heavyweights. What’s your most memorable studio session to-date?
I’ve done so many sessions in the past few years that meant something to me, so this is hard to answer! The first one that came to mind though is my session with James Fauntleroy. I’ve always loved him, so it was amazing to be in a session with him working on my own music. It was one of the first sessions I ever did in LA. We didn’t talk too much; I was being shy and just let him do his thing. I loved watching him in his element. The song turned out great! Unfortunately it was never released on my project. Maybe it will be a bonus track on a future project, who knows.
What other stories are you singing about on your upcoming Habits EP?
Habits takes you through a toxic relationship I was sort of in. So every song is an aspect of that relationship and me trying to figure my way through it. There’s songs where I’m pissed, songs about love, songs where I’m being nasty, everything. It's vulnerable and raw but beautiful, and I really love it.
I noticed that SZA follows you on Instagram. What would a Maeta and SZA collaboration sound like?
I will never forget when she followed me, I was on a high for like a week lol. It’s a dream of mine to get in with her. I think a Maeta and SZA song would be upbeat, something that makes you want to move, with really interesting rhythms and topics. I love her because she is honest and raw, so something like that. Definitely looking forward to a future session with her!
It’s been a funky year of twist and turns. What have you learned about yourself amid the lockdown?
I think this year exposed a lot about myself and everybody else. All of our distractions got pulled away from us so everybody was sort of forced to sit with themselves. I’ve grown a lot with myself spirituality, and feel more confident and comfortable in my skin. I also learned a lot about other people, lost some friends, made new friends, my circle is smaller but stronger. I had a personal makeover. Although this year sucked in a lot of ways, there were some changes that needed to be made!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.