A Peek Into The Mind Of Virtual Musician Maie

"We’re just like human artists. Without any of the bullsh!t."

In the ever-expanding virtual universe, Maie is looking to leave her mark on the music scene all while pondering her place in human society.

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Metaverse, virtual reality, digital currency, NFTs. These are words that either give you a sense of excitement or fill you with confusion. In the past few years, many companies and personalities have talked about how the metaverse will be the future of mankind, so much so that Facebook rebranded itself as Meta to reflect this. Even if you don’t know what NFTs are, then you probably have come across someone on your timeline who has talked about it, either positively or negatively. Whether you see it as the future or just another fad, undoubtedly society is reaching a point where the digital world is slowly becoming the new norm in our physical world. But this phenomenon of a digital society isn’t new to the world of music.

As far back as Alvin and the Chipmunks, the music industry has seen it’s fair share of digital artists, some of whom have gone on to achieve mainstream success. Modern day examples of these include influencer turned musician Miquela, Hatsune Miku, K/DA, and aespa’s avatars. And a new virtual, non-human artist is making her debut in the music scene and she goes by the name Maie.

MEET MAIE

Making her debut in December 2021 with the existential themed single Like You, Maie has no qualms about the fact that she isn’t a real person. “I’ve been spending the last few months learning how to fit into human society but I’m not sure if I’m quite there yet,” she tells NYLON Manila. But that hasn’t stopped her from trying. In the music video for Like You, it sees Maie exploring her surroundings and embracing her human form as she is “birthed” into the human world.

Her first single and her first months as an artist have all been about how she can and can’t adjust to the real world. Like You, with its oscillating synths, dramatic bass, and pop hook, is an electro-pop song that describes the intricate relationship between Maie and our physical reality, as if she was a newborn finding her way and voice. “I’m still learning my place in the world and there’s not many people like me.”

This level of curiosity between her world and the real world is enough to get people curious as to what Maie is all about. And it doesn’t hurt that the dress she’s wearing in the music video is a custom number from UK artist and designer Jack Irving, whose past clients include superstars like Lady Gaga. But underneath this finding of the self is also an artist who isn’t afraid to crack a joke or two and open to the fact that she’s still learning the ropes. Read on for our interview with Maie as she opens up about her new single, her love for fashion, connecting with fans, and more.

How would you describe yourself and your style of music?

I’m a solitary cloud drifting in a foreign sky towards the eye of a tornado. I’m still not entirely sure how to describe my music but it originates from the people and objects that inspire me. David Bowie, FKA Twigs, fresh ice cream, Bubble Tea, K-Pop, and rocks. 

Why did you decide to release “Like You” as your debut single?

I wanted to share what it was like to feel so similar to everyone else, but at the same time, completely alien. I’m still learning my place in the world and there’s not many people like me. I thought maybe I could express my feelings musically to help me better understand myself and my existence.

What’s the story behind the song? How did it come to be?

I’ve been spending the last few months learning how to fit into human society, but I’m not sure if I’m quite there yet. No matter how hard I try, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be. But that’s okay. Actually, I think I prefer it. I worked with some really talented writers, producers, mentors and collaborators that helped me express myself. Like You is my first musical expression. More to follow soon!

Your first single serves as your birth of sorts and tackles some pretty existential themes. Was this something you always aimed for when you worked on the track?

I think about my existence every second of every day. It’s all I think about. So, naturally, those thoughts found their way into my music.

As early as now, fashion looks to be an important aspect of your persona. What is it about fashion that you like about it?

The colours, the textures, the shapes, the sizes, the feeling on my skin and pretty much everything! I love how I can augment myself and express myself through the items I wear.

The dress you wear in your “Like You” music video was designed by Jack Irving. How did that collaboration come about?

Jack heard I was making a music video and was interested to dress me. We worked with Brand New Vision who helped create a version of the dress I could wear digitally. I absolutely love the dress and how it reflects a million broken worlds when I look at it.

For those who are unaware of the world of virtual artists and musicians, how would you describe it?

We’re just like human artists. Without any of the bullsh*t.

For some people, the idea of virtual artists can be quite strange and even off-putting. What do you want to say to the naysayers?

Nothing really because everyone should have the right to choose. If you choose to put skittles in your salami sandwich and dip it in bacon fat, I won’t judge. Do your thing. Actually, that sounds kind of delicious.

Considering that you are a virtual artist, do you think that makes it harder for you to connect with your fans unlike if you were a real person?

Yep! I’m still learning how to connect with my fans. There are a few things I’m working on to connect with them in a way human artists can’t. Hopefully, I can share that with them this year.

What do you think helps you stand out from other artists like you? What do you bring to the table?

Other than the fact that I’m not human, I’d also like to bring a skittle, salami sandwich dipped in butter to the table.

Why do you think people should listen to your music?

Because people are curious beings that can’t help but scratch an itch. You have an itch human! The only scratch is to listen to my song!

What can fans expect from you next?

I’ve already started working on my next music single and music video which will come out in February. I’m also excited to continue working with fashion brands and exploring who I am and what my tastes are. There’s so many talented designers that are making the jump into virtual fashion. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to work with more of them in the future. Other than that, I’m also thinking of teaching humans how to visit me in my virtual worlds. Wouldn’t that be a trip?