Pop Goes the Maesu!: Atlanta-bred, L.A.-based singer, songwriter and producer Maesu (pronounced May-soo) pops onto our Zoom interview like a blur of pink. Sharply dressed and looking dapper in a pink jacket and similarly colored sunglasses, the man obviously pays a lot of attention to his appearance.

He is, after all, a lover not a fighter. His smooth lyrics, which often delve into life and love, the latter in all its forms, attest to that. He’s also an immediately likable soul – all smiles and good vibes. He should be happy – he had a good 2022 and it’s looking increasingly like he’ll have a great 2023.

Maesu began his musician journey when he was in high school, influenced by a friend who was knocking out great stuff and getting attention for it.

“He was uploading it to YouTube and everyone was receiving it,” Maesu says. “Something in me was just, ‘you know what – I want to do that too.’ So I started there. At first it was just because I thought it was cool, and then as I did it, everyone else kinda petered out. Since high school, this was my Plan A. I never came out with a Plan B at all. And here we are.”

Not having a Plan B sounds great, committed, in retrospect. But parents usually want their kids to have more solid career plans. However, having late Temptations legend David Ruffin for a cousin offers some family perspective regarding the music industry.

“It was predicted that I was going to be into music for real,” he says. “My mom used to encourage me to take piano and trombone lessons at the Birmingham (Georgia) Jazz Hall of Fame. Every weekend, I used to walk a literal mile to the Jazz Hall of Fame to take piano and trombone lessons. It’s funny because it seems like a lot of my musical startings were from me being just like, ‘that’s cool.’ I wanted to mimic what I just saw. I wanted to learn certain songs. Like, my favorite songs. I wanted to learn to play just them, and it progressed from there.”

Being related to a great like Ruffin gave Maesu, he says, a close example of what a star looks like, and what is possible. He’s certainly going his own way though, with a sound that he calls “world pop.”

“It’s really an amalgamation of everything around me, put into one,” he says. “I live a more nomadic lifestyle now – I’m all across the world. I’ll probably be in Ghana for a month working with Amaarae on her project, or I’ll be in London working with Ayra Starr, or wherever I may be. Or just visiting a random place in Spain, for some period of time for a love connection or whatever it may be. I’m just all of those things around me put into one. I let go of the concept of anchoring myself into a specific patch of dirt. I’m Alabama, or I’m Los Angeles, or New York. I’m me, and I see my home as the people around me and the people I surround myself with.”

That sound is on display in new single “Sex on GPS,” a provocatively titled ditty that actually works on a number of levels.

“What I like to do, at least my formula with pop music, is write the song in layers,” Maesu says. “So if someone wanted to enjoy the song on that first layer of the cake, they can. It’s about sex with me on location please. It’s just a nice, sexy record. If you wanted to take it one more layer, the song is about me beckoning for sensual validation in a strained relationship. That was a real life thing – I was in a long distance relationship and it was quite strained. And to add a third layer to it, if you look at the lyrics, I’m speaking Spanish at certain times, sometimes a little French in there and also a lot of black American culture – when I say world pop, that’s what I mean. I think the point of pop music is to identify with as many people as possible.”

The song was recorded on Maesu’s family property in Eastman, Georgia, and it’s going to be a part of a bigger Jam Pak project – a pair of EPs.

“I have two EPs coming this year, and we’re calling them Jampak,” he says. “Like, Jam Pak Spring 23, and Jam Pak Summer 23. They’re like tasters — appetizers, for the different sounds that I journey to. We wanted to figure out a way to package an eclectic wave of sound into one, to make it more comprehensible for listeners. We all like to understand. That’s where we find comfort. So if it’s too all over the place, or too difficult to understand, people may fear it.”

Though from Georgia, Maesu acknowledges the influence that the city of L.A. has had on him and his music.

“Los Angeles pushes me to dream bigger,” he says. “That’s what I love about here – there’s always a bigger fish. So even when you get to the most beautiful locations to make music, there’s always up to go in Los Angeles. I do enjoy that a lot. I’ve been here since 2016, back and forth. It’s not even a second home, because the home is myself. But this is a place that I keep returning to. It’s a hub for the world, so it makes sense to make world pop music here.”

Maesu is about to go on tour with like-minded soul Teo, and those will undoubtedly be great shows. He plans to spend Valentine’s day wearing more pink, falling in love, and listening to his favorite slow jams (“Get it Together” by 702, “Why” by Ria Sean and Ayra Starr, and, of course, “Sex on GPS”). And after that – more new music.

“That is the beautiful thing about having a more nomadic lifestyle,” he says. “A lot of it is no-telling. From here, we strive to make it to the Coachella stage – that’s the big dream this next quarter. Just more music right now. And being able to take the music and bring people along on a more visual journey, as well. So being able to release more elaborate visuals.”

We can’t wait.

Pop Goes the Maesu!: Maesu’s “Sex on GPS” single is out now.








































































































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