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Maude Latour’s first brush with viral fame came in early 2020 when she posted a video on TikTok of her singing her original track “Furniture” to the tune of the piano. “It was during a time that I didn't think my music was going to be growing because of quarantine,” the singer tells AP over Zoom from Los Angeles, where she fittingly had just finished a meeting with TikTok. “Everything was canceled.” At the start of the year, she had set her plans — a festival slot at SXSW and a tour during the fall; instead, she found herself at home in her New York apartment.

“It actually still was a time that totally changed everything,” Latour explains. “The platform has such an ability to highlight someone or find the people who love it. And when it works, it works.” With the population isolated during the pandemic, they found new music they could relate to using the app. Singers went viral for simply performing in the comfort of their living room, amassing thousands of fans without ever leaving their homes. It was a way for people to connect during the pandemic with musicians and fans. 

Read more: How Victoria Anthony went from singing with P!nk to creating pop-punk-inspired anthems

Latour experienced this firsthand. Her effervescent pop songs (think Lorde’s “Green Light” and Hayley Kiyoko’s “for the girls”) provided the ultimate high-energy escape for users scrolling for the next sticky earworm. “People on the app are so funny — when they love something, they love it so much,” the 22-year-old singer says. It was evident for Latour in the nearly 100,000 fans she quickly amassed.

It would be a year-and-a-half until Latour was back on campus at Columbia University, and when she returned as a senior, plenty of her classmates had heard her music (thanks to TikTok, of course). “People would pass me notes in the library saying, ‘Oh, love your music,’ or I'd go into the library and people would be whispering my name,” she recalls. 

The New York-based pop newcomer, who went to an all-girls school growing up, has become known for using her music to reflect on the complexities of female friendships and sexuality. In February 2021 she tweeted, “its really the binary/phallic constraints on love and emotion that cause us to put love into boxes. feminine love is fluidity, boundaryless, friendship and romance blur, it is true feeling and it has no ends.” 

In March, she shared “Lola,” an ode to her best friend. The TikTok where she played the song for Lola happened to receive more than 220,000 likes. One commenter wrote, “Maude really out here blurring the line between friendship and relationship,” to which she replied, “i wish i could tell u the whole story. This song will have to do in the meantime.” Another asked if the single would be “playing when you walk down the aisle to Lola,” and queer icon FLETCHER declared, “i’m so here for this.” 

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[Photo via Warner]

“I've been an advocate for this, blurry, indescribable love that's friendship, but [it’s] so much deeper, and all of your relationships are confused by it.” Latour describes her historically all-girls school as “a place where all these feelings mush.” She’s still navigating these complicated relationships, which she’s “starting to realize are not fully sustainable” as she grows up and develops deeper feelings. She described these relationships on TikTok as a “complex lovefriendblur.” 

Focusing on these friendships has continuously proven to be significant lyrical fodder for her. “I'm not in love right now,” Latour confidently declares. “But I am nurturing friendships. It took me a second to realize that they need as much care as a romantic relationship. If it’s done right, this gets to be a source of love and life for you for years.” As she figures it out, she calls her music “an actual real-time reflection of how I'm feeling.” 

On her latest track “Probabilities,” Latour seems destined for superstardom, ready to join her icons, including No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. Her upcoming EP is slated for release Sept. 30 and follows her 2019 EP Starsick 2021 EP Strangers Forever.

Rather than romance, she has other things to focus on — like preparing to embark on a major tour. She’s hitting the festival circuit, playing Lollapalooza, ACL and Music Midtown. Her shows, which she describes as “rave parties,” have created an incredible community for her. “It’s this intangible world, and promoting and sharing comes to fruition in a concert,” she says. “[The music] gets the closure it needs, and it's cool to meet people and be a real person off the screen.”

She also plans to write songs daily, spend time in the studio and watch Love Island — a notoriously time-consuming endeavor. Latour is focused on crafting “perfect pop songs and a sonic universe, the way No Doubt does, or the way that every artist I love has done.”

Latour, however, will need to navigate some change, though along the way. Much of her music and video content — largely shot on the Columbia campus — has been directly linked to New York. With a whirlwind year ahead, she’s bracing for a departure from the city she’s called home for the past several years. “I've lived my life through the lens of New York City for so long,” she notes. “Once I lose New York as the backdrop for everything, I'm curious what will replace it.”

FOR FANS OF: Lorde, Hayley Kiyoko, renforshort

SONG RECOMMENDATION: “Cyclone”