Josette Maskin: The Emo Guitarist Who Rocks with MUNA Band

Josette Maskin

The musician Josette Maskin was born on 26th February 1994, in California, USA, and is known best for her work with the indie pop band Muna. Born into an interfaith Jewish family, Josette grew up in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, and knew from a young age that she wished to pursue a career in the arts.

Playing guitar and writing songs have always been two of Josette’s favorite things to do, as she spent hours on end perfecting her craft throughout her youth and adolescent years. According to an old interview with Decorated Youth, her father was also enormously influential, and would introduce her to Bob Dylan and Neil Young, two of Josette’s main musical inspirations.

Josette – who has one sibling named Louis – also shared that her first live concert was a Backstreet Boys show. While studying music at the University of Southern California, the future star met her soon-to-be bandmates Katie Gavin and Naomi McPherson.

In September 2017, she began dating girlfriend Kelli Caton, with whom she remains in a committed relationship to this day. Although Kelli doesn’t seek the limelight, she has also shared tidbits about her relationship with the Italian-Jewish musician. Commemorating their one-year anniversary, Kelli previously Tweeted: ‘Josette and I went on our first date exactly a year ago and I brought 2 of my friends by accident. She thought I was catfishing her. We’ve come a long way.’

The Muna hitmaker frequently wears her Star of David and Catholic cross pendants together, and is clearly proud of her cultural background. During the Colleyville synagogue hostage crisis – the antisemitic and Islamic terrorist attack which took place in January 2022 which made national headlines – she Tweeted a message of support to her thousands of followers, saying: ‘Praying that the rabbi and his congregants are freed today without more violence.’

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Muna

As mentioned, Josette, Katie, and Naomi formed Muna in 2013 while studying at USC. Katie, who plays synth bass and contributes vocals, is the headliner of the group, whereas Josette and Naomi both play the guitar. Both were accustomed to playing progressive rock and ska, but decided to go for a pop sound after their first collaboration with Katie.

In summer 2014, Muna released its debut EP, “More Perfect”, on SoundCloud and other small platforms. They subsequently signed to Columbia Records in the UK and RCA Records in the US. As it happens, Katie and Naomi had been in a romantic relationship for three years but broke up after signing.

May 2016 was a momentous time for the band, as they released “Loudspeaker” via RCA. Their full-length debut album, “About U”, came nine months later. Around the same time, the band went on its first national tour, performed at Lollapalooza festival, and made its TV debut with an appearance in “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”.

Three months after the release of “About U”, Muna announced that they would be opening for Harry Styles on his European and North American tour dates. In 2017 and 2018, their music also featured in feature films and Netflix shows such as “Alex Strangelove” and “The Carmilla Movie”.

2018 saw Muna work on their sophomore full-length album “Saves the World”, which was announced in June of the following year. With hit singles such as “Stayaway”, “Number One Fan”, and “Taken”, the album helped Muna solidify its position in the indie pop scene. Apart from performing in the US, Muna also sold out plenty of shows in London and the rest of the UK.

RCA dropped Muna in early 2020, as the band had reportedly failed to meet its sales goals, and wasn’t deemed profitable enough to remain on the label. A year later, Josette and her bandmates announced that they’d signed to Saddest Factory, Phoebe Bridgers’ record label. Their popular single “Silk Chiffon” was released in September 2021, and described as a queer love anthem.

Although Saddest Factory’s marketing budget was smaller than RCA’s, Muna thrived under Phoebe’s label as they performed alongside Kacey Musgraves for her early 2022 tour. A couple of months later, the band released the promo single “Anything But Me”, and announced the imminent release of their third studio album.

In the run-up to the eponymous project, Josette, Katie, and Naomi performed “Anything But Me” on daytime TV, and also released “Kind of Girl”, praised by music critics and received the most positive reviews compared to the band’s other two studio albums, also charting on the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

From March to July 2023, Muna served as an opening act for a handful of Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour dates. Alongside Kim Petras and Ava Max, they performed in front of 15,000 spectators at the closing ceremony of World Pride Sydney, one of the world’s most popular and elaborate LGBT celebrations. The group’s newfound public attention also earned them their first Coachella set and more critical acclaim.

As fans of Muna know, Josette and her bandmates all identify as queer, with Naomi also describing herself as non-binary. Although at first the musicians were reluctant to be described as a queer band, they have since embraced their influence, and ability to inspire younger people to feel comfortable in their sexual identities.

Most recently, Muna also performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in 2023, where they regaled spectators with live renditions of “Silk Chiffon”, “Stayaway”, and “Loose Garment”. ‘This was such a special moment for us, and I’m just so happy we got to do it with our best friends. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible,’ Josette wrote afterwards.

Outside of music, the bandmates also host the “Gayotic” podcast, and frequently invite famous queer media personalities such as Clea Duvall, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus for insightful interviews. The podcast launched in 2021, and discusses a range of topics, both light-hearted and heavy-hitting.

Regarding the band’s net worth, there are no concrete figures. Some sources claim that Muna has made $400 million throughout its career, whereas others state that they brought in just $5,000 in the last year. However, we think it would be safe to estimate that Josette, Naomi and Katie are worth well into six figures each.

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