Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2023: Mau P

Turn the clock back to this time last year.

Mau P was yet to be a name that dance music’s house majority was familiar with. But as of December 2023, it even rings a bell for the average dance music fan.

Still, something most may not know is that only the name is new. Maurice West—the musical alias under which Maurits Westveen worked for nearly a decade—outright dominated bigroom throughout the latter half of the 2010’s. By the late 2010’s and early 2020’s, Westveen had already begun experimenting outside of the genre that was then far removed from its heyday, although it had stopped moving the needle for him career-wise. The pandemic provided him the ideal opportunity to take a step back, ask an important question, and answer it honestly: had the Maurice West project reached its ceiling?

Featured image: Tommy Reerink

The solution? Start from scratch. Doing so freed him of the creative restriction he felt and the delicate balancing act of producing and DJing the music he wanted while tapping further into his underground side and managing expectations from his then current audience. Many artists wouldn’t have chosen this path because, on paper, it’s a high-risk, high-reward scenario. But Mau P, who already had a decade of experience navigating the dance landscape under his belt, was more than comfortable betting on himself. A year and a half later, risk has given way to reward through a series of irrefutable achievements that culminate in Mau P’s distinction as Dancing Astronaut’s 2023 Breakout Artist of the Year. With it, he follows  in the footsteps of artists like ISOxo and Knock2 (2022), John Summit (2021), Moore Kismet (2020), and Dom Dolla (2019), who have earned the title in recent years. 

When 2023 began, Mau P had but one release to his new project. But because we’d been following the Maurice West project since its earliest days, we’ll take a moment to pat ourselves on the back. Naming that sole single, “Drugs From Amsterdam,” as one of our Top Tracks of 2022 in tandem with a then-unreleased ID—which made its way into Dancing Astronaut’s most-anticipated IDs of 2023 list—were all we needed to see to earn a nod into Dancing Astronaut’s Artists to Watch in 2023.

The “Drugs From Amsterdam” explosion happened because of the veteran talent that was behind it, with him explaining that he blindly sent it out to DJs like John Summit and Tchami with the understanding that they wouldn’t have recognized the Mau P name and that there were minimal chances of it actually making it onto their USBs.

Just a few weeks removed from appearances at both Proper NYE/NYD and Countdown NYE—his first pair of U.S. shows as Mau P—Mau P cashed in on “Gimme That Bounce” to get his Breakout Artist of the Year campaign rolling. And after setting out a debut North American headline tour immediately after  the release of “Gimme That Bounce,” Mau P’s stock snowballed. 

Between racking up festival slots at the likes of EDC Las Vegas and Tomorrowland to remixing legends like Calvin Harris, Armand Van Helden, and Swedish House Mafia, to releasing on Experts Only, Black Book Records, and Dancing Astronaut’s reigning Label of the Year Afterlife—specifically “Metro,” which was named the most-played track at Tomorrowland this year—to having his music played out by just about every DJ imaginable, Mau P was categorically inescapable in 2023. The full-circle moments came in spades, and if all of that wasn’t impressive enough, Mau P turned EDC Orlando’s stereoBLOOM (a side stage) into an alternate main stage, pulling in an estimated 15,000 people for his set alone. 

And yes, while he’d already had the footing in the industry to give his rebrand a propulsive initial push, he built up an entirely new fan base—as evidenced by his self-started Discord server, which includes more than 1,200 members at the time of writing—that wasn’t entirely aware of what he’d been doing previously. While his music retains hints of bigroom influence, he’s cultivated a novel identity that’s allowed him to connect with the dance community in a way and at a scale that is distinctly different from the Maurice West days. 

His time as Maurice West couldn’t be considered a failure by any stretch of the imagination; it was foundational to his first year as Mau P, which saw him reach milestone after milestone–achievements that he could have only dreamed of if not for his decision to take a chance on himself. Fittingly, Mau P is already preparing for a 2024 run that will only further his ascension from Dancing Astronaut Artist to Watch in 2023 to Dancing Astronaut’s 2023 Breakout Artist of the Year, teasing what reigns as his single most-awaited ID, “Beats For The Underground,” while planning a February date at New York City’s Knockdown Center, a March date at The Caverns, and plenty more still to come.

Without further ado, we want to formally congratulate Mau P on a prolific rise this past year that dance music hasn’t seen too often in recent memory as well as his well-earned title of our 2023 Breakout Artist of the Year.

Featured image: Tommy Reerink