February sees the Spotlight placed on...
For Februarys' Spotlight feature I spoke to the enigma that is Madison, a terrific pop artist who wears her heart and opinions firmly on her sleeve, I wasn't just captivated by her music but also how she's never afraid to stand up for what is right! I wanted to find out more about her inspirations, her worldview among much more and you can read our thought-provoking conversation below;
Firstly, How did you get into music, was there any particular inspirations?
Madison: "I sort of fell into it by getting myself to New York City. I was working in a neuroscience laboratory at Columbia University but hanging around with a group of artists. It was an organic thing that happened one night in friend’s studio. I jumped at the chance to explore something creative and have not looked back! The universe had other plans for me!"
Is there a strong local music scene in New York and how difficult is it for a musician to really break out and receive radio airplay?
Madison: "Very strong, there are some amazing venues: I love Bowery Ballroom and Brooklyn Steel. As well as a new one called Elsewhere. There are also a lot of very cool art galleries that do live shows. However, it is hard to record here. It is an expensive city. I mostly record in LA. Radio play is whole other ballgame that I don’t think indie musicians focus too much on. Right now the focus is on touring, streaming and syncs."
Your music has a very distinct electro-pop feel, how did you discover that was the sort of music you wanted to make?
It was a long winding road to discovery. I started out gigging all over the city in a more punk rock fashion with a full band and no tracks. I'd wear crazy costumes and only perform barefoot. But after a few years of gigging and maintaining a full band, I found myself playing with just tracks. It was a journey partly because it's expensive to keep up a band and partly because I found myself exploring hip-hop and then pop and just diving into different sounds and it has merged into an electro-pop rock-ish project but it's still very DIY.
What’s the reason behind being an independent artist and running your own label?
The true reason is that I could not get a record deal. My music was ‘too pop to be indie’, it was ‘too indie to be pop’. It was also ‘Where is the radio single?’ ‘You need to be sexier..’ yadda yadda yadda. Eventually I said, I’m just going to put this out myself, f’yall.
Latest single ‘Hustle’ is great, particularly the fact it has what most modern pop songs are missing and that’s a message, how’s the reception to the song been?
It has some really nice streams on Spotify which is so great. Some good press. I love that it is a song that I feel is very cool, that I had so much fun making. it's saying something very meaningful to me personally And I KNOW in my heart that People can relate to it. It is something we as women all deal with at one point in our lives or another…this idea that you’re not good enough. Again, f’yall.
You’re very outspoken about your views without being aggressive, which is fantastic but have you had to deal with any negative backlash and if so how have you managed it?
I have not felt any real backlash besides some crazies on twitter but stuff like that comes with the territory. It also comes with being an artist ---you have to have a bit of a thick skin. A lesson I had to learn over time. Not everyone is going to love what you do or say, that is the reality. Just be authentic and put one foot in front of the other.
In the UK, the big topic in the music industry these past few years, especially recently has been the lack of female presence at festivals, there’s clearly a large selection of talented women that could be booked, do you think the festivals need to do more?
As much as I despise what Donald Drumpf has done to America he also opened up this gateway of talking about inequality more aggressively and more openly. Let us go there. Women are underrepresented EVERYWHERE. It is not due to lack of talent or drive like Recording Academy President Neil Portnow vaguely suggested .. (please read this reply, I loved it) It is due to a male thumb. We are getting stronger & bolder and we have had enough. YES, bookers need to do more; men who support women need to do more. Let’s get more female bookers, let get more women in places of leadership.
You’ve been incredibly supportive on twitter of the powerful female performers at the Grammy’s, following the ceremony I was appalled to hear like you said Neil Portnow outlandish statements about women needing to ‘step up’ to get recognized for awards, do you agree it’s time for a change perhaps in how the ceremony is run?
I loved seeing all those women supporting Kesha and Janelle’s speech was so powerful. We need more brave women stepping into the light and saying we are not going to take this anymore. For those who don’t yet feel brave enough, we need to let those women know that we are here for them, we support, we believe, we empower. I love the metoo movement. It is about damn time!!!!
the Artwork for your releases are creative, colorful and eye-catching. How did they come about, are they self-made or a collaboration with a particular artist?
Always a collaboration. I love the bright colors, it represents the music. I love working with female photographers and various artists to bring the artwork to life. It’s a very fun process for me and I’m always so curious to hear people’s ideas. I always learn something new and see things in a different way.
What fills your spare time? From the looks of your socials, a lot of campaigning?
Yes a lot of campaigning and supporting my local causes in animal rescue. I recently married and instead of wedding gifts we opted for a dog rescue mission. We asked our guests to donate to a rescue organization and we then worked closely with them to pull dogs out of kill shelters. We were able to rescue and rehome 28 dogs into loving families!! I’m working to save a local garden from being destroyed for housing. I’m registering people vote in the 2018 midterms. I’m making new music.
Finally, What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?
More music!!!!! And positive vibes!! TAKING BACK THE HOUSE IN THE USA. THAT is a major goal.
Madisons latest single is the politically charged feminist anthem 'Hustle', unlike previous singles, 'Hustle' has a much heavier feeling to the beats and of course to the lyrics. You can listen to it below;