INTERVIEW: Madeleine –
Hi Madeleine, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’veve been really great actually! I’ve waited so long to start putting out music again and it feels incredible to have the ball rolling on it finally. It’s overwhelming honestly, but incredible nonetheless.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Bad For You”?
I wrote “Bad For You” with Jeff Anderson and Karleen Watt in early 2020. It’s actually one of the few songs on the album that was written pre-shutdown. Jeff and Karleen are two of my favorite people to write with. I always feel like they understand exactly what I’m trying to say and they help me do so in a unique way. I love writing contradictory songs and “Bad For You” is a perfect example of that. It sounds a bit happy and is fun to sing, but it’s really about being with a shitty person.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I remember I was driving home from work listening to “Nonbeliever” by Lucy Dacus for the first time. Sometimes I do this thing where my brain tries to guess the word or words that come next when I’m listening to a song. There’s a lyric in her song that goes, “You say nobody loves a city.” While I was listening, I assumed that the next word was sinner instead of city. And when she sang “city” I just shut the song off, because for whatever reason the line, “you say nobody loves a sinner” really stuck with me. And the rest of the drive home I wrote the first verse to “Bad For You” and brought it into my write with Jeff and Karleen. I guess you could say that “Bad For You” is in a way about this guy I dated back in college who was very obviously not good for me, but I just kept ignoring all the signs that said so and dated him regardless.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
No plans for a video for this particular track! But there are two coming out for other songs on the record.
The single comes off your new album Stoned and Bored – what’s the story behind the title?
The title comes from my quarantine life. Obviously, the record isn’t really intended for anyone below 18 (haha) just based on the title. Shortly after things went south here and everything shut down, I found myself without a job, waiting for unemployment to kick in. The whole year of 2020 was seriously just a really low point for me mentally. What was supposed to be two weeks of shutdown turned into much more. I was just stuck wondering what I was supposed to do with my life. Music was everything to me and playing shows and touring came to a complete halt in 2020 and I reached a point where I felt like maybe it was a sign to not do music anymore. I was confused about the direction I was going, but I couldn’t stop writing, so I just started writing about what I was experiencing and feeling at the time. The opening line on the title track is “Early in the morning is when I get up and do my chores.” I was literally just cleaning my house like crazy and getting high and trying to be kind to myself and do things that made me happy while the world was in turmoil.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording is probably my favorite part of the whole thing. I remember when we started on my first record, Postcards, I really didn’t know a whole lot about the process. I’ve always worked with my dad in the studio. He’s an amazing producer and engineer and I owe literally everything I know about the process to him. It’s great to bring a song to life and record it. I can be very particular, but I think that’s important. I want everything to be intentional, not just random instruments and vocals and words. My dad has taught me all of that. It’s a wonderful relationship. I know not many people get to be that close to their parents; he helps me be independent in my own way when we’re recording and I’m so thankful for that. Writing-wise, I’ve developed a pretty tight-knit group of writers in Nashville that I go to when I have ideas I want to work on. I’ve worked with the same handful of people for several years and now there’s a certain understanding in the room when we’re creating a song. They know my style so I don’t have to explain myself when we sit down to work on a new song; they just get it. Mostly I come up with some sort of phrase or verse first and come into a room, but that’s what I love about co-writing. I’ll walk in thinking I know exactly what I want to work on, and someone else throws out an idea, and it’s like, “Woah that’s way better. Let’s work on that instead.”
What role does Nashville play in your music?
Well, I’ve lived here for almost 10 years now. It’s where I went to college, where my parents live now, and it’s where I’ve learned how to write music and be an artist. I don’t know that I’ll live here forever, but I definitely owe a lot of what I know about music and the industry to this town.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Mostly life experiences. Past relationships, current relationships, friendships, etc. I’ve always struggled with depression and anxiety so I really draw a lot from that. I have a hard time writing love songs, but writing about how I’m feeling in my head is extremely therapeutic. It’s a way to get it out without judgment, and I’ve found over the years that a lot of people really connect with the songs that I’ve written that are about mental health in particular (for example: “Carpet”, “Basement”, Yellow Paint”). It’s a mixture, but my mental space is what comes easy to write about and what feels most natural and authentic for me to perform.
What else is happening next in Madeleine’s world?
I’m going on tour this summer for the first time since the fall of 2019 which is insane. I’m a ball of excitement and anxiety just thinking about it. Now that I’m finally back to releasing, I’ve found it easier to continue to want to create. So definitely more music and shows coming after the album comes out.