By: Shayla Lee
Madison is one of those special musicians who not only has catchy music, but she has music with a message. Her song ‘Hustle’ was inspired by Hillary Clinton and is the empowering anthem that all women need to hear right now in America’s current political climate. She is here to remind us that “girl is just a word” and we can do whatever we set our minds to. Her music is very 80’s disco party and I love working out to her songs. Half of my workout playlist contains Madison’s music because her songs make me feel like a boss ass bitch and they keep my energy up throughout my workout.
I had the chance to interview the self-described “WOKE AF” musician and we chatted about her journey as a musician, her powerful music, and the various organizations she supports (there are so many!)
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
Madison: I sort of fell into music 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!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
It’s DIY electronic pop.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
It was a long winding road to discovery. I started out gigging all over the New York 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 alone with just tracks. It was a journey partly because its expensive to keep up a band and partly because I found myself exploring hip hop and then pop and just diving in to different sounds and it has merged into an electro pop rockish project but still very DIY.
Do you have a favorite lyric you have written?
On ‘Hustle’ I love the line “my feet to the fire, machine dance the wire.. the sweat is drip dripping my house, my empire” that kind of says it all as a woman.
We LOVE your song ‘Hustle.’ It’s definitely a girl power banger and knowing that it was inspired by Hillary Clinton makes it even better. Was there a specific moment that inspired you to create this song? Can you tell us more about it?
I love that it is a song that I feel is very cool, that I had so much fun making. It is saying something very meaningful to me personally. I KNOW in my heart 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. That you are against the clock, that we are always racing and juggling and hustling. Hillary worked so hard and really put it all on the line, and she may not be our first female president, but she certainly opened the floodgates. Clearly we needed that. Man is it a privilege to be a woman!
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing a challenge?
I have had my own me too moments.. I even had a very high up label executive lick my hand (yes you read correctly) I’ve had some experiences that shook me up.. and made me question myself and my talents but I have persevered and I called these people out. I even made a video of the hand licker for an older song of mine called ‘hot hot love.’ That was cathartic for me. On the other hand (no pun intended haha) I have found many totally decent men and women in the industry who have authentically and staunchly supported me, and for that I am grateful and I work to do the same in return for other artists.
I’ve had some experiences that shook me up.. and made me question myself and my talents but I have persevered and I called these people out.
Aside from being a musician, you are also a passionate activist fighting for equality of all people. Can you tell us more about the movements you are a part of?
Yes I am outspoken and I am WOKE AF!! A lot of campaigning for local politicians 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 re-home 28 dogs into loving families!!
I’m working to save a local garden from being destroyed for housing. I am a huge supporter of SeaLegacy trying to clean and save our oceans. I am always calling and writing my senators. I love the ‘me too’ and ‘times up’ movements. I was at the women’s march in Washington DC, and I have been at every major march since. Occasionally you can find me protesting outside Trump Tower. I recently went to see the Resistance Revival Choir and they blew me away! The ones that backed Kesha at the Grammys. This is a must see!! I’m registering people to vote in the 2018 midterms AND I’m making new music!!!!!
In the age of social media, it can be hard to not get caught up in how many followers you have and it can be easy to compare yourself to others. In this interview when you were talking about ‘Hustle,’ you explained that you’re not trying to be better than anyone and that you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. How do you manage to stay authentic and focus on yourself?
I practice a lot of self care and I take social media breaks. I walk my dog without my phone, I do yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture. I take bubble baths! I go full days or more without looking at twitter or iG. I try to remind myself that life is very short and we never know whats going to happen, each day is a blessing… so WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT?? Family, friends, animals, and doing the real valuable work we need to do.
What can we expect from you this year? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver sometime soon!
Vancouver is a very very beautiful place!!! I hope so too. MORE MUSIC!! AND MORE RESISTANCE!!!
Who are some powerful females that should be on our radars? Writers, musicians, artists, etc!
Please check out the Resistance Revival Chorus this group of powerful women is an incredible collective of artists raising awareness on important issues and supporting each other!!
It’s always an honor to interview incredible female musicians and I want to thank Madison for doing this with us! If you want to feel inspired, I highly recommend following Madison on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Seeing her compassion for others makes me want to do more to help people. Check out her music below and be sure to add it to your gym playlist! ❤️