There’s an artist on the ascent in Houston by the name of Madeline Edwards. Anticipation for the release of her upcoming album “MADE” is ever growing, but still we must wait. And tonight’s live show at Axelrad is only a brief reprieve from the agony of waiting.
Growing up in California and moving to Houston when she was 14, Madeline Edwards has blended those coastal influences together masterfully while stirring in her own style of songwriting. And that’s just the music. A visual artist as well, Madeline directed and produced the music videos accompanying her two releases this summer.
Graciously, Madeline Edwards answered some of Byline Houston’s most pressing questions ahead of tonight’s performance.
Byline Houston: The show this Saturday at Axelrad is your first full band live show in a while. What’s going to be different between this performance and the last one?
Madeline Edwards: This one will be different because I’m going to be performing for the first time songs that I haven’t even released yet. I’m excited and anxious to see how the crowd receives them. Also, I’ve never played at Axelrad before and I’ve wanted to for what seems like an eternity. I’m so glad that once I decided to start playing shows again, the stars aligned and they asked me to come perform.
Byline Houston: Do you get nervous before live performances?
Madeline Edwards: I sometimes get nervous before performances, but never bad nerves. It’s more of an adrenaline rush and it’s so exciting. Every show is a new opportunity; new venues, new faces, new tunes, etc. It’s also nerve-racking to think of the possibility of anything going wrong. However, with that being said, as a performer, you ALWAYS have to plan for the worst. If something goes wrong, how do I respond? If I fall on stage, how do I get up? If I flub on my words, how do I recover from it? It’s exciting and all a part of being an artist. The quicker and more graceful I learn how to bounce back from failures, the better of a performer I become.
Byline Houston: You released “Tryna Make Sense” back in early May and “Mirror” even more recently. On top of that, you released music videos for both tracks as well. You directed one video and produced the other. How was the experience directing? Producing? Were they starkly different experiences?
Madeline Edwards: I actually had a hand in directing and producing both. The production process is my favorite part, because that’s where the brainstorming comes into play. This is where we really bring the concepts to life with the colors, the costuming, the characters, the scenery, literally everything. Because this last video “Mirror” demanded a lot more of me delivering an emotional performance, I left the directing mostly to my team, Bethany Brewster and Tyler Burditt. I trust them fully with making those concepts a reality. This next video that we’re doing in September, I’ll probably take a little bit more of a directing role, since I will only be making brief appearances throughout the video. Hint hint, without giving too much away.
Byline Houston: Director, Songwriter, Producer, Performing Artist… what am I forgetting? Is there anything else you would like to do artistically?
Madeline Edwards: I want to take up dancing SO FREAKING BAD. You think that as a musician who has rhythm, I’d probably be somewhat decent at dancing right? Wrong. I’ve taken dance classes in spurts almost my entire life and have not yet even slightly gotten decent at it. And being the Type-A, controlling perfectionist that I am, I will not rest until I have mastered this. Possibly foreshadowing a future music video? Who knows, I guess we’ll have to see.
Byline Houston: In a world where it seems the chief subject matter of music is “love” in some form or fashion, you steer clear of it in your songwriting. Is that a conscious decision to purposefully avoid it? If so, why? If not, then how does it happen?
Madeline Edwards: I try to steer clear of love topics… but mostly for me. I’m usually pretty nervous about opening up and being vulnerable in general, so when it comes to the subject matter of “Hey, I think I’ve fallen in love with this person and here’s a song I wrote about him to just further prove that I’m hopelessly in love with him…” it’s OF COURSE going to be a little harder than my normal doses of vulnerability. Love is a complicated topic, to say the least. At least for me it is; I don’t know what it’s like for other people. Releasing “Tryna Make Sense” was without a doubt one of the scariest songs I’ve ever put out. Not writing love songs is definitely a subconscious effort on my part to avoid expressing feelings that I’m pretty sure are already out on my sleeve for everyone to see.
Byline Houston: In terms exclusive to songwriting, who are some of your strongest influences?
Madeline Edwards: To songwriting specifically, I love listening and learning from John Mayer, Leon Bridges, Solange, Amy Winehouse and Dan Auerbach.
Byline Houston: You’ve opened for and worked on a couple of projects with Tobe Nwigwe throughout this year. Has that impacted you musically?
Madeline Edwards: It has. I feel like one of the greatest things that has happened to my career has been being able to shadow Tobe through the recording, producing and directing process. I’ve been able to really grasp onto what works and what doesn’t and implement that into my own creative process. Also, I think before I started working with Tobe, I was extremely turned off to the rap and hip hop industry, simply because of the way it portrays women. Tobe defies all of that. His feminist, women-empowering take on “Women produce” has completely reversed my revulsion to hip hop, and now I’ve even been implementing a bit of hip hop into my own music. Be expecting a rap feature on an upcoming song, God-willing. Not from me of course, but maybe one day.
Byline Houston: If you could collaborate with any Houston musician, who would it be and why?
Madeline Edwards: KHRUANGBIN. The fact that I even love them enough to spell their name correctly on the first try without even thinking about it should tell you something. Next topic.
Byline Houston: If you had to slay a dragon with a single musical instrument, what would you use?
Madeline Edwards: A Violin Bow, without a doubt.
You can catch Madeline Edwards playing live tonight at Axelrad from 8 to 11PM.