Hello, it’s great to have the opportunity to chat with you. Who is Madam Who??

A: Hi there. It is great to chat with you as well. Madam Who? is an eclectic indie pop artist who has been through the wringer and came out writing anthems for underdogs. I’m passionate about mental health and learning to love yourself. I’m also a lot of fun. Ha! I love to throw parties and entertain. My shows sometimes end up feeling like parties…lol.

I’m interested in how you began your musical journey. Did you always know that this was your desired path?

Originally my musical journey began when I saw The Complete Beatles documentary on PBS. I hadn’t known much about them before, but afterwards I not only was in love with the Beatles, I wanted to BE a Beatle. That was just the match that lit the fire. I could already play the piano and sing. In fact, when my 4th grade ATP teacher (academically talented program) asked everybody what they wanted to be with answers like “doctor” and “lawyer”, I was a little out of place when I said “singer” (she said she would get back to me). But I loved Josie and the Pussycats and Scooby-Doo with their musical breaks.. Davy Jones was my imaginary friend when I was five because I watched the Monkees in reruns. I guess I really I didn’t have much of a choice… lol.

After the fire started, I bought a guitar, learned to play, and began writing songs with the Beatles as my #1 influence.. Unfortunately my super conservative Baptist father wasn’t on board with my dreams of rock stardom. He begrudgingly bought me an electric guitar for Xmas after I assured him it wouldn’t lead me to drugs. After that he said, “You can play out in bars when Hell freezes over.” I knew it was going to get really cold when I graduated HS, due to the freezing of Hell and all. Meanwhile I played the organ in church with sanctimonious versions of The Cure and Jane’s Addiction while the congregation filed in. I also accompanied my high school chorus on piano, and continued to write songs while roping my classmates with musical ability into playing and singing backup on my original recordings. I even tried pitching to record companies.

My parents insisted I go to college and actually agreed to send me to the Baptist affiliated Belmont University in Nashville where I studied music business and started a band. My first band got on the reboot of Star Search before being on televised talent competitions was a short-cut to stardom. With my next band, Audra & the Antidote, I utilized the power of the internet, and topped the world-wide mp3 charts with our song, “Jenny’s Got A Boyfriend.” That song also got us selected for a spot on USA Network and got us nominated for an AMA New Music awards, and well as several local awards. Unfortunately the events of 9/11 derailed our train that seemed headed straight to the top and the band broke up. Devastated, I stopped pushing and moved away to do life.

Four years ago after brain cancer and an abrupt split from a long-term relationship with two kids and one web design and hosting business, I had to start all over. I had been so emotionally abused I didn’t even know who I was anymore, but sure I was worthless and unloveable. I moved to a neighboring town, rented a tiny apartment and started an upholstery business out of pure necessity and desperation. I brought along my guitars even though I wasn’t even sure I still knew how to play. I was at the lowest point of my life.

Nine months later on July 27, 2019, my life changed again. I had to be dragged from the ocean by a kind stranger after getting caught in a rip tide while attempting to save my young daughter who was also rescued by strangers. That night a song came to me. I told it I wasn’t interested because I didn’t write songs anymore. I hadn’t written one in ages. However, it was persistent and wouldn’t leave me alone. I finally relented and busted out my old Martin acoustic that my grandfather had given me. To my surprise, I had a complete song in less than two hours. I was amazed! Historically it had taken me months – even years – to complete songs. It also felt good. Really good. Better than talking to the many therapists I had tried. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to write just one more. I let out my angst with the song that later became “Whatever” and will be released in November. BTW – it can be presaved here: https://lnk.to/mhwhatever Since then, songs have been flowing out of me and I have never been happier.

Congratulations on the release of ‘Reclaim Your Power’. Could you please provide us with some insight into it?

A: When I played “Lifeline” (the drowning song) for my daughter, I asked her if she liked it. She half-heartedly said “Yeah”, but you can’t expect more from a 10-year-old. Then she said, “But WHY do you want to remember that???” I thought, “Yeah. Why DO I want to remember it? Every time I play and sing that song I will have to re-live it.” That’s when I got the idea to start writing songs that might help my out if the deep dark pit I was in. I came up with the chorus to Reclaim Your Power: I am powerful, I am beautiful, I’m incredible, and I am worth it all. I hoped that as I wrote that song and sang those lyrics that I already had over and over, I would began to believe it. To my amazement, it started to really work! I knew in that moment that I was on to something and perhaps this song could help other people like it did me. I also knew I needed to share it. Hence, Madam Who? was born. Also, this release is London’s Animal Farm’s remix. I originally mixed it for my debut EP entitled Reclaim Your Power that I released in 2022.

How do you ensure your continuous growth and development as an artist?

A: Great question. I’m continuously open to new things and new ideas. That wasn’t necessary so the first time around. I lived in Nashville – the songwriting capital of the world there the pick-up line is, “Hey do you to get together and write sometime?” – but I could never accept anyone else’s feedback because I was so sure my way was the right way. Now I know there are lots of right ways to do things. Songs can be written and rewritten. I’ve taken a couple old songs of mine that I wasn’t originally happy with, rewrote them, and now I love. Same with production, but even more so, and especially when you are a solo artist. When you are writing for a band you are more-or-less confined to the instruments the members play. Not so with when you are solo. The sky is your limit. And now with midi, as long as you can play keys, you can get pretty much any instrument you want. Since I am a solo artist who produces herself I have to artificially restrict my sounds for a group of songs or they can’t be marketed effectively unfortuntately. My debut EP, was well received by listeners, but didn’t get much traction because it was too eclectic.

What can we anticipate from your upcoming releases in terms of style and sound? How will they differ from your previous works?

A: This time around with The Animal Farm we did songs that kind of matched in micro genre which I have a really hard time with defining. I want to do it all. I’ve always loved spoken word songs, so I have been leaning more into that lately. You know, a white girl kind of rap, but not exactly rap, ‘cause I’m not cool enough for that. Think Oliva Rodrigo’s Bad Idea, Right? Kind of like cheerleader chants. When I can’t find a good melody for a lyric I try chanting it. Sometimes it works great. I’ve always loved the not-so-polished and quirkiness of indie. It sounds more authentic to me. But the next single as I said, is a indie rock song called “Whatever.” Next will be an indie pop/rock tune that’s pretty quirky. It is called “Peter Meter” and inspired by something my grandmother said to me when I was 19. I imagine this would have been her advice on how to keep a man. I’m not sure if the last song on the EP will release as a single, but it will be released with the whole EP in February. It’s and indie pop song called LLAP. It is Mr. Spock’s advice on how to Live Long and Prosper: Work together to save the earth since we’re all the human race. It is a really fun one.

Where are you located? Can you share with us how the local music scene has influenced your sound in any way?

A: I am on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I live near Ocean City, MD, which is a resort beach town. There is no music scene here except for cover and tribute bands. However, I recently joined a songwriter’s circle that meets weekly in a neighboring beach town. One very determined singer/songwriter named Marissa Levy is hell bent on creating an original music scene there. She founded The Listening Booth in Lewes, DE which is where the circle meets and hosts open mics and original music. I opened for Jill Solbue there this summer. It was an awesome sold-out show. I credit Marissa and the circle for helping me finish Peter Meter. I had literally been trying to finish that song for 20 years. The first time there I played her what I had, she said the magic words, and I had a completed some the next week. The finished recording will be released in January!

If you had the opportunity to perform at any venue worldwide, which one would you choose and why?

A: Aside from Madison Square Garden, I would love to play at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. I would even throw some Beatles tunes in there. I visited it last year and thought it is small and dingy and has been completely rebuilt – c’mon. The Beatles refined their sound there. Enough said for this Beatlemaniac. Also, I would have said CBGB’s in NYC or The Viper Room in L.A. but they have both shut down!

Can we anticipate a forthcoming EP or album from you soon?

A: Absolutely! I have enough songs right now to fill a couple full length albums, so several EP’s, definitely. It seems that’s the way to go these days so fans don’t forget about you. Release music as often as you can.

Finally, do you have anything to share about upcoming gigs?

A: On Oct. 6, I played my official record release party which also corresponds with my birthday. I’m turning 27 again! I lost track of which anniversary of that it is. I’ll be open for myself doing a few acoustic numbers. Then I’m going to sing a few TV theme songs with a kazoo and have the audience guess to win a raffle ticket for a free shirt or pillowcase or my special Bracelet of Power. Then we’ll have cake and I’ll do the rest of the show to tracks that I played on and produced. These days it is just too hard to keep a band together but I still want that sound, so that’s what I’m doing. It is going to be a fun time!

Also, what plans do you have for 2024

I’m considering forming a charity called Madam’s Hope Brigade. I would go to women’s shelters and mental hospitals and the like to bring hope and and moment of fun. It would run on funds from generous donors would would like to help the underdogs of society and also support independent artists. If you’re interested in being a part of something like that, contact me at me@madamwho.com. I will almost certainly release another EP.