An Interview with Madeleine Mcpherson

  • 7 min read

R&B/pop singer-songwriter Madeleine Mcpherson has shared her empowering single ‘Treat Me Right (The Bubble Song)’ out everywhere now. A naturally gifted songwriter and storyteller, Madeleine thrives off the emotions and concepts she’s able to portrait through her lyrics. ‘Treat Me Right’ chronicles the graduation from emotional upset to personal growth when faced with a less than predictable partner. The lyrics detail the watershed moment when you decide to walk away from a person and/or situation when it becomes clear it is no longer serving you.

To help celebrate the release, Madeleine took the time to speak with us, sharing her inspirations, songwriting process, and advice.

Hey there Madeleine, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from, and what made you want to start a career in music?

"I was originally born in London, but my whole family decided to move to the Kent countryside for a quieter upbringing when I was 3. My dad was a musician and a drummer, so we always had Billy Joel or Phil Collins Playing in the car or the house, and I grew up going to his performances. From a very young age, I was absorbing that and it's all I knew. It started the obsession for me, and that's when I started singing. I then taught myself piano a few years later and started to write little songs in my notebook. They were all about boys, or love or sometimes just melodies."

"In my little village, everyone was friends, and it was so safe and quiet, I went to an amazing primary school, so I had a great childhood. That also meant that I was left entertaining myself and having lots of space to dream and imagine. That’s when I was able to look at my idols on the TV singing their songs and listen to CDs of Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and all the pop icons at the time. I also was absorbing a lot of soul music, like Aretha and Etta, a lot of the singer-songwriter type music. It's what’s influenced the kind of music I make and what kind of artist I am."

And what other artists have you found yourself listening to lately?

"Adele and Miley always. Taylor Swift, Mimi Webb, Ed Sheeran, Dave. I've been going back to a lot of my childhood favourites as well like Aretha and Etta, coz I always want to take in that timeless essence and never forget that. I took in a lot of Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa as well, they were a big part of my teens."

Who were your first and strongest musical influences?

"My dad was the first, to introduce me to music and that world. After that, it was all the musicians I was listening to. A lot of Pop like Brittany, Christina, Taylor and Ellie Goulding, I loved her. Michael Jackson was a big part of my music journey as well. The way he could impact your emotional state was interesting to me, and I knew I wanted to do that one day with my music. Another is Ariana Grande. She blew my mind when she came out with ‘Yours Truly’. I had the CD in the car every day, and I was amazed by every song and the feeling attached. The songs were so colourful, and I think I must have absorbed a lot of that."

You have just released your new single, ‘Treat Me Right’. Is there a story behind it?

"Yes, there is. So, I released a single called ‘Changes’ in April this year that was about a big breakup I went through, kind of the first real one. I showed the song on TikTok, and it blew up. It allowed me to find my fanbase and they came on a journey with me for the song. I was moving on from that breakup and that person and I was feeling happy about it and angsty. That boy started to do all the right things and TREAT ME RIGHT only when I left him. This inspired me to write the next part of the story and share it with my TikTok again and see if it does well. It did. So, I released it for myself, and for anyone that was moving on and relating to it. I like to have songs mark eras in my life. Those two songs represent that time."

Can we expect a new EP or even an album from you soon?

"Yes, you can. An EP is going to be my next project. I’m currently in the stages of writing the songs for that EP and working with different Producers and I'm really excited about it. Some of the songs I wrote a few weeks ago and some a year ago but they all mark moments in my life that I'm excited to share with people."

What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?

"I think there's an honesty. An empowerment, a passion, and a vulnerability. I am big on a captivating melody and lyrics that are sophisticated. I want to be a pop star, there’s no doubt about it, but I want substance in there as well and I think the two can coexist."

Do you feel your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you into it, or are you expecting something more?

"I think there's a lot of hard work that goes into it, and it's a journey. People don’t get that. They think it happens overnight. it’s all worth it when you know there's nothing else you want to do. The sweat and tears are difficult, and there are a lot of setbacks but the drive I have is so strong and those setbacks just push me further. When you really want to have a career as a musician or artist, you will keep going and never give up because it’s the only way you'll get there."

Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song?

"Most of the songs I've written so far have started from an experience or feeling in my life. Sometimes it’s a conversation with a friend or stranger that makes me think oohh that would be a good title or a melody sometimes pops into my head that is like a pre-chorus or chorus and then the song builds around that. There's no set way at the moment, but when I first started song writing seriously, 2 years ago I used to play around on my piano and find a feeling in the chords and then write to that. It always changes."

What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?

"The most difficult in my life was my teens. I faced a lot of struggles from the age of 14 to 19 and I was unconfident, couldn’t look in the mirror to the point that I had aged a year and grown up and not realised it. I struggled to be happy during that time, and I had no drive whatsoever. I think it all changed for me when I was 19 and all the struggles, I was facing at the time just started to go away. That was down to a lot of time and a lot of growth that allowed that to happen. I felt like my life was put on pause for those 6 years and suddenly it had started pressing play again. That’s when I grew into the version of Madeleine that I am now. My work ethic went through the roof and that all stemmed from me being at peace with who I was. That all stemmed from knowing that it was now the time to pursue my dream in music."

"I have been on my journey since…. writing songs, performing, sending Demos, doing TikTok, working hard.  The most difficult thing in my music journey would have to be loneliness. It can be very isolating when you're following a dream, and finding your feet as a 21 year old girl in the world. You don’t always get where you want to be as quickly as you'd like to, and the setbacks are often. It's hard to keep going sometimes, and you can get so tired from all the work you have to put in, and that is a lonely place. You make sacrifices and miss out on things and that can be lonely. But there's never been a moment when I would change that. It's at the cost of the dream and I'm willing to pay it."

On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?

"I think just showing my songs online and getting responses from people who are so kind and loving. They love the song, or they love my voice, or they relate to it. Maybe they follow me on TikTok and then Instagram and you get all the messages of the people listening to the songs, reminding you to keep going and showing their support."

"At this stage, I'm so proud of the work I've put in. As I said, I had no drive in my teens. I nearly gave up on myself completely. To see how many songs I've written, how many gigs I've done and how many videos I post online a day or whatever it is. To know that I work hard, makes me feel accomplished. Another highlight is selling merch for the first time for one of my singles. That must be mentioned. It was so special, and it was the first time that’s ever happened in my journey. I'm not even managed or signed yet haha."

Madeleine was born in London but grew up in Kent, retaining the urban edge that informs her sound, blending elements of timeless soul and contemporary R&B into her own unique pop style. With her dad being a musician, she grew up in the countryside surrounded by music, which fuelled her deep love for music and songwriting. 

Already championed by BBC Introducing and having already sparked an organic buzz on social media with the release of her debut single ‘Changes’, Madeleine is at the start of an exciting journey. ‘Changes’ got over 60k views across her channels, was included in over 200 playlists created by her fans and streamed 400 times on the same day. Moving on to her next single 'Treat Me Right', she has once again touched the hearts of her audience, with the song receiving over 30,000 views. Her fans continue to support her on her journey, buying her merchandise and requesting live shows.

‘Treat Me Right’ is the first of a string of upcoming releases for the multi-faceted artist. Catch her live on one of her forthcoming live dates. 

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