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Do You Know? Madi Dean

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Once in a while, a writer and a photographer get the chance to go out on assignment and catch a singer/songwriter live at a music venue. This fares far differently than simply interviewing the artist at home or at a restaurant, because you actually get to see the artist perform on stage in their natural environment. Most of the time, what you see is pretty close to what you get. Another benefit—hearing the artist perform live gives the listener the chance (in most cases) to see and hear how they really are, that is without the aid of electronic gadgetry enhancement. That was the case this night. Madi Dean seems to be the real deal.

When Postcards sent me and photographer Kelly Lawson to Dosey Doe in Conroe, Texas to hear Madi, we found this to be a first class setting to hear and see a songwriter perform her songs. Dosey Doe is just big enough to invite some excitement and just small enough to provide intimate ambience for dinner and your choice of beverage. A professional sound technician makes sure the plates and glasses don’t shake-rattle-and-roll off the tables, either.   

Madi Dean is a senior at Montgomery High School, but already possesses a rare self-confidence for her age. She has the uncanny ability to sound much like an older, polished performer and is right at home on the stage. Her delivery was intact; she was pleasant to the audience, and both kind and respectful to the other songwriter she shared the stage with that evening.

It’s not often that one sees a high school student so clearly focused about their future. Madi is one of those young people who offers hope through a new and different generation, and she was very accommodating as she sat down with Postcards right before her show.

What is the earliest you remember wanting to be in the entertainment business?

I had been singing since I was about two years-old, so I loved it way back when. But, about three years ago, I was interested in becoming an actress. So, I went to some auditions and got into it (passed the auditions.) But one of the events, down in Florida, involved commercials, dialogue, and that sort of thing—unfortunately, I lost my voice before the big audition. But, this event also involved some singing. I did get some feedback from a talent scout, and they put me in touch with Jason Davis at 117 Media. He has set up all this writing and recording, and helped me with my first EP. He also set me up with writers like Dean Sams from Lone Star and Megan Conner, who has written a few singles for Chris Young and Rascal Flatts. So I’ve been in the learning process of writing for about two years now.

Your collaborators have a lot of clout, and obviously a lot of faith in you.

Yes, Megan Conner is a great resource we’ve acquired. She was the one who was so instrumental in setting me up with other writers, such as Shane Hines, as well.

So this is your first LP, and it was cut in Nashville?

I finished the first one entitled “My Kind of Love,” and I have a new one coming out in a few months. I just recently wrote the songs, and will perform a few of them here (tonight.) The title of the new CD is not yet decided.

Sounds like you’re a busy young lady. What is your schedule like at Montgomery High School?

I’m taking a few college classes, and I’m in choir, so it’s a little bit overwhelming at times with my music. I have three different things to balance, but I’m managing right now.

Describe your songwriting process. Do you write the words and the music?

Thankfully, the people I write with are amazing on guitar and piano, which helps me with the melody. Usually I work off a set of chords that work well together, and I work up the melody from that.

What do you strive for in your songs?

The main thing is, I want people to get something out of my music and be inspired by my songs. I know I’m too young to be that knowledgeable about relationships, but I try to include what I know about life—and I’ve learned that it can all work together in songs.

As a young songwriter and entertainer, who do you like as artists these days?

Taylor Swift and Hunter Hayes. I love her voice, and Hayes is a great singer and all-around great musician. Carrie Underwood is someone I admire, but even though she’s like an idol in the music world, I want to be my own person and have my own style.

How are your parents handling all of the demands of your music?

They are very supportive. You have to have that with all of the time, pressure, and stress that goes with it. They have been there for me emotionally, as well as financially. But, they are not just supportive of me—they are going with me in my career; they are by my side, and I truly need that. And I want to say here, it’s not just doing good for myself and my parents—I want to do this for the glory of God.

(From the balcony, I notice a couple of members of Madi’s group getting a sound check for tonight’s performance.)

Who are the other members of your group?

Tonight, I’m using a couple of musicians from the worship band at my church, Riverstone Community Church in Montgomery. That’s Kade Kaaz on acoustic guitar, and Ryan Claxton, my percussionist who plays the Cajon. It’s actually Kade’s first night with me, but he’s great. He’ll do fine.

So where do you go from here, Madi–what are your musical dreams?

I’m going to keep working real hard at something I really love to do, and make sure that I keep in contact with the people I meet and the connections I make. The people I made my videos with, Atonement Entertainment out of Fort Worth, Texas, are just amazing, and I think they are going to start managing me a little bit, as well as still doing videos. I am considering strongly going to Belmont College (School of Music) in Nashville, Tennessee, and learning more about the business of music.

Madi has two major produced music videos and several live video performance recordings to her credit. I was equally impressed by some of the tracks on the first CD “My Kind of Love.” Here is a brief review:

“Storm Chaser,” has a well-driven, groove behind the saucy voice of Madi—singing about someone that may be looking for rocky times. It happens. A good element of truth here.

“What A Life,” a song about the tender side of growing up through a little girl’s eyes. Simply done with nice acoustic work and Madi’s pure water voice. These two together are all you need.

“Complicated,” has a contemporary feel of what’s coming from the airwaves these days. Fits right in.

“Real,” is what it is. I like the line “everybody has a voice.”  Really—just be “Real.”

“Bittersweet Goodbye,” well-produced with easy-going instrumentation, laid down nice, which compliments the believability in Madi’s voice.  She sells this one for sure.

“That’s Just Me,” has a spirited, pop/country feel to it—makes you want to get up and dance around a bit.

If you want to hear Madi Dean’s “My Kind of Love” CD—plus, get the brand new one coming out around the first of the year—you can reach her at: MadiDeanMusic.com—or, through Atonement Entertainment in Fort Worth, Texas. You can also download Madi’s songs on iTunes.

Go ahead, get on board the Madi Dean train; she’s a brand new artist, and she’s on the rise. It will be worth your while.

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