By the time she reached middle school, Madi Rindge was writing and performing original songs. She started learning classical piano at the age of three. It’s fair to say that maybe the love and eagerness to make music was already in her blood growing up in a house that thrived on and encouraged the medium. But, that doesn’t take away the work that went into Madi carving her path.
Born and raised in LA, Madi went to school in New York at NYU and since then, has been completely focused on making music her career. First with her single “Summertime” that she released while in school which garnered support across film, television, and festivals. Then, after returning to LA, she released her first EP Just One in 2018 with support from Soundcloud as an “Artist to Watch.”
Her latest single, “Lucky” talks about a recent hookup which she jokes “has obviously saved my life.”
“I mean, I clearly can’t stop writing songs about it,” she laughs. “All jokes aside though, the pandemic has really given me a new perspective in terms of the art I’m creating. Not only am I creating more than ever but I also feel less attached to trying to achieve perfection,” Madi talks about how the last few months has impacted her art. “Art is personal and subjective, therefore how can you really judge it? These are all things I’ve been thinking about, which have allowed me to worry less and create more!”
The music has influenced my journey, but my journey has also heavily influenced my music.
When it came to making “Lucky,” and figuring out what Madi wanted the song to say, she looked for honesty but also something that hooked. “I always find that my most honest work comes from genuine experience and ‘Lucky’ is a true story, written at the time that I was a horny mf and feeling all of those things super strongly,” she explains. “I remember being super excited about the beat and at the time, I was crushing on my guy super hard, so I went for a walk around my neighborhood and the lyrics and melodies flowed right out of me. These were the things I wished I had the balls to tell him directly, but I didn’t so I wrote a song about it,” she laughs as she talks about the song.
As with a lot of music artists, the process for making a visual to accompany her song became a lot more DIY than maybe originally planned. The “Lucky” music video which she shares is expected to drop in a few weeks she says, was a unique and fun process to film. With the help of Shawn Binder and Joe DeSantis as co-directors, Madi shot the video virtually with all the footage being filmed on her iPhone.
“There are some dope projector scenes in the music video, for example, and the way we shot those was insane!” Madi exclaims. “I had my laptop set up on my dresser in my bedroom to Zoom the guys so they could see my performance and direct me in real-time, the projector propped up on my dining room chair stacked with books at the end of my bed to get the right angle, my iPhone set up on a tripod that I set to 4k each time we shot to get the highest quality and had the ‘Lucky’ audio set up to play so that when I hit record on my phone, I could quickly jump onto my bed to get the shots.” It’s a move that Madi says the group had to do probably 100 times. “I never imagined shooting a ‘quarantine-style music video,’ but it couldn’t have been a more perfect choice,” she admits.
It’s also fitting (and maybe even a full-circle moment) to make a video that involves creatively working both behind and in front of the camera for an artist like Madi whose journey as an artist has involved her doing as much as she could to learn as much as possible. From writing and producing her own music, she also studied music business in school. “Some of the most important skills and tools I’ve learned through studying music business include the importance of branding, connecting, and engaging with a community that you personally create, and last but certainly not least, is covering your ass with contracts and split sheets,” she laughs. “I cannot tell you how important that has been in protecting myself from being screwed over.”
Along with her own music, she’s also written for other artists as well which requires her to look at understanding and creating music through different lenses. “When I’m writing for someone else, I study their catalog and brand, as well as get to know that artist on a more personal level. When I’m writing for myself, I always go back to, ‘How am I feeling?’ because that determines everything to me–BPM [beats per minute], lyrical content, chord progression, and energy of the whole vibe.”
Falling in love with music was a big step for her, learning how to produce her own music became an even bigger step. The willingness to just go for it and pour herself into her music is what resulted in her making her song “Good Love” which released earlier this year. A song she shared with Voyage LA was a song about her journey to discover herself, understand love, and how self-love is key to both of those things. “I think it may be a bit of both actually,” she starts when I ask her about music influencing the journey. “The music has influenced my journey, but my journey has also heavily influenced my music,” she explains. “l learn a lot about myself from the music I create. When I’m writing, I’m challenged to pinpoint what I’m feeling at that exact moment. Sometimes, I’ll produce a beat and then turn the mic on and sing gibberish which then turns into actual words and thoughts I didn’t know I’d been holding on to. That kind of release” Madi says, “is something I haven’t found in any other outlet.”
To me, a fully liberated person is someone who is honest, stands by what they believe while also staying open to other perspectives and willing to change their own if presented with a strong point, someone willing to grow and be aware of their place in the world and their community, and always leading with love.
That freeing feeling is evident in her songs which is something I tell her. “I definitely try to achieve that in my art and in my personal life,” she starts. “To me, a fully liberated person is someone who is honest, stands by what they believe while also staying open to other perspectives and willing to change their own if presented with a strong point, someone willing to grow and be aware of their place in the world and their community, and always leading with love. It’s a tall order, I know,” Madi laughs. “But that’s the journey I’m on. And if I spend my whole life on the path to get there, then that’s okay,” she muses adding, “As long as I’m making moves in that direction!”
“I’ve seen a ton of growth actually,” she begins when I ask her about her upcoming sophomore EP, Island and how she’s grown since Just One. “I feel a stronger grasp on what I want to portray–sonically and lyrically–but also have felt growth in terms of who I am and what I want.” Between Just One‘s release in 2018 and Island releasing soon, Madi started producing which contributed to that growth and her connection to her music. She gives a shoutout to the singles “Good Love” and “Island!” (which was co-produced) as shining examples.
“Being exposed to all genres was super helpful in figuring out what I really vibe with,” she exclaims when I ask her about finding her sound. “As a really little kid, I was like, ‘Ew classical SUCKS. I like NSYNC, Britney Spears, and all the Now albums’ naturally.” (For comedic effect, here is where I remind you that she was classically trained in piano starting at 3.) “But, as I listened to Motown, Bossanova, Soul, Jazz, and everything in between, I discovered my affinity towards R&B, pop, and soul. And I incorporated those genres with trap drums to achieve what I really fuck with.”
In terms of what Madi hopes Island brings to the table in terms of introducing herself as an artist as well as continuing her journey, she wants the EP to reflect the things we’ve talked about here. “I hope that Island can act as a window into my world for new fans as well as day ones to connect with me on a deeper level and feel what I share in this EP. As I learn to be more vulnerable with myself and less inhibited, I am excited to share that growth with my fan base,” she admits.
“As a spiritual person, I believe that the kind of energy you put out in the world is the kind that you’ll receive back. And I don’t mean that if you’re a positive person, you’ll get positive energy back, but rather if you’re genuine and lead with love, you will get what you need,” Madi responds when I ask her about how Island seems to be evolving since it first became a thing to where it is now in the process of being made. “It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely rewarding and something I try to live by. With Island, I put so much of my heart and soul into it that I know I’ll receive the kind of love back in my life that I need.”
I am constantly learning, growing, and evolving so it only makes sense that my brand/look evolves with me.
The next little piece of the EP that will be released is her single “Cruisin'” which plays around with piano, harmonies, and as Madi already mentioned, the trap drum she “really fucks with.” “I wrote this song with one of my good friends, Jordan Sherman, one day when we were just hanging out together.” The song has a playfulness that’s reflective in a lot of Madi’s music and similar to her other songs, “Cruisin'” explores a relationship–this one being friendships. “I thought about my friendships and how important those relationships are to me, which is how ‘Cruisin’ was born. Since my friendships are like family to me, I thought making ‘Cruisin’ the lead single was representative of that importance to me,” Madi explains about the Island EP’s official first single.
Along with her figuring out her distinct sound, Madi also ties it together with her visual aesthetic often consisting of flowers, sunlight, the use of color, and open space. “I’m constantly drawing inspiration from movies, Pinterest (best place ever), other artists, and nature to create my own look. I hope it represents elements of my personality and sound. Again, I am constantly learning, growing, and evolving so it only makes sense that my brand/look evolves with me,” she says.
For what that evolution looks like in that short term…it’s a little hard to concretely say. But, while Madi said 2020 looks like a tough road, she also says it looks like a beautiful one. “Obviously with Covid hanging around, our world has been hit hard but I also think it’s been unveiling a kind of resilience within us. It gives me hope for us as a society and if we continue to have tough conversations, check each other while holding space for ourselves to grow, we can only go up from here,” Madi shares. “And that will and already is being reflected in music, movies, art. 2020 truly is the year for clarity–maybe not in the way any of us hoped but it sure has woken us up.”
Madi Rindge’s Mini-Playlist for Readers:
“Lucky” is available on all streaming platforms.
(photo cred: TBA)