Country 2 Country Festival (C2C)

Interview: Madeline Edwards talks C2C Festival, her Fabulous Album Crashlanded, Songwriters She’s Worked with & a Typical Writer’s Session and much More!

Rising country singer-songwriter Madeline Edwards made her mark within the UK country fans during her debut performance last year at The Long Road Festival.

Madeline was part of the showcase ‘Rissi Palmer’s Color me Country’ which took part on the Front Porch Stage. A setting so incredible and so atmospheric, the artists won over the audience so much so that the showcase is returning again this year!

Madeline hails from Texas but was born in California. She is one of those rare rising stars that not only captures the true essence of country and Americana music, but she is also one of those rare artists that can blend so many different genres together and make it work in such a wonderful way. One could say that she is almost a genre within herself.

Last year, Edwards released her debut album Crashlanded. The album delivers elements of Soul, Jazz, R&B, Rock and Gospel blended with Country and Americana. Sonically and lyrically the album is phenomenal with songs that tell captivating stories in both their melodies and words.

Madeline is returning to the UK next weekend for C2C Festival where she will be performing on the Saturday and Sunday.

Her first appearance across the weekend will be as part of the Bluebird Café Sessions alongside Adam Doleac and Amanda Shires. This “not to be missed” session will bring the heart of Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café right to the UK. The artists will perform a set up much like a songwriters session and take it in turns to talk about their music as well as playing the songs they are talking about.

Edwards will also be performing on the BBC Radio 2 Stage at 13.00 on Saturday, the Spotlight Stage on Sunday and the afterparty at All Bar One at 23.00 on Sunday!

We caught up with Madeline to discuss her first show in the UK, returning for C2C, her album and much more. Take the time to read her answers as she truly is a very interesting person. If you haven’t heard Crashlanded yet then we highly recommend a listen as it really is something very special!

We hope you enjoy!

Hi Madeline how are you?

I’m great, thanks for asking! How are you?

I am well thank you! We are excited to see you again in the UK very soon! I believe that your first UK show was at The Long Road Festival? How was that experience for you? What were your expectations going in and what were your takeaways?

Yes, it was. It was probably one of my favorite experiences performing. I’m obsessed with the UK. Everything about it – the culture, the music, the history. So, when I played for Long Road, I only knew it was going to be an incredible experience. I was expecting the audience to really understand my music and they absolutely did. They exceeded my expectations.

Did you catch any artists when you were there?

I was able to party it up on the front porch stage with the other artists that were with me on the showcase [Miko Marks, Rissi Palmer, Camille Parker, Charly Lowry and Valerie Ponzio]. Not to be bias, but our showcase was such a moving display of the movement happening in American country music, it was hard not to say that our small stage took over the festival in the coolest way. We got to sneak out to see parts of Allison Russel’s show and she came to see ours as well. Simply a beautiful and inspiring day.

How, if at all, did a UK Festival differ from one in the US?

The UK has such a diverse sense of music taste that it seems to be more accepting of an artist like me that straddles the line of traditional country and other genres, especially jazz. It was really cool to see the audience in the UK totally understand what I’m shooting for in intertwining country, jazz, gospel and rock. I would light up when I was told by audience members that I was the “Amy Winehouse of Country.” The US still has some ways to go in terms of blending genres. We’re getting there, but it just might take more time for a US audience to understand my vision for the music.

You are returning for C2C which we cannot wait for. What have you been told about C2C as you must have friends who have played here before?

I’ve heard nothing but exceptional things about the C2C festival and I’m ready to those words to be proven true. I have nothing but high expectations for what C2C is going to be like and I think I’m about to be blown away. I’m very excited.

What can we expect from your sets?

MUSIC FROM CRASHLANDED!!! I’m sooooo excited to be performing the songs from my latest record LIVE! I got to play some of them on the road last year but it’s exciting to pull from the final collection and use all of them from the record to really put on a show.

Will you catch any live sets when here?

Adam Doleac is on my Bluebird showcase and he’s a good friend of ours since he’s from my husband’s hometown; I’d love to catch his set. Amanda Shires is also on my showcase and I haven’t seen her since we recorded on the Lady Gaga record together, so I’m very excited to catch up with her and see her set. Kameron Marlowe is an absolute beast and I look forward to seeing his set. I’m also slightly obsessed with Midland, so I’ll definitely be trying to make their set.

Are you able to do any sightseeing when here?

Yes! My husband and I are actually going to spend a few days in Paris preceding the festival then when I have some time off from performing, we’re going to be tearing up the streets of London with my crew. If y’all see me out here wildin’ out, it’s purely because I just love the UK that much.

Are there any food or drink you want to have here that you may not necessarily get back home?

I’m not sure. Haven’t thought about it but I’m definitely a huge foodie so I’m down to try anything.

Crashlanded is a superb album, really powerfully electrifying. It screams live shows, do you have that in mind when in the writing room? What will translate more impactfully live and so

Absolutely, I do. I’m always thinking about what will translate live and how it will impact the album as well as the live show. How Strong I Am almost takes on a whole new life live… So does Hold My Horses. The balance of doing songs like the record but just special enough to where when people come to the live shows, they might be affected differently by them, is one of my favorite parts of picking songs for the record.

Are you coming over with a full band?

I’ll be coming over with just myself (on keys) and a guitarist, which I think will be just as impactful and powerful as a full band, because the audience will really be able to feel all the emotions in the songs stripped down.

When you do play with a full band, who are your band members? How long have you worked with them?

I usually have a 5-piece band, including myself. I’ll play keys and keytar on some songs, and then walk/run around engaging more with the audience on other songs. Kip Allen is my music director and drummer. Sam Rodberg is on bass. Leigh Houison on keys and BGVs. And Nick DiMaria on guitar. I’ve been playing with them for about a year now. We all gel seamlessly; they’re kind of like brothers at this point.

You have written with a highly impressive range of songwriters on this album – when you had a vision of this album, did you have writers in mind that you wanted to work with or are these songs from various points over a course of time that weren’t necessarily for the debut

I actually didn’t have writers in mind for this project. I just continued to cast the vision of what I wanted this record to represent and what message I wanted to put out there to the world, and naturally, the writers that ended up on the record are the ones that caught on to that vision and ran with it almost just as much as I did. I’m very protective with the vision of my projects – it’s very sacred to me. I’m usually pretty picky on who I let into the process. I usually try to get a gage on how they respect the vision or not.

We love Laura Veltz here and have seen she features on a few of the songs. What is it like to write with Laura? What do you bring out of each other in the writing room? What’s a typical Veltz/Edwards writing session?

Laura Veltz… I could go on for DAYS about this woman. She really saw me where I was at in the process of making this record, and she pushed me to get it to the finish line. It’s seriously so incredible working with her. We’ve struck a really beautiful friendship coming off of this project together. I think we both push each other a lot in the best possible ways, and it’s always nice when you can have 2 great writers in a room that can push each other to be better without any ego involved. I think that’s what we are for each other.

Who has surprised you the most in the writing room? For any reason?

Ryan Tyndell probably surprised me the most. I don’t know why but when I was first set up to write with him, I was still new to Nashville and had the misconception that we were going to write a song about trucks or beer. Several hours later, we were connecting over Tame Impala and the Texas music scene, totally vibing off each other and ended up writing a really dope song that ended up on my self titled EP. Tyndell is extremely prolific and probably one of my favorite writers and producers in Nashville. I’m grateful that he both wrote on and produced Crashlanded.

Are there any days when you have a write scheduled that ideas just aren’t forming and if so, how do you get that wheel turning for ideas?

All the time. I usually like to start a session off by asking each writer to play one song that they’re obsessed with lately – any artist, any writers, any genre. We go around doing that for the first few minutes of the write and it usually ends up inspiring the room to think outside of the box, because a lot of times, we’re pulling from different genres, different cultures and even different time periods.

What song on the album is a family favourite?

Why I’m Calling is definitely the fam favourite.

How do you decide the track listing order?

I like to take the listeners on a journey when it comes to track listing.
I bare a lot of heavy truths on the record that might challenge the listener, so I always like to be intentional with what songs come after a gut-punch song, if you will. Picking songs is like figuring out the plot of a story. Who is the protagonist? Is it the artist? Is it the listener? Maybe it’s both. Who is the enemy? What is the struggle or journey? People miss stories and I always try to unravel them with each song and how the songs are ordered on the record. Track listing is like deciding the chapters to a story, it’s one of my favorite parts of building an album.

“How Strong I Am” is so beautiful, I want to hear it live with both a full band and acoustically as it is one of those songs that will be magical either way! Can you tell me a little bit about writing this one? Writing with Ross Copperman and Kate York, well this is just a dream team for us fans.

This song is very special to me, because it tells the story of how I overcame adversity through pain. Our society can easily become distracted from doing the work necessarily to make themselves better people with meditation, therapy, prayer, building a healthy community, creating healthy habits, etc. Drugs, alcohol, sex, social media, technology can all take our attention away from the hard heart work, and I’m guilty of this all the time. Culture tells us that if it’s painful or uncomfortable, don’t do it – only do what makes you feel good or live “your truth.” I think that’s bullshit. Only the strongest people came from actually digging into the pain and coming out of it stronger. That’s what this song is about. I’m grateful for Ross and Kate coming alongside and seeing the vision for this song and helping me create it.

Another song I adore is Why I’m Calling. I am a sucker for a ballad. It’s so homely and
relatable.This lyric in particular “And I’m fightin’ with my husband / I know you’ll let me complain And listen with no judgment”
Please tell us about the song.

This song was written for and dedicated to my mom. I miss her so much. She lives far away and we don’t get to see each other often. But this song is basically about not waiting to pick up the phone and simply call the people we love in our lives. It’s encouraging the listener to not take advantage of time, because no one is promised tomorrow. I intentionally didn’t mention that it was my mom I was talking to in the song though, because I wanted to listener to able to insert whoever that special person was in their life.

What song on the album, after production etc sounds the most different from its original
demo, if any?

Definitely Hold My Horses and Forehead Kisses. Hold My Horses almost sounds nothing like what it started out as when we first wrote it. It has taken on a completely different life and I’m in love with its evolution. Forehead Kisses went through 3 different versions before it landed on what it is now. That song was one of the dark horses on the record, and for that reason, it’s one of my favorites – to listen to and to perform.

Is there a particular lyric on any song that you are most proud of?

If I don’t sink now, I may never learn to swim” from the song Port City. I wrote that song with Court Clement and it is, to this day, one that I’m most proud of. I love how poetic the song is, inside and out. I hope to write more songs like this in the future. It is storytelling at its best…. especially that line “If I don’t sink now, I may never learn to swim.” There are so many layers to it.

Are there any stories that you found difficult to write about at first and if so, how did you
overcome that obstacle?

It has always been pretty difficult to tell the story of my home life growing up, mostly because I feel like some topics might be be too intense for my listeners. Our subconscious usually tells us deep down that people don’t want to be bothered with hard conversations like that, but I believe it’s a tool of the enemy to keep us isolated from community and friends that want to love us. Once I overcame the hesitance to tell those stories, the more I saw that it was the one thing that really distinguished me as an artist (my honesty). My audience feels most connected to me when I’m honest and vulnerable with my story.

What song off the album has the best reaction live?

Mama Dolly Jesus, because the crowd usually loves to sing it back to me! That always gets me. It’s fun pointing the mic at the crowd on one of the choruses and them taking it away. As a live artist, there’s no better response than that. How Strong I Am also gets a really cool response when I play it with my full band. You can tell it’s a turning point with the crowd during the show – it’s like a reflection moment and I can see it happening. It’s really special.

Has your ex landlord heard Best Revenge??? If so, I would love to know their reaction.

I’m not sure if she has or not… but to be a fly on the wall if she has. I would’ve loved to see that haha.

Who do you get to listen to a new song first for their opinion?

My brother (who is also a Texas artist), Micah Edwards.

What do you hope for the future of country music?

It is already expanding so much in terms
of cross genres which we love. Your music for example has stunning elements of Jazz,
Rock, gospel, soul and more and it fits perfectly.
My hope for country music is that the genre continues to further and further blend and expand. I’m ready for artists like Sierra Ferrell, Zach Bryan, Charley Crockett, etc to be recognized as country artists and not fall into alt genres or on the contrary, I’m ready for the “alt country” genre and its artists to be more heavily recognized and not isolated from the country music genre altogether. When that happens, it’ll make it easier for artists like me to create space in this genre.

Who are your musical influences?

Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Ray Price, Elvis, Bill Withers, The Carpenters, Bread, Otis Redding, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Shania Twain, Amy Winehouse, Leon Bridges, Khruangbin, Dan Auerbach, Brittany Howard, etc.

Who are you listening to in country music at the moment?

Chris Stapleton (always), Elle King, Lainey Wilson, Carter Faith, Sierra Ferrell, Charley Crockett, Meg McKree, Brandi Carlile, Colter Wall, Caitlyn Smith, Kassi Ashton, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban

How was your Grand Ole Opry debut?
How do you prepare for something like that? Is it easy to choose an outfit etc?

It was so sweet and emotional. I got to share that moment with a lot of my family there. It was definitely a full circle moment (no pun intended). I was basically crying tears of joy the whole day. It was definitely difficult choosing an outfit for the first time, but I love what we chose!

Thank you so much Madeline, we are very excited to see you at C2C Festival.

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