Singer-songwriter Madeline the Person could be Houston’s next big pop group
Houston singer Madeline the Person, 19, at the Orange Show, Friday, September 3, 2021, in Houston.
Photo: Marie D. De Jesús, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
Madeline the Person identifies what appear to be very disparate voices that have influenced her as a singer.
“I was a big Disney Channel kid, and honestly, I think Demi Lovato is the reason I started taking singing lessons,” says the Houston native, who just turned 20 and has a new EP, “Chapter 2: The Shedding”, on September 17th. “And my mother showed me Aretha Franklin. I remember singing in the car with her.
What do a former teenage idol and a true legend have in common? They are both, says Madeline, “women with huge voices.” This is a fair point. Lovato has become a powerful performer, and Aretha is, well, Aretha.
“I know these are very different, but I was so into the soulful sound,” says Madeline. “I think I felt I had this ability, so I just nurtured it. I literally wanted him more than anything.
Both influences – seriously – are apparent in Madeline the Person’s music. Lovato in the melodic quality of his recordings and his fiercely personal lyrics; Franklin in the raw and powerful voice featured in many of his stage characters.
Madeline the Person grew up in Bellaire as Madeline Holste. She attended Hebrew school and graduated from Xavier Educational Academy, a small private institution. Music was an integral part of his education. His father was an audiophile and CD collector. Her mother is a classically trained pianist. His brother plays flamenco guitar and jazz piano.
What: EP “Chapter 2: The Loss”
Or: Available September 17 on all digital streaming platforms
Madeline started singing lessons at age 7 and still follows them today. She started playing the piano when she was even younger. She wrote her first song at age 11 but refuses to talk about it.
“Honestly, I can’t disclose. It is really embarrassing. It was a very scary 11-year-old song, ”she laughs. “It was more like, ‘This is something that I love so much that I have to do it all my life.’ Honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I found out that I could do this for a job.
That moment of realization came in December, when she signed with Warner Records. The label was one of many who discovered Madeline last year via TikTok, where her covers of popular songs have garnered over half a million followers and millions of views. After months of calls, messages and meetings, she signed on the dotted line. Virtually, of course. In the age of COVID-19, it all happened on Zoom.
“It was all coming together in my whole being. Everything I ever wanted and what I’m going to do in my plans – everything, ever – has solidified. I still can’t believe it. It’s hard to understand every day, ”she says.
His debut EP, “Chapter 1: The Longing,” was released earlier this year. On the surface and in person, Madeline exudes joy. Her hair is a shock of blue. Before that he was pink and purple. She loves bright colors, quirky jewelry and coloring pages and has a effervescent aura that radiates through her videos.
The songs Madeline writes, however, are intensely personal, like pages from her diary. It’s no surprise that she cites Joni Mitchell, John Mayer and Alanis Morissette as main influences. Her style also matches that of other current singer-songwriters closer to her age, such as Girl in Red and Arlo Parks. Unsurprisingly, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Lizzo, and Ed Sheeran are all fans.
Beauty and heartache
There is a sweet, sad beauty in every song in “Chapter 1”. Standout “As a Child” is an ode to her father, who died when Madeline was 15 years old. (“All I wanted to do was talk to someone who is dead / But unfortunately I can’t call them so I sing instead”). “Willingly” addresses the grieving process that follows in great detail. (“Far too many times I have seen my mother cry / More than you I suppose because your father is not dead”).
“Chapter 2” continues to examine Madeline’s identity and acceptance. The new single “Unrecognizable” finds her reconciling past and present. The magnificent “Haunted” is reminiscent of a pivotal college relationship.
“You didn’t have to go back to the closet / Your mother is stuck, but she will accept it,” Madeline sings. In a cleverly literal twist, the video was filmed in his real closet.
“It was just all I felt about my first love and how hard it was to be hidden at the time. I had no idea who I was, but I knew I was. ‘really loved this girl, “she says.” I wish I had someone who would make music and talk about tough stuff and identity. I want to be that for others. I want to talk about the tough things and represent the things that I am.
Madeline the Person plans to launch her first tour in November, wrapping up what has proven to be a pivotal year for the young singer and songwriter. But no matter where she goes, Houston, including her food, is never far from her thoughts.
“I like it here very much. I don’t want to leave. When I leave I feel so sad. I think it’s such a good place. I can’t imagine another house, she said. really obsessed with Fadi. I have tried many mediterranean restaurants elsewhere. Nothing comes close to Fadi. I cannot find the zest anywhere else. It is so important to me.