Being born in California and raised in Texas, Madeline Edwards is the perfect mix of west coast cool combined with southern charm and sass. After first coming into the limelight at the 55th Annual CMA Awards where she performed on stage alongside Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer, Edwards has taken her unforgettable blend of jazz, soul, blues and country to the Grand Ole Opry, on the road with Chris Stapleton and last summer a first appearance on stage in the UK at The Long Road Festival.
Since her last time in the UK, she released her debut album “Crashlanded” through Warner Music Nashville in November where she was a co-writer on every track which she got to play live to audiences on this side of the Atlantic for the first-time post release at the tenth Anniversary of C2C: Country to Country at the O2 Arena earlier this month. Since we spoke with one of the funniest, warmest and most personable people that you will ever meet, Madeline has already confirmed her next London trip where she will be playing a headline show at Omeara on July 7th.
So, you are back, it’s the second time playing shows here so, lets jump in a time machine first of all and go back to last summer back at The Long Road. How was that whole first experience of being on stage here? “It was incredible, it confirmed for me everything that I thought the UK was going to be. I had never been to London but I had been to Paris and been exposed to European culture so I knew that y’all had a deeper appreciation for art than the US does but you can never really truly know until you experience it for yourself. Going to The Long Road, performing there and also performing at Golden Slippers in the Soho area really just confirmed that the UK loves my music and understands the vision that I have. They understand what I’m trying to do in country music, and I don’t have to explain anything, I love that.” People talk about the audiences over here being very respectful and will take the time to listen to a lot more of peoples catalogues. I spoke to Miko (Marks) the other week, she played the same stage as you at the festival last year and one of the things we talked about was how yes, the fans here will you their time, their full attention and know the words to something you may have only played on YouTube or haven’t played live for years but equally people here do like to party and respond to the energy onstage if you bring it. Did you definitely feel that too? “I do and I don’t mean to shit on the US all the time because I’m not shitting on the US, there are a lot of great things about the US, and I know there is ample amounts of opportunity to go and see live music at any given moment which is a luxury that we have. Maybe that is why people don’t take it as seriously but it’s a gift. For me any time that I walk into a restaurant and see a live jazz band in the corner, whether they are well known or not, I feel the inclination to just hush and talk a little bit quieter, clap after every song, tip them at the end and as a musician that is very important. It’s important to me and important to them. When we came here to the UK, the respect part is just an important piece of how y’all listen to music because I think sometimes with live music events in the US, people are looking to get drunk, looking to go out and party or just another reason to go out with their friends and have a good time on the weekends. It’s not for the purpose of experiencing culture if that makes any sense. My main job no matter what show I do, it can be a ten-thousand person show opening for Chris Stapleton or a five-hundred person show opening for Ingrid Andress, I try between my words, my voice or my music to just hush an entire crowd and it makes it more difficult as an artist but it’s kind of a challenge to me but here I don’t have to do that.”
You mentioned Ingrid and that was someone I was going to ask about anyway because I know that the two of you have just played some shows together. From the initial start to us chatting, I can feel straight away how the two of you would get on and are a great fit for being around each other. For people that haven’t met her, the only way to describe her is that she is Ingrid and there isn’t really anything else you can add to that. “Absolutely, she’s just Ingrid! Ingrid and I love each other, we’re kindred spirits for sure. We are both very independent women in the country music space, both piano playing women in country music, we both grew up home-schooled which I didn’t know until very recently and we both grew up in a family of five kids, so we have a lot of similarities that I had no idea about before we were on tour together. We’re both kind of weird and awkward but kind of funny so I can see her being a good friend past this tour, obviously there is the camaraderie there, but you can tell that once everything has died down and we’re not as busy, we’re definitely going to stay friends.”
Just coming back to end on talking about The Long Road, you were part of the stage that Rissi Palmer curated. What she does to promote artists of colour in the States is wonderful and it’s amazing that we can bring that whole stage over here but overall have you found it overall to be more welcoming and accepting towards artists from different backgrounds over here than it is in the States? “Yes. There are multiple answers to this question. In the UK, yes there is much more of an acceptance, and it is getting to be more like that in the States for sure. You’re definitely seeing a shift because mostly a lot of people that are now listening to country music, they don’t really want the country music that is on the radio, they want more genuine songwriting and stuff like that. Obviously, you are going to come across people like Miko and Rissi, who they’re going to have this avenue to get more fans than they’ve ever had before. Granted, I’m a younger generation so, I fortunately am given a lot more opportunities that they were not able to have, and I am grateful to them because of that. They kind of had to pave a way for people like me, Tiera Kennedy and even Mickey (Guyton) because they were a generation older than Mickey even. It’s an interesting dynamic in the States, you’re seeing a lot of division being broken but with that comes a lot of resistance. I guess I’m naïve in the sense that I really do have hope that the division and that resistance is actually going to create a lot more unity, I don’t mean to be naïve when I think that way, but I have a lot of hope in that.”
Another avenue of support for you last year from Leslie Fram and CMT, with being apart of the Next Women class last year. How much you feel you benefitted from the CMT and mtheory initiatives personally? “I felt like I benefitted so much. Leslie is a massive supporter of ours and so is the entire mtheory team where Cameo Carlson has been a major supporter from the very beginning. She is actually the reason how I met my manager Sam (Borenstein) who is one of the best managers in all of Nashville, she managed Kacey Musgraves and was on radio tour with Maren Morris. I am unbelievably lucky, and I landed the best manager in Nashville, I owe a lot to my talent and everything but because of people like Cameo, Sam and Leslie are the reasons why I am going to see an even brighter future for my career. I definitely benefitted a lot from those people.” As a whole, the CMT Next Women programme is fantastic for females from ALL backgrounds but the class you were a part of, really was the most diverse they have put together with four black artists and also Lily Rose who is part of the LGBTQ+ community so they really are looking to go much further. “People like Leslie and Cameo are putting their money where their mouth is, it’s not all just words to them. They’re not just filling a quota saying we have one black girl on the roster, so we did our job. I got the Equal Access fund where me, Miko Marks and Valerie Ponzio were the inaugural class for that which Leslie with CMT and Cameo with mtheory were behind that fund and that grant. Not only did they so many opportunities for us but financially they helped me put out my entire EP last year, so they literally put their money where their mouth is and it is not all lip service, they are actually doing the work.”
I guess we should probably talk about why you’re here which is for C2C. For anyone that discovers you on the BBC Radio 2 stage on Saturday afternoon or your short little set on the second stage in the main arena or last thing on Sunday night, what do you hope away from their first encounter with Madeline Edwards? “I hope people takeaway that my music is for everybody. It’s very welcoming, I want people to feel really seen and loved when they listen to my music. I try to never be divisive, I’m always a unifier with my music. Honestly, my music has attitude like “Mama, Dolly, Jesus” and “Spurs” or “The Wolves” all have attitude but at the end of the day, that attitude is rooted in the confidence that I want you to have, that confidence that I went her to have and him to have. I feel like I have learnt these little secrets to life and having that confidence that I want to give to you. I always try to use that to build up my listeners and my audience to make them feel like they can come out of my shows feeling encouraged and be better people.”
Does it feel a lot cooler this time to be able to play tracks from “Crashlanded” after it is out in the world compared to the last time that you came over when people wouldn’t have had the access to hear the songs prior to your set? “Yeah, oh my gosh and that makes it so much more exciting too. The whole Stapleton tour, Long Road and everything that I did last year, I was playing all of these songs, and nobody was able to go listen. Now that the record is finally out, it’s even more exciting because now they are getting two separate parts of this project which is they get to hear it in it’s fully produced form on the record, they get to hear me play it with a full band with some of these festival shows or get to hear it in a completely different setting with me and my guitarist where we play it just the two of us. It shows a bunch of different sides to the songs now.” With the sets this weekend are they all going to be stripped down? “All of them are totally stripped down, just me and guitar or me on keys and guitar. I sometimes get more excited about those kind of shows because it really showcases my voice. People from over here told me last time that I was like a country Adele, so I get to really showcase that when it’s stripped down with just an acoustic set and I love that.”
Madeline and I finished up with talking about tea, debating which of us drives on the wrong side of the road, whether things had changed here since the two-year period that we n longer mention by name and me giving her the British term that I would use to describe the sort of actions like wearing a hat with “Crashlanded” written on it when you get on a plane.
Following on from her appearance at this year’s Country to Country festival, Madeline already has her next trip to the UK planned where she will return to London and play a headline show on July 7th at Omeara with tickets being released HERE on Friday 24th March.
The debut album “Crashlanded” from Madeline Edwards is out now through Warner Music Nashville and is available HERE whilst you can find all of her upcoming show dates on her WEBSITE and keep up with Madeline socially via INSTAGRAMTIKTOKTWITTER & FACEBOOK. C2C: Country to Country will return to the O2 Arena in London and OVO Hydro in Glasgow on 8th to 10th March 2024 where the festival will also head to Belfast at the SSE Arena for the first time. Early Bird tickets were released on Friday March 17th where full ticket information is available on the WEBSITE and socials (INSTAGRAM / TWITTER / FACEBOOK)
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks