interview | maddie simpson

With her honeyed-vocals and captivating joie-de-vivré, LA-based singer-songwriter, Maddie Simpson invites you to let loose. Her sound inspires that perfect melange of pop and urban nostalgia, which will most likely become the soundtrack to our nights out pretty soon. Following the release of her debut single Love Me Loud, Schön! conversed with the artist on themes of personal expression, creative influences — and making that first move in a relationship. Beyond her versatile vocal range, her creative expertise also extends to songwriting, which — as you’ll discover — promises a complete album of thrills and feels, as evocative as it will be sway-inducing. 

photography. Trevor Flores hair + make up. Luna Mariposa


You recently released your debut single, congratulations – can you tell us more about this new experience for you?

Thank you very much! Releasing my own music has been something I’ve been working on for quite some time. I took a few years to really hone in on my songwriting and find my lane sonically. I’m really happy with the response I’ve gotten on my first single so far! 

What is it about the music industry that you are drawn to the most? When did you realize music was what you wanted to pursue professionally?

I think the biggest thing that has drawn me to music is just connecting with people through music. There wasn’t really ever a moment of realization that I wanted to pursue music professionally, because for as long as I can remember, there’s was nothing else I could see myself doing. 

You have collaborated with Harvey Mason Jr. who has worked with artists like Whitney or Justin Timberlake, can you tell us more about your own musical influences or artists who have shaped your own journey into music?

Working with Harvey was so incredible for me because a lot of the songs he has produced or written have been major influences in my own music, especially what he’s done with Whitney and Brandy. I’d say my biggest influences are Whitney, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, and Toni Braxton and I love all of them for such different reasons. I love Whitney’s voice, of course. I love Mariah’s songwriting. I love Jennifer as an overall entertainer. But what all of them have in common is that pop/R&B crossover sound.

What’s on your current playlist? 

The entire A Star Is Born soundtrack. It’s my favourite movie, I think I’ve seen it 3 times already!

How would you best define your visual style?

Stylistically, I never want to put myself in a box. I love experimenting and not always following what’s “hot” at the moment. I pull a lot of inspiration from the 90’s, especially the 90s supermodel looks. Basically what you saw Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford wear — everything from the makeup to the hair — is my favourite. 

 What are the main messages or vibes you would like people to take away from your debut album?

I think because I’m in the early stages of creating my album, the messages and vibes are still coming along as I keep creating. But in the video for my new song Woulda Never the biggest message is that we all go through the same experiences in one way or another. And I think my music will always have that early ‘90s vibe that I love so much.

Your first single, Love Me Loud, touches on the idea of women making the first move in a relationship. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this concept?

I love that you touched on this!! For whatever reason, there’s always been this idea that “the guy should make the first move.” It’s 2018, and making the first move shouldn’t be based on gender. The inspiration behind this song was just the whole “game” that two people usually play at the beginning of the relationship and how so much time is wasted “playing hard to get.” If you want something, just go for it! 

photography. Valentina Cytrynowicz hair + make up. Brooke Hill

You’ve mentioned that you are devoted to song-writing, alongside singing. What have been your main inspirations as a writer for this initial introduction as an artist? 

Songwriting is just as much my passion as singing itself. My main inspirations thus far have been my life in general and things I’ve been through. I started really taking song-writing seriously when I was 15 and I’ll be 21 in December. So just growing, changing, and finding myself have been the greatest and biggest inspirations.

Why do you feel it is important to have a creative means of expression?

I genuinely don’t know what I would do without music and I don’t mean that lightly. I think having a creative outlet/means of expression is so incredibly important for one’s mental health. 

You have been noted to have a generally positive attitude, what motivates you most, both creatively and in everyday life?

That’s a very nice thing to be noted for, and that makes me very happy! What motivates me to have a positive attitude is honestly all the negativity that goes on every day in our world. I feel like if we could all just be a little more positive and kind throughout our everyday lives, it could make such a difference because you never know what people are going through and how something as simple as being kind can make someone feel better. I also think it’s important to know it’s ok to not always be positive. Even though I try as much as I can, trust me there are days when it’s just not possible, and that’s ok. 

What advice would you give to young, aspiring creatives?

Always be true to yourself and what you like, but don’t take criticism to heart, and instead try to grow from it. Also, speak up. Sometimes it is so hard to speak up, but it is so, so important. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you do not have a voice. 

What’s next for you? Any details on future projects you could share with us? 

More music, a lot more music and live shows! I’m beyond excited to start performing and sharing my music with new people.

words. Amel Meghraoua


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