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Madeleine Howard - Interview with Madeleine Howard

15 Sep 2020 // An interview by Chris Chick

Right from a young age, pop artist Madeleine Howard has been influenced by New Zealand’s talented female musicians. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Brooke FraserAnika Moa and Bic Runga, Madeleine has worked hard to develop her own unique and undeniably distinctive Kiwi sound.

Muzic.net.nz resident interviewer Chris Chick had the immense privilege to interview Madeleine Howard in regards to her new EP Just Reaching Out, which was released on 28 August 2020 to critical acclaim.

You have just released your debut EP Just Reaching Out (28th August 2020) this must be a very exciting time for you, how would you sum up your emotions at this time?

It’s so exciting! I’ve been wanting to release my own music for quite a while now, and these songs have been floating around my head for a long time. So, to have them finally out in the world is such a good feeling.

This year has been a tough year for everyone in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, how have you been processing everything?

It’s definitely been an interesting year. The introverted side of me enjoyed being in lock down and just having time to slow down and think about what’s important. From a musical side of things, I definitely didn’t think I’d be releasing my first body of work during a worldwide pandemic!! But I think it’s been a bit of a blessing; people are at home so they have time to engage in new music and I think people are more aware of the importance of supporting local artists

Can you give all the readers a description to what your new release is about, and what was the driving force behind it?

Just Reaching Out is a collection of personal songs that represent who I was during different stages of my life, from my final years of high school to my days as a student in Dunedin, right up until now.

What would you say to someone who is reading this interview to encourage them to listen to the new EP?

If you love good old Kiwi music then these songs are for you. I’m a huge fan of classic female Kiwi singer songwriters, especially Brooke FraserAnika Moa and Bic Runga to name a few. Their sound has hugely influenced my own.

What was the journey like in regards to getting the sound you wanted?

I worked with producer Will McGillivray (nomad) He understood exactly what I wanted to convey with these songs. I’m a huge fan of guitar driven pop music and he’s written these super catchy riffs that have really elevated everything. He made the recording process a breeze.

What was one positive and one challenging aspect of this project?

A positive aspect of this project has been having the opportunity to work with the team at SOLE Music Academy. They’ve guided me through the process of releasing music and set me up so that I can do it on my own in the future. Whilst having their help, they’ve still given me the space to grow and learn as an artist without dictating what I can and can’t do. A challenging aspect has probably just been doing all of this with Covid going on. We released the first single in May while we were in lock down, and we ended up having to do the EP release shows with level 2 restrictions. But I think people have been turning to the arts for comfort when everything is so uncertain at the moment, so it’s ended up working in my favour.

Are you mindful of the potential influence you may have on people? And does this make you change the way you do things in anyway?

It’s early days for me, but I definitely have an idea of how I want people to perceive me. I’m not trying to put on a persona or anything, the music is very raw so I’m just trying to be genuine with people and tell my stories.

As an artist, how has music impacted you personally? Are there any stories or anecdotes that have stuck with you through the journey?

Music has been the one constant thing in my life. When I moved to Dunedin to study I had a hard time settling in and being away from home, like most people do I suppose. I think if I had been studying anything else apart from music I wouldn’t have coped. It was the one thing that kept me grounded. I can’t explain how happy I was to be able to make music every day. I wrote a lot of my songs down in Dunedin, I was constantly inspired by the city and the people that I met. I think if I had spent those 4 years anywhere else then the music wouldn’t be what it is.

In regards to the New Zealand music scene, what would you do or encourage to make it bigger and better?

I think as a new artist it can be quite hard to break into the pop industry specifically, there’s so much amazing talent coming out at the moment and the competition is tough. However, NZ is a small country and I think networking and connecting with other musicians is great, we’re all trying to do the same thing so if we can prop each other up then that’s pretty cool.

Going forwards, what can we expect from Madeleine Howard? Any exciting projects in the future?

We’re working on my first ever music video which is so exciting. I definitely want to keep playing shows with my incredible band too. For now though, I’m going to hibernate for a bit and write the next lot of songs for whatever the next project will be, whether that’s an EP or an album, we will see.

If you could play your music in one venue where would that be? And who would be your opening act?

I can’t think of a venue specifically but I’d love to play at some of our biggest festivals that we have here in NZ. Bay Dreams, Rhythm and Vines, that’s the dream. Internationally, Coachella. I’d love Maggie Rogers to be my opening act.


About Madeleine Howard

Right from a young age, pop artist Madeleine Howard has been influenced by New Zealand’s talented female musicians. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa and Bic Runga, Madeleine has worked hard to develop her own unique and undeniably distinctive Kiwi sound.

Hailing from Hawkes Bay, in 2013, Madeleine was accepted into the University of Otago’s Contemporary Performance Programme. For four years she studied under Lecturers including Dr Graeme Downes (The Verlaines,) Dr Ian Chapman and Nick Hollamby. During her time at university, Madeleine built up a catalogue of her own material, developing a Dunedin-influenced sound, mixed with a classic singer-songwriter vibe.

After relocating to Christchurch, Madeleine is now part of the Artist Development programme at SOLE Music Academy, where she has been developing and recording her music with Sacha Vee and Will McGillivray (nomad.) In the coming months, she will release consecutive singles from her debut EP Just Reaching Out.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Madeleine Howard


Just Reaching Out
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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