Madison Cunningham, who’s debut EP Who Are You Now was nominated for Best Americana Album at last year’s GRAMMY awards, released a new EP on Friday, October 6, featuring 4 covers of songs by The Beatles, Radiohead, John Mayer and Tom Waits. COLLiDE caught up with Madison and got the scoop on the new EP, life in the lockdown, and more.
How did growing up in Orange County shape your musical passions?
Orange County, being the desolate music town that it is, still had no shortage of talented folks I was lucky enough to be around. My Dad, being one of them, is a guitar player/ songwriter and put a guitar in my hands the second I was big enough to hold one. I wanted to be like him. He made it look so easy.
Later on, in my high school years I started playing in bands with my friends and did that until I moved to LA in 2017. While Orange County was kind to me as a kid, it never let me play in its venues. So there’s some unsettled beef there.
Who are some of your musical heroes?
The list is tremendously long, but it starts somewhere with Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits and keeps going with Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, and so many others.
How has lockdown affected you and affected your music? What have you been doing to cope?
I started out by treating it like a vacation. Slowing down and taking it easy. Which was good and necessary on the heels of a busy touring year, but that mentality wore off pretty quickly and I started to feel purposeless if I didn’t stay close to the heart of creation. I’ve focused in and written a lot of new music in the last several months.
Tell me about your new EP coming out! How did you make the decision to release these specific covers?
I learned over thirty covers last year for the purpose of releasing them on visual platforms, and to stretch myself as a performer. Then when the idea of turning it into an EP came up, the selection became obvious the more this year unraveled. These four songs are relevant as ever which speaks to how timeless and bulletproof they already were. When you’re in shock, or grieving and there’s nothing to say, it’s comforting to play a song that already says it.
What is your favorite cover on the EP?
I couldn’t pick one. They all mean something significant to me for different reasons.
Tell me about Who Are You Now and what it was like receiving a GRAMMY nomination for the album.
It surprised all of us. From the people on my team, down to the folks I created the record with. Which we didn’t create to win an award, but for the purpose of making something good. And I think that made the nomination feel pretty special.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Rufus Wainwright or Fiona Apple. ANY day!
So you’ll be opening for Harry Styles at Madison Square Garden for his rescheduled 2021 “Harryween” shows! How have you been gearing up for your performance at Madison Square Garden? Are you a Harry Styles fan?
There’s not much to gear up for at the moment. I suppose staying diligent as a writer and player is the best and only way to prepare. And yes, I’m certainly a Harry Styles believer. I think he’s an important artist and figure of our time. Although, my fandom pales in comparison to my little sisters. And they won’t let me forget it.
Check out the new EP “Wednesday” HERE