Joelle Maddyson was born in southwest Louisiana and has been told she was singing before she could really speak. She began her music journey when she was a teenager and throughout high school won vocal performance awards along with participating in the honour choir and band. Throughout her senior year Joelle taught herself to play piano and from their began writing her own music.
Joelle received a vocal scholarship to CSU Stanislaus after receiving the Command Performance award in 2002 at The Solo and Ensemble Festival. Joelle spent three years studying Vocal Performance alongside English Literature. Joelle decided to take a break to focus on performing and her true passion of songwriting. Joelle's dedication saw her tour across California and play on radio, news programs.
As a songwriter Joelle is a member of the SESAC which is an invitation only promotional rights group.
The opening song of Jolle Maddyson's EP titled 'Speed of Sound' is an emotionally drenched song called, "All I Know." Within a minute of the song playing you learn that Maddyson is not only a strong vocalist but also a talented musician. Her passionate vocals are complimented by a soft piano and the musical interludes only intensify the deep emotions of the song.
This remains true to the remaining four songs on the EP. "Say Anything" has a catchy beat that will leave you smiling while you listen to Jolle's honest lyrics. My personal favourite song off the Speed of Sound would have to be the closing "Breathing Without You" - the song encapsulates everything that Jolle Maddyson pours her heart and soul into - her music. The lyrics are sincere and memorable; expressing emotions that every girl can sympathize with and the acoustic feel keeps it fresh and satisfying. The Speed of Sound is a great EP and confirms that Jolle Maddyson is going to only going to keep on getting bigger and better.
Interview with Joelle Maddyson
How did it feel to hear your songs played on a CD? Joelle Maddyson
: Hearing the recordings once production had been completed was wonderful. My producer, Billy Smiley, and I got along so well and had the same vision for the EP. He was able to really help me accomplish the kind of emotion I was trying to convey with my music.
Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry? Joelle Maddyson
: Not really. The industry has changed so much in the last 5 years. You no longer need a record label to succeed. In fact, labels will not sign you unless you already have a huge fan base and have sold thousands of albums. Basically, you have to already be successful. If you're already successful, then why conform to a record label? They are always dropping even their very famous artists, so there really is no security in it anymore. I see my music as sort of an underground secret. Success for me is having my music played in a few independent films, touring, selling albums. These days, you can have a large and loyal fan base without being 'famous'. I love that. As a musician I just want people to hear what I'm doing. I want one of my songs to help someone through their day. That, to me, is success, and it has nothing to do with the music industry machine as a whole.
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Joelle Maddyson
: Yes I write all of my own music. I write the piano compositions, the lyrics, everything. In fact I find it hard to sing now without playing the piano, too! I am inspired by my own experiences, and in a sense a lot of my music is almost painfully personal and autobiographical. But also I am inspired by the strength of others in the face of tragedy. I just wrote a song which was inspired by the disastrous Haiti earthquake. Things like that just move me, and I have to write about it.
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Joelle Maddyson
: well I have always loved Tori Amos. She inspired me to become a songwriter. I love so many artists though, and I am inspired by their music all the time. There are too many to name, but a few of my absolute favorites are Ani DiFranco, Ray Lamontagne, Damien Rice, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, Noe Venable, Patty Griffin, Counting Crows, and a LOT more. I love music and I am completely obsessed with acoustic artists and people who write their own songs.
What's next? Tour/Album/Single? Joelle Maddyson
: Oh all three, absolutely (laughing)! I am trying to plan a small tour for this spring. The EP, 'Speed of Sound' is available now on iTunes, Cd Baby, Amazon, etc. And the two singles, 'Say Anything' and 'January Rain' seem to really hit home with many people. I am also planning on getting back into the studio with Billy Smiley and hopefully doing a full length album very soon.
Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel? Joelle Maddyson
: I never think about giving up writing music, but sometimes in America it feels like people are so saturated with these fleeting 'auto-tuned pop artists' that they don't care about real songwriters with something to say anymore. As a musician, you have to know when your sensitivity is good for you and when it isn't. You can't take everything to heart, but you cannot become jaded either. It's tough to balance those things sometimes.
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Joelle Maddyson
: I always prefer performing live, but there are definitely positive things about both. Playing live captures the true essence of the song at that moment. I never play anything the same way twice at a live show, or I try not to. Live playing is raw unfiltered emotion, and sometimes you make mistakes. It shows your humanity and your vulnerability. Recording, on the other hand, helps to ground you. It helps you to take a hard look at yourself and say, how can I improve? How can I make this better, so people will really understand what it is I am trying to say? Recording music is very humbling. Playing live is nerve racking and also very liberating. Both are scary in different ways, and you have the opportunity to learn from both if you so choose.
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry? Joelle Maddyson
: I just felt that I had to this. I have always been the sort of person who wishes to please others more than myself. With music and songwriting, it was MINE. It was something I did strictly for myself, to say what I wanted to say. I have so much trouble as a verbal communicator, but music gave me the freedom to finally express myself. It gave me strength of character. There is no looking back for me, and there is no other option except success.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Joelle Maddyson
: You find out who your real friends are. There are those who have been there all along, and then there are those who have ignored me for ten years and all of a sudden find me to be very interesting. It's a bit silly in a way. You have to keep your head on straight, and realise that a lot of what people say is rubbish. Many people in this industry are fantastic, but just as many make promises which they never intent to keep. That is so disappointing. You have to realize that no one is going to come along and catapult your career for you overnight. You have to work hard just like everybody else. You cannot feel as if you're entitled to success. Anything worth having is worth diligently working for. I thank my parents for this knowledge, which I have had from a very young age.
What's a typical day like? Joelle Maddyson
: Lots of coffee. Exercise. Walk the puppy dog, feed the cats. Practice, practice, practice. I spend a lot of my time at the piano. I also spend a lot of time answering phone calls, emails and checking websites so that I can book gigs, etc. The music is very time consuming. I can't believe it's already February, almost March. Wow. I just realised my life is really boring. (Laughing)! But this will all be worth it when I get a tour planned.
What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist? Joelle Maddyson
: I finally felt like I knew myself. I realised who I was and what I was here to do, whether anyone listens to me, or not, (laughing)!
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Joelle Maddyson
: Oh wow. That would be so wonderful and intimidating. I would love to collaborate musically with Tori Amos, and I'd love to write some really brilliant and intelligent poetry with Fiona Apple. But there are so many great artists out there. They are all around. I hope to work with them as well.
Are you single? What do you look for in a partner? Joelle Maddyson
: Oh gosh. No. Larry Long is the wonderful man who puts up with me on a daily basis. He is everything I could ask for in a partner. He is so kind and patient. He listens to everything I say, and he does so many little things for me. We are best friends, and though there is an age difference between us, we have never felt it. He understands me better than I understand myself. I am more myself with him than anyone else. To have someone who loves you exactly the way you are, that is all you can ask for. That is a gift. We've been together for 8 years.
Do you have a website fans can visit? Joelle Maddyson
: Yes of course! www.joellemaddyson.net
Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life? Joelle Maddyson
: I don't know if there are 5 things, or 5 million things, or just one. But I do feel that I know this: Be happy with who you are and what you have. Because there are so many people less fortunate than you are. Be kind to people you don't even know. Smile when you don't feel like it. Say what needs to be said, and if it makes you happy, go for it.....even when everyone says you must be crazy.
What message would you like to say to your fans? Joelle Maddyson
: I love you, and thank you for listening. Please stop me on the street and tell me your story. Give me a hug. I love hugs. And thank you, thank you, and thank you for listening. I am hugely grateful and humbled that you enjoy what I create. If I can bring you some joy through music, then that is everything to me. 60 Second Quiz
Full Name: Jessica Joelle Maddyson Peeples
Nickname(s): Jess, Peeps, Red (because of my hair), Little One (because I'm tiny).
Star Sign: Pisces
Music Talent: Singing, playing piano and writing songs. I can also play clarinet ;-)
Favorite Food: Cheese. I love cheese.
Favorite Film: Right now I really love 'Lars and The Real Girl'. I also love 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?'
Favorite Actor: Cate Blanchett and Spencer Tracy. Don't make me decide, really!
Pet: Vincent, my cat. Angie, my youngest cat. Dexter, my puppy dog.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Creative, romantic, stubborn
Best Feature: My eyes? My hair, maybe? Haha! I don't know.
Worst Feature: My nails! I bite them!
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: My grandmother, Betty Herbert. She passed away when I was much younger, and she loved music. She played the organ and sang. She was completely tone deaf and did not care who knew it.
Hobbies/Interests: Music, of course. I love to jog outside (while listening to music, of course), and I am a complete bookworm. Of late I have been obsessed with Elizabeth Berg and Truman Capote. My first love was Ernest Hemingway. I own way too many books. I also love to write poetry, although most of them translate into song lyrics these days. I also love to be outside. I go camping in the spring and summer and I take nothing with me. I just love the peace and quiet. It keeps me sane.
First Job: I was a Barista in a Coffee Shop called The Bean & Leaf Cafe. Heather Elkins and I used to blare Ani Difranco from the speakers at 5am when there were no customers. It was a great first job.
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: Pubs and Bars. I go to clubs now and then, but I get bored when I can't have an intelligent conversation with someone without yelling in his or her ear. Pubs and Bars I love on a Monday or a Tuesday night when no one is there and you can play whatever you want on the jukebox.
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: My iPod.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: Coffee, I smell coffee!
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Review by Simone Traglia