Interview with Madeline Merlo

It’s always exciting to feature an artist on Belles and Gals for the first time, especially when they have the talent of Madeline Merlo. The singer songwriter from Canada is one of the most talked about artists on the scene right now and I was delighted to grab a chat with the lady herself! Read on to find out all about the success of her latest single, what the song ‘WarPaint’ means to her, which artists have influenced her, who her favorite movie star is and much more!

Hi Madeline! First of all, can I start by thanking you for one of the 2017 songs of the summer – ‘Motel Flamingo’. It must be a lot of fun to play? It looked like making of the video must have been a blast too?!

Motel Flamingo was chosen as the single for the summer because of the level of fun it brought to my set and brand! The video was such a blast to film. The June Motel served as our Motel Flamingo for the day and they couldn’t have been more hospitable to us. I ended up inviting my band, friends and a few fans to join in the fun. Every moment and laugh in that video is authentic. Jaren Haymen was an incredible director and brought to vision of the song to life.

When I think of Madeline Merlo, I immediately think of the song ‘Warpaint’, an emotional song for you. Can you give us an insight as to how the song came about?
It makes me so happy that you, and my fans, think of that song first when it comes to me. That song is so incredibly special to me and shows the sheer power of music every single time I play that song live. The song is about supporting someone through a difficult time and showing them that you are beside them through any fight. It’s OK to not be OK is a mental health mantra of mine and that line in particular seems to really touch people. I think the chanting of “Wear it all like War Paint’ relates both to the supporter and to the one who is suffering. Wearing someone elses anxiety like War Paint and wearing your own scars and difficult times like War Paint. The song really represents unity through struggle.

On social media there are many lists proclaiming the ‘breakout artists’ or ‘next big thing’ in country music – and pretty much every one of these lists that I’m seeing has your name on it right now! It must be great to receive that recognition?
That type of recognition really means a lot. I think as an artist its important to be in competition with only yourself. In those lists and articles I see improvement in my music and the growth of a fan base. I am so thankful for the support of Country Radio, my fans and the media community for keeping me on peoples radar.

The Canadian country scene is incredibly strong right now, especially when it comes to the female artists. What is it about the country that makes such good singer songwriters?
Canada has some seriously special artist’s come out of it. Artists who have not only shaped the world music community but also who have used their platforms to do amazing things for others. I think that has to do with the kindness and geneorasity we learn growing up in a Country like Canada. Its no lie that artists like Joni Mitchell, Shania Twain, Michael Buble, Justin Beiber, Celine Dion and Bryan Adams have really given Canadian Musicians a great deal of respect worldwide.

Where did that amazing voice come from? Is there a family history in singing?
My dad was a soul/funk singer when I was a kid! I grew up around music my entire life and I performed for the first time when I was 6. Its always been a part of who I am.

You released your first single in 2013. What would you say has been the high-point of your career between now and then?
There are so many to choose from. I have had such incredible opportunities over the years to share my music. Travelling to Kuwait to sing for our Country’s troops was an experience I will never forget. It was so special to sing for those brave men and woman and get the chance to shake their hand and thank them in person. I will always remember standing with my feet in the sand in the Middle East thinking “Music brought me here.”

And has it always been country music for you? And which artists have had the biggest influence on your career?
I am a lover of music in its entirety but I always was drawn towards singing country music since I was a kid. Shania Twain was my first concert and Martina Mcbride was a regular in my childhood catalogue. I am also drawn to soul music because of my upbringing. Artists like Stevie Wonder and Etta James were so important because they taught me to always sing with the heart. Dolly Parton, Carole King and John Mayer inspired me to write music. Today I love Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars to just name a few.

Tell us something about yourself that fans of your music wouldn’t necessarily know about you?
I always try to be as open as I can with my fans and let them in on who I really am through social media and on stage! They might not know that I’m a lot less confident off stage and I really find power in front of the microphone. It was always given me a louder voice.

And tell us your favorite TV series, your favorite film and your favorite actor/actress!
Oh boy thats tough! Fav TV is Game of Thrones, Fav film Wizard of Oz and fav actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

To finish, tell us your plans in the lead up to Christmas, and where readers can find you on social media!
My plans leading up to Christmas will be spent in Nashville writing! Super excited to switch gears into the creative mode and start working on the next project. Readers can find me on all platforms under madelinemerlo

Interview conducted by Nick Cantwell

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