It’s been a while since the last time I have the pleasure to interview an artist. The last one was New Zealand’s group Foley, but now I have the pleasure to chat with the incredible Madisyn Gifford from Vancouver.
This incredible contemporary pop artist has just released her dazzling debut EP Learning to Exist (May 14th, 2021), a body of work with not only an impressive quality but also personality and heart.
I hope you enjoy both the interview with Madisyn Gifford and their fantastic EP Learning to Exist as much as I did. You can find both below:
1. Thank you so much, Madisyn Gifford, for answering our questions and congratulations on the release of your debut EP, Learning to Exist (May 14th, 2021). But first of all, who is Madisyn Gifford?
Thank you for having me! Also thank you for the congratulations! I’m so excited for it to finally be out in the world. More than anything, I am just a person in love with the idea of feeling seen, and in a lot of ways writing songs is my way of achieving that feeling. I love telling stories about my own interpersonal relationships and life experiences that also hopefully help other people feel seen along the paths of their own lives!
2. Your debut EP Learning to Exist (2021) feels like a body of work with not only an impressive quality and dazzling sound but also like a lot of heart was put into it. How was writing the seven tracks of it with such a young age (17-19) while creating such a mature work? Was it difficult the recording process of the EP because of the pandemic?
Thank you so much for the kind words! The experience of writing and creating this EP was such a fun one because it tells stories from such fast-paced and exciting times in my life where I did a lot of growing up in a short period of time, and I think you can hear that energy come through in the work. Not only was I learning the type of music that I wanted to create, but I was also learning a lot about myself and using my writing as a way to do so, hence the title “Learning to Exist”.
As for recording in the pandemic, luckily enough, we did most of the work on this project prior to the pandemic and anything else we needed to get done; we were lucky enough to have a safe place to do so at the 604 studio! If anything, it was actually nice having a little bit more time to really focus on my music and writing!
3. The EP is all about those feelings that surround moving from adolescence into young adulthood. Was the creation of this EP, as the title suggests (Learning to Exist), a therapeutic process for you? What do you want people to take out of this record?
It certainly was! I used some of these songs as a way of grieving relationships and others as a way of sorting through my own complicated feelings around love and mental health. Writing and creating these songs was such a period of growth for me, and I hope people can take some of the lessons away from the songs that I learned while writing them. Hopefully, others will be able to see a little bit of themselves in my words.
4. Considering the success of the singles “Without You” and “Voulez Vous”, what are your expectations with the release of Learning to Exist? How did you react to the success of your previous singles?
I try to go into all of my releases with no expectations at all because I don’t want to get too caught up in the numbers and forget that at the end of the day, the art is what’s most important. I have been so beyond grateful for all of the love and support I have received on the release of my first few singles, and I genuinely cannot wait to share more music! Getting individual messages from people about how they liked the songs and what they took away from them is honestly probably my favourite part.
6. If you could highlight a lyric from any of the seven tracks included on the EP Learning to Exist, which would be? Which song was the most difficult to write?
Probably the first half of the chorus in my song “Memories,” it goes, “Memories filled with colour pull me under, cover me, in ivory I’m hungry for the reverie”. That line always resonates with me so much because it’s all about my tendency to get caught up in the past and in nostalgia instead of living in the current moment. An ever-present theme in my life. “Memories” was also probably the most difficult of all the songs to write because I wrote most of the lyrics as a poem and then brought it to Mathew V, who wrote the melody, and from there, I took it to Colin Janz, who put it to music and helped me write the chorus and bridge. Overall it was definitely the most rewarding song to finish off of this EP though.
7. Now that we are starting to see the light for concerts and “normal” life. What can be expected from Madisyn Gifford for 2021? How are you going to approach this year to promote your first EP?
I’m just going to continue making and sharing music for now! I’m so beyond excited to share everything that I have coming up!
8. One dream collaboration? And one song that you would have loved to write?
My biggest dream collaboration would most definitely have to be with Stevie Nicks. She is the person who most inspires me to be myself and to never stop writing, and I have always looked up to her so much. One song I wish I could have written (if I could only pick one because there’s honestly so many lol) is probably “As We Are Now” by Saint Raymond. It just makes life make sense to me and has always brought me so much peace.
9. If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is such a hard question because I mostly listen to music on Albums, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be “Evening Machines” by Gregory Alan Isakov. I listen to it almost everyday anyway!
10. And the last question. What’s the most important thing that you’d like to tell people about yourself and your music?
That more than anything, I care about telling stories and hopefully making people feel seen. What I want the most from music is to give people a safe place to go the same way, so many artists out there have given that to me.
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