Madison Malone says her new song “Shoreline” is about being from a small town and having big dreams. That small town is Portage — “a city that keeps me grounded,” she wrote in her lyrics.
“It depicts me growing up there and being conflicted about what I should do and who I should be,” said Malone, who moved to Los Angeles from Portage about two years ago.
The music video for “Shoreline” debuted on YouTube last week, all of it filmed in one take. It features Malone as lead singer performing alongside a cellist, drummer and pianist.
In her lyrics, Malone notes the “two rivers surrounding” Portage, its downtown “filled with painted back alleys.”
Since moving to California, the 2012 Portage High School graduate has written 40 songs and recorded 12 of them as she works on what she says might eventually feel like her debut album, even though it would be her third.
“It feels like my first because I’ve gone in a completely different direction,” she said, describing her new sound as “electropop.”
Before leaving home for Los Angeles, Malone released two albums that she described as “singer-songwriter” — the albums predating a new wave of opportunities available to her in Hollywood.
“The most interesting thing (about Los Angeles) is you can be at a random show and see Katy Perry’s manager or Adele’s tour manager, for example,” Malone said. “You can be performing and somebody walks up to you and says, ‘You’re amazing, and did you know my best friend owns this studio?’ You’re in such close proximity to everybody, and the stakes are higher because anytime you put something out or perform, literally the head of Capitol Records might be in the audience.”
Malone established strong followings for her live shows at Hollywood venues like Hotel Café — selling out the 200-person-capacity venue three times – and the popular club Troubadour, attracting more than 400 people there in the spring. In Los Angeles, she started playing at restaurants and coffee shops before she met producer Hugo Montecristo who helped her land a songwriting project for Sony — songs intended for superstar Celine Dion.
“I didn’t grow up listening to her, but now I’m a big fan,” Malone said of writing about 10 songs for Celine Dion.
The songwriting project occurred 22 months ago and her work might never be applied to a finished product, Malone said, but it marks a valuable experience nonetheless.
“I haven’t met her in person, but talked to her team because I needed to be in direct conversation about what songs she wanted. I have no idea what’s next,” Malone said. “The only thing that’s juicy about this is I can say I’ve written songs for Celine Dion.”
Malone, who while in Los Angeles has been hired to write music for commercials, returned to Wisconsin recently to perform at Summerfest in Milwaukee, where she took part in the Emerging Artist series and was chosen as the crowd’s favorite during her performance day July 7.
“I want to tour throughout the Midwest and on the East Coast next year,” Malone said. “I’m always looking ahead. I love Los Angeles — I love the way that it pushes me as a creative hub. “I really want to just be touring all next spring and through the fall, whether that’s opening for a band on national tour or just me playing.”
Another goal for Malone is doing something for Disney — which she technically already did when she served as a background dancer for a music video of Sabrina Carpenter.
“But I want to do more than that,” Malone said of one of the goals she has pinned to her refrigerator, next to crossed-off goals like playing at Summerfest — which she’s done twice now.
“Trust yourself,” Malone said of what she’s learned in two years, “because there’s a lot of noise here and in the world, but if you compromise who you are or as a person or artist for something that’s cool or trendy, that’s not going to last as much as you creating whatever flows from you. “It’s renewable energy that comes out of you. Don’t exchange any part of who you are.”