Hello, Maddye! Can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
Hi…yes! I’m Maddye Trew. I grew up just outside of Memphis in a spot called Atoka, TN. It was a ‘one Kroger, one restaurant where you saw everybody’ kinda town. I have a little brother who was a record-breaking quarterback in the city, so our parents always called us their ‘little Peyton Manning and Carrie Underwood.’ Both sets of my grandparents lived next to us, so my little brother and I always had support with our fun passions. My mom got a job as a choir teacher at the school I ended up going to, so I jumped in on that with her and was a choir kid until I graduated in 2014. I was in every musical we put on, and I really miss that part of my life. Someday in my career, I’d love to add Broadway to the resume.
What made you want a career in country music?
My first concert … and my Nana. We enjoyed watching American Idol together so much that she bought us tickets for the Season 2 tour with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. As soon as the first song ended, I knew that becoming a famous singer and playing the FedEx Forum [in Memphis] was what I wanted to do. I was so jealous, and I have relived that moment at ever concert I’ve attended since. Being from TN and loving Shania Twain, I grew up with a love for country music, and when I turned fifteen, I decided to go for it by auditioning for American Idol myself. Sadly, my Nana had passed away by then, so I was also going in her honor.
My first shot was in St. Louis where I made it to the second round. We were thrilled, and we figured if we made it past one [round], we should make a trip out of it and go every year. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I got my golden ticket to Hollywood. That became the last confidence shove I needed to go to Nashville to pursue a career in country music, and I know my Nana is still cheering me on to do it, too.
Who are some of your musical icons?
Carrie Underwood, Patsy Cline, and Shania Twain. If I met any of these women, I wouldn’t be able to hold my self together. Carrie Underwood is my top icon. I strive to have the professionalism, respectability, and standing as her. She’s just a nice country girl that can wail her heart out on great music. She’s got style, humor, and wears the most beautiful dresses. I honestly think I’m her top Spotify listener. Every morning I play whichever album, mostly Storyteller, in my car and imagine it’s me performing at any of the renowned stages in Nashville or my home city, Memphis.
Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” was the first song I learned from a voice teacher and played out with a full band. Having those educational experiences at an early age led me to love and focus more on her vocality. I enjoyed singing in mixed voice after that. I write songs now while keeping her phrasing in mind. Her phrasing and mixed voice is so smooth, and I love her lower notes. Check out “Leavin’ on your Mind” – the live version. You’ll be speechless.
Shania Twain is the pop side of me. She was the first country artist I gravitated to at an early age. My mom had the CD of her Come on Over album, and we would play it over and over in the car. She said that I wanted to listen to it so much that I would finally just get in the car and ask her to play the specific numbers of the song on the CD; I had the numbers memorized. She [Shania] is also just such a performer. I wanted to move like her and take the crowd like she does. I really loved pretending it was me, as her, in the backseat. Mom said I crushed it.
How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
Gosh, I don’t know. Um, I know how I would want others to describe it. Authentically, unapologetically “Maddye!”
What is the background story behind your new single !That“s the Lonely Talkin“?”
“That”s the Lonely Talkin ‘” written by my friends Katie Barbour and Jimmy Thrasher. With Katie, loneliness was connected to divorce; for Jimmy, it was his becoming a widower. When I heard first heard the song, I was in middle of losing my “normal,” as my parents were separating. It’s really a universal take on grief, and I love songs like that. Songs that can reach everybody. And as it did for us, I hope it gives people a space to listen and sing through the pain while remembering that
everyone else around you also has theirs, and you’re all in the same boat. So, you’re not totally alone.
What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I love playing the !Porchlight Pickers” round at the Local in Nashville. It’s a good vibe. I always hang out after the show with my family and friends that come to see me; we grab a beer and enjoy the next round. I’ve had the honor to be on the Listening Room stage a few times – both the one in Nashville and the new one in Pigeon Forge. Killer venue, and they have my favorite drink, the !Hide the Wine” – named after Carly Pearce’s song. I hope to have my own drink there someday. Lastly, Belcourt Taps. It was my first writers round. It’s a very welcoming spot to the new dreamers, and everyone knows everyone there, so you can make friends and find talented co-writers.
What is your recording process like when creating and making new music?
My super-creative producer, Luke Buishas, is helping me to discover and refine my sound as I cut both pop and traditional country songs, because I love it all. He’s helping me find my lane. After I write a song and give it to him, there are no rules. We mess with it. Experiment. I will send him reference tracks of songs or sounds that can completely change the original melody or idea of how it started. I’ll attach notes and markers of the spots where I like the instrumentation or the phrasing of another singer in the reference track.
Recording vocals is fun. We will change the phrasing a lot to really hit the emotion; the idea is to make it so relatable that the audience might sing these same lines to themselves. We really wanna tell the story successfully with both the vocals and the coolest sounds we hear. And there’s always a “behind-the-scenes” story of some certain part in a track where we may see the work, the deliberate choice, but to the audience, the song is done the way it should, be in its entirety – and they feel the emotion.
But on our end, to get them to that point, we represent that emotion through the instrumentation. For example, let’s say a heartbreak song focuses on the anger side of the relationship. The drum hit is you … mad. Then we add a sudden musical stop after the drum hit, symbolizing the “wait. Think. Dang…I still love them.” We’ve given you space in the song to make that turn and feel that. Producing a song is fascinating. It’s all storytelling, and I’m blessed to have Luke teaching me his studio magic.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” – Erma Bombeck