Interview: Madison Malone Proudly Advocates for the Freedom to Love

Madison Malone

I wanted to put my own walls down with the whole world and be open with everyone about how I truly feel. I wanted to surrender to my feelings.
~ Madison Malone

Last week, Madison Malone released a humble anthem for generations to come. ‘Quiet Down’ is a song inspired by love for love, declaring that we all deserve it in its bold entirety. It’s a song that recognizes the universality as well as hardships of love through graceful, pop-infused melodies. In a catchy, comforting hit, Madison invites us to love transparently with both ourselves and the entire world. Sing along with her in Hollywood at the Hotel Cafe this Saturday night.

“When I’m in bed I feel warm and safe within her arms; They can’t tell me the way I’m living does anyone harm.” ~ Madison Malone, ‘Quiet Down’

A charming manifestation of the power of love, ‘Quiet Down’ provides solidarity for anyone who has ever felt they need to silence who they are or who they love. It reminds us that love is anything but exclusive. Watch Madison’s video to see some beautiful definitions of love from around the world:

Madison’s stellar team for this song includes production by Justin Glasco (Ron Pope, Christina Perri, The Lone Bellow), mixing by Bryan Cook (U2, OneRepublic, Radiohead, Delta Rae) and mastering by Grammy-award winning, Hans DeKline (U2, Diplo, Pixies).

“I hope my music inspires people to realize the beauty and intricacies of our similarities and differences and that there is strength in both.” Openly pansexual, Madison seeks to foster an environment of understanding. “We need more stories in the world, people with diverse backgrounds, varying experiences, various lives.”

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Members of the queer community agree about and are all too familiar with the harm that shame can cause; the line ‘it’s not easy’ echoes softly in my ears as if just knowing I’m not alone is comfort enough. In our interview below, Madison touches on the full meaning behind the song, human sexuality, and how she can tell when a song is finished (hint: it has to do with a venue in LA).

You can catch Madison Malone at Hotel Cafe on July 27th. Until then, enjoy my interview with the songbird below!

Your video gave me chills, tears, connection and joy. What does love mean to you?

In 10 words or less: Love is the magic in this world. 

You mentioned this phrase inspired your process for Quiet Down: “love is surrender and I find myself surrendering to you…and it’s difficult.” Where did this saying come from? Was there a specific incident that led you to sit down and write this song?

When my girlfriend and I started dating, she said this line. She was saying that to fall in love with someone is to put down all of your walls and let them in.  I thought that that was a super beautiful concept and was drawn to write about it. 

The song took a different turn in that as I started writing it, I realized that I wanted to put my own walls down with the whole world and be open with everyone about how I truly feel. I wanted to surrender to my feelings.

When around people who might not agree or understand, I’ve (ashamedly) lied about my sexuality and called my partner my friend instead of my girlfriend. Every situation is different: sometimes it’s for protection, sometimes I’ve regretted it deeply. Have you ever had to ‘quiet down’? When?

There is NO shame in that! We live in a world where sexuality and being “ other” is something still being portrayed negatively, especially today and in this climate. I have been made to feel that the telling of who I am is difficult for some people to grasp. It is an upsetting truth that in order to keep ourselves safe we have to “quiet down” about our love. 

I just “quieted down” about my love in an uber last week. I was with my girlfriend and didn’t feel comfortable saying that she was my partner, so we said that we were friends. It does happen and I’m hoping that with raising awareness that “love is love” that we won’t have to be quiet about something as magical and pure as love.

The world is full of color! I totally agree with you when you say: “We need more stories in the world, people with diverse backgrounds, varying experiences, various lives.” For someone that might not understand, what does it mean to be pansexual?

I am pansexual. The dictionary definition of pansexual is: someone who can be attracted to males, females, transgender people, those who identify as non-binary (not female or male), and all other kinds of genders.

So really it is just being attracted to a human no matter their sex, gender, or identity. Period!

As songwriters, we sometimes obsess, compare, and overthink a song. It can take years or hours to finish a recording! From an artists perspective, for you, how do you know when a song is done? Did you face any challenges when writing this song?

I know a song is done when I feel comfortable enough to play it at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles. That venue allows for artists to be SUPER vulnerable AND the people in that room listen super intently. If I am able to debut a song there and it hits the audience/I can feel it in my bones, then the song is done!

This song took a couple days to write. I was having trouble with it turning into this “love anthem” rather than a song about surrendering. So I kept trying to guide it back to my original idea, but the song knew what it wanted to be, and I let it take me there. I’m sure a song about surrendering will be born soon!

Feeling silenced is traumatic, to say the least. Sometimes it builds up and we lash out, or we find our peace in some other way. In this instance, what would be the opposite of ‘quiet down’?

The opposite of “quiet down” is LOVE OUT LOUD! I believe that if we normalize how we feel about love, how we experience love, we won’t have to “quiet down.”

One more question: What is the purpose behind “2” in the song title?  

I am currently in the studio working on an EP. I took 5 songs and made 2 versions of each song. The songs with a 1 at the end are more stripped down. When listening to the songs with a 1, it’s as if you are at an intimate show of mine where I’m singing on the keys. The songs with a 2 at the end have more instrumentation and production. When listening to the 2’s, it’s as if you are at a show of mine while I’m playing with my full band. 

Words and Interview by Ariana Tibi

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