Madi K is a multi-talented singer/songwriter and performer from Melbourne, Australia. She joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about her music journey, releasing her debut EP, performing on The Voice Australia, and much more.
Hi Madi, welcome to Close-Up Culture. Can you tell us about your background and your earliest memories of falling in love with music?
Hi James, thank you for having me, I’m so happy to be chatting with you today!
Since a very young age I have been in love with performing. One of my earliest memories was one of my first dance concerts. I remember standing on the stage, feeling the warm lights on my face, breathing in the SFX smoke, and just thinking: wow this is so cool! I remember saying to my mum after the concert, “mum that was so fun, can we skip all the classes and just do that again???”. Being on stage was never scary, it was always exciting, so from there, I continued taking dance classes in a range of genres from the age of 4, till I was 17. Along the way, my parents noticed how often I would sing around the house, and encouraged me to do a vocal class, but being 7 or 8 years old, and unsure of my abilities, I was shy and refused to do it out of fear. But when I was 9, my mum somehow got me into that vocal studio (I can be a bit stubborn) with my first vocal teacher Nancy, and I quickly realised that singing was a massive passion of mine, and I fell in love with it instantly.
Fast forward almost 10 years (9 to be exact), and after spending that time working on my craft, learning from different vocal teachers and mentors, and of course performing whenever I could from lead roles in school musicals to dance showcases, I applied for Season 7 of The Voice Australia. After placing in the Top 24 in 2018 (Season 7) being mentored by Kelly Rowland and Joe Jonas, I returned in 2019 for Season 8 as one of a select few ALLSTARS. This time round, I made it as a Top 12 finalist on Team George, and let’s just say, it was a crazy 2 years of my life, especially as I was only 19 by the time it was all done.
I always loved creative writing, and writing about my feelings, and when I was around 12 years old, a wonderful piano teacher I had at the time taught me how to play chords on the piano, and with that, I had the perfect tool to start writing my own songs. Since then, I have written and released numerous singles, and even released my debut EP ‘Homemade Remedy’ in 2022, which I will touch on more a little later in this chat!
Music has always been a big part of my life, and I think I’ve been in love with it my entire life.
When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music? Was there a specific ‘aha’ moment?
This may sound a little crazy, and I’m sure I’m not the only little girl who felt this way, but when I watched the opening scene to the Hannah Montana Movie back in 2009, and she was running from school to the arena to perform to a sold-out adoring crowd, I was sold on being a popstar! Watching the sequence of her putting on her make-up, the wig, the outfit, and then coming up from under the stage, there were stars in my eyes for sure.
The timing of this movie coming out, coincided with me starting vocal classes, so I think in divine timing, the universe sent me the message and I received it. But of course, going back to what I said earlier, I always loved being on stage and performing, and this just confirmed to me that something I loved doing could be something I do as a job, and it would never feel like that.
You released your debut EP last year, titled Homemade Remedy. How do you reflect on that experience?
Releasing my debut EP was a massive achievement for me. It was inspired by and created during a difficult time in my life, and it was a powerful moment for me as a person and as an artist. I wrote every song myself, helped to produce part of each track, and I feel like lyrically, vocally and sonically, it embodied me as an artist. Not to mention, it was a completely independent release, with no major label backing, which I think is pretty badass.
I titled the EP, ‘Homemade Remedy’, as that’s exactly what it was for me. I wrote every song in my bedroom, almost entirely in lockdown (Melbourne was locked down for a long time), and I recorded the vocals of 3 of 5 songs in my bedroom too. By doing this, it helped me let out my emotions, whilst also focusing on myself and my dream. I hope that by putting it out into the world, someone else might find this music and resonate with it enough for it to become their own remedy. To do the same healing for them, as it did for me.
As well as a performer, you are a terrific songwriter. Can you give us some insight into your creative process?
Thank you! Absolutely!
The songwriting process can vary depending on the producer I’m working with, what type of song I’m trying to create, and if I already have a piano demo made. By piano demo, I mean the full song written with only chords on the piano. This creative process is one I love the most, and it is the way majority of my songs begin in the writing process.
Sometimes in this process, I will sit at the piano and sing nonsense over a chord progression I’ve come up with, and slowly I will start defining each section, until I have a whole song structure and lyrics down. From there, I will transfer this into Logic X Pro, and create a rough demo with some other instrumentation so that my producer has an idea of where I’m heading with the demo.
Other times, we will listen to a couple of reference tracks I have put into a playlist, and slowly build the instrumentation. From here we will do a few melody passes and slowly define the melodies, then adding in my favourite part… the lyrics.
Lyrically, for any of the music in my personal catalogue, I have a good idea before my sessions of what I want the track to be about, and usually it’s inspired by how I’m feeling at the time, what I want to say, or what I believe will resonate with people.
It’s important for me to mention that my notes app is FULL, and I mean FULL of different lyrics I’ve come up with. Most of the time, whole songs can be created from a handful of those notes.
Along with writing for myself, over the past two years I have been working with a publishing company in the UK to write music for K-Pop, J-Pop, and other Asian music markets, along with Topline writing for DJ’s and other Western artists. The writing process for this songwriting work is a little bit different, and in someways even more fun than when I write for myself!
What has been your favourite live performance experience?
Hands down, any of my performances on The Voice Australia. It took a lot of courage and hard work to pull off those performances, especially in the second year I competed, so I’m really proud of those performances, and so far, they have been my favourite ones, particularly my first Blind Audition, that was a special moment for me.
More recently though, my headline performances at Love Machine and Electric Dreams at Crown were pretty special as I had the opportunity to perform my own music, which was a dream come true!
You recently collaborated with DJ and producer DLE. What kind of talents would you love to collab with in the future?
Yes! Not to mention the track ‘This Part’ with DLE is now at number #21 in the ARIA Top 50 Club Chart, which is another dream come true!
I would love to collaborate with so many people. In terms of producers, to work with Max Martin would be a lifetime achievement of mine, he is insanely talented, and the god of pop music, I think that would be my “I made it moment”.
Other songwriters and producers like Freddy Wexler, Nija Charles, Ryan Tedder, Anne Marie, Bruno Mars, Victoria Monet, Tommy Brown (TBHITS), Julia Michaels, Finneas, Mark Ronson, Diplo, Bonnie McKee, just to name a few.
Whether they are on my list of dream collaborators or not, its always so special writing with other talents because I find inspiration in those that I admire, and if I am lucky enough to continue songwriting for the rest of my life with people like the ones I’ve listed above, then I’m a happy gal.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
My hops for the future is that I am able to continue my career in music, find some success along the way, and always have music in my life. Having a music career can be extremely challenging at times, particularly as the artist, however, I know that if I stick to my guns, stay true to who I am, and work on my craft, I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
My ambitions for the future are definitely to continue performing, songwriting, and working in music full-time, but more specifically, my goals at the moment are to release consistent music as of the second half of this year, along with putting on my own shows at different venues around Australia, and of course perform at some of the biggest festivals here in Australia and around the world. In all honesty, the goals list is endless, but for now I’m focused on making great music, and enjoying life whilst I can!
Follow Madi K on Instagram – @madikrstevski
For more of Madi K – @HeyItsMadiK | Linktree