Rising singer-songwriter Madeleine Dopico broke out onto the scene last fall with her debut single, “Nice Boy,” an indie-pop track which blends a driving dance beat with a haunting piano riff and Madeleine’s power vocals. “Nice Boy” has taken off on Spotify and just hit over 208,000 streams on Spotify and Madeleine is definitely an artist to watch for 2017.
As “Nice Boy” continues to gain momentum, Madeleine is already establishing herself in New York City’s vibrant live music scene playing all her own originals with a residency at Pianos this fall as well as at The Studio at Webster Hall and on the same stage as legends like Ingrid Michaelson and Lady Gaga at The Bitter End. When she isn’t performing, Madeleine is hard at work in the studio working on new music as she fuses diverse musical sounds with emotional lyrics and her powerhouse vocal range to continue releasing new material. As a prolific writing machine, Madeleine plans to package and release more and more new content in innovative ways.
While music has always been Madeleine’s passion, the Ivy League graduate actually has a degree in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania. A little over a year ago, she was still working at a New York based HealthTech startup. She finally took the leap and decided music was the calling she had to pursue full time, and today, she’s quickly proving her place in the industry.
Hi Madaleine, how would you describe your music to our readers?
I would describe my music as genre-blurring, vocally driven, and emotionally charged. But the word I’d probably use that’s closest to my heart is “intentional”. I put a lot of thought into the story told by every word and note.
Who are your musical influences?
There were several years of my life when I only listened to The Beatles. I’d throw a few other classic rock songs in the mix when feeling adventurous, but nothing from people who weren’t old enough to be my parents. Nowadays, I’m particularly inspired by contemporary artists who I feel play by their own rules, like Sia, James Blake, Florence + The Machine, Daughter, Matt Corby, Regina Spektor- only to name a few.
You’re now focusing on your music full-time, but was it difficult to take the risk and give up your job to commit to your music career?
Absolutely. The night before I quit my job, I think I slept for 40 minutes. I definitely have times wincing at my bank account, eating a 99-cent can of Goya beans when I wonder how I’m going to sustain a career in music long-term. But I have zero regrets. I’ve never felt so confident and comfortable that I’m doing the right thing. I’m blessed to have an amazing support system of people behind me, and one way or another- something will work out.
Your new single ‘Nice Boy’ is doing well with over 200,000 streams on Spotify, what inspired that song?
I wrote “Nice Boy” when I was feeling like a jerk, hardened by my past. The senses of apathy and coldness I was experiencing made me feel like a villain, and the first line I thought of became the chorus- “maybe I’m just evil now.”
Do you have a video planned for ‘Nice Boy’? If so, is there anything you can tell us about it?
There is a video in the works as we speak! I can tell you that it plays with some fantastical “origin story of the villain” vibes, of how evil came to be.
You recently played your last residency show at PIANOS, what was that like?
The residency at Pianos was a blast! Each show was different, and the crowd got to sing along with my songs they knew, and also be the first to hear a bunch of freshly written jams. The last show was packed, and we had a pretty crazy after party starring two of my favorite food groups: pizza and tequila.
You’ve only played a handful of shows so far, but you seem to be really confident in your music. How do you calm your nerves before a show? Or is it all excitement?
First of all, thank you! I’m sure this sounds corny, but it’s about the love. The butterflies are definitely flying around and freaking out in there somewhere, but I love performing and emoting so much that it beats out the nerves.
Do you have any more shows planned?
I do, but since they haven’t been officially announced yet, I’ll have to keep them a secret for now. 😉
You’re consistently releasing tracks on your YouTube channel, is it difficult to keep putting new music out there? Do you ever get writer’s block?
Honestly, I wish I were putting out even more music than I currently am. I’m writing constantly and have a huge backlog of songs that have yet to see the public light of day! I definitely get frustratingly stuck on certain songs and sometimes have to put them away for ages before I can come back to them. But even if it’s a 20 second tune about my monkey towel as I walk to the shower, I’m always writing.
I love that you uploaded ‘Keepin On’ after the US Presidential Election, is it important for you to inspire others and speak your mind through music?
It’s incredibly important to me. I’ve felt like music has understood me, spoken to me, leveled me, and inspired me countless times in my life. I want nothing more than to be able to give that back as an artist. In our current political climate, I sincerely believe progress will come from listening to each other in a way we haven’t in the past. I know art can, and will play a role in that.
You’ve been dropping hints about another new song in the works. Finally we can listen to it now!
“Me To Bleed” is very close to the chest as my first real rock song. The lyrics read like a poem and compare a relationship to a haunted, broken house- where because all your demons live out in the open, it’s ironically the only place you feel safe. The arc of the song really ebbs and flows, with sections that go from quiet and ghostly to whaling and crashing.
What’s next for you in 2017? A debut album or EP?
I’m currently trying to challenge the norms of how material is released and packaged. I think there’s a lot to play with in all the changes we’re seeing in how people consume music. But I can tell you that my 2017 is sure to be a big year of new, diverse content.
Sounds interesting! Best of luck with everything!
Interview by Maddie Birkett