WORDS CHARLIE NEWMAN - PHOTOGRAPHY JOHNNY JORDAN
21 year old Maddi Jean Waterhouse’s debut single ‘Young in Love’ beautifully captures the simmering fragility of youth, that precise precipice between childhood and adulthood that we all trip and skip our way through. Maddi Jean’s voice floats at ease over the top of the electro pop beats, the catchy lyrics conjuring up images of tender memories. As with youth itself, it’s all too easy to sing along to ‘Young in Love’ without really listening, but keep an ear out and you catch a glimpse of the real Maddi. Instead of relying on exterior teams to write her lyrics, Maddi’s music comes from the heart, “they come from real places and my real emotions. I am a very sensitive person. I feel emotions on a very deep level, which can be annoying at times for sure, but it helps me get into writing because I genuinely believe and feel every lyric I sing. Every song has a personal experience behind it.”
2020 has been “very transformative” for Maddi, kicking it off with a break up before diving into enforced quarantine “naturally lead to deeper self-thoughts and reflections, this and all the time I had to myself gave me the space to be more creative, write more, make more, and feel more. I couldn’t run from anything. I definitely felt blocked at times but my journal has never been more full.” On those days where she couldn’t push through creatively, Maddi relied on “structure, waking up at a consistent time and having some kind of routine is so important for me. Daily walks, exercise, reading and writing were key! I’m so grateful I spent lockdown in the countryside with my dogs, with the sunshine and being in nature, it felt like a real blessing.” In the midst of lockdown Maddi turned 21, not at Lovebox as originally planned but nevertheless “it turned out to be perfect. I spent the day in the sun with my best friend and my dogs, eating vegan Biscoff cake, moulding and painting clay pots in the garden, playing ping pong and Facetiming my family throughout the day. Heaven really!” If this sounds old for her years it’s because indeed she is, Maddi confesses to being “an older soul” perhaps as a realist of having grown up surrounded by such strong female role models, including her two sisters Suki (model and actress) and Imogen (actress.) She credits them both for always being her “biggest motivators, inspiration and creative champions”, blessing them as her “musical guardian angels and I’m so grateful to have them support me through it all!” It was Imogen and Suki who first opened her eyes to the world of pop, listening to “a lot of Avril Lavigne, Spice Girls, and Destiny's Child” prior to that she learnt cello as a child-an instrument three times bigger than her at the time!
Having big goals and big aspirations has always been on Maddi’s agenda, sighting Frank Ocean as her greatest role model because “he doesn’t follow trends and he goes his own way” and noting Coachella as her dream venue having watched Mac Demarco perform surrounded by “mountain ranges and palm trees in the sun as a backdrop. I thought to myself how incredible performing there must have felt. I love how the stage was incorporated with the landscape.” Forever thinking about the bigger picture, Maddi is highly aware of the effect she has upon her 79.5k followers, “I do think if you have a following you have to take on some responsibility and use it in a positive way, the best thing I can do is share what I can in a way that’s accessible to everyone. I’m aware of how many young girls are on Instagram nowadays and I hope I can be a motivational role model to them and leave a positive footprint on social media.”
Indeed you can’t help but feel positive when listening to ‘Young Love’, it’s a nostalgic anthem to a year we lost but a year we joined together. And to finish on as always, what’s Maddi’s favourite F Word? “Faith!” Take that and this rising star Maddi Jean Waterhouse with you throughout the rest of the year. Like her role models, she’s only going to get bigger and bigger.
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