FUZZ SPOTLIGHT: Mia Madden
From the Lone Star to the Big Apple, newly minted New Yorker Mia Madden opens up to us about her aha moment to become an artist, her big move during the pandemic, and goals as a small indie artist. Get the popcorn out, this one's an experience:
F: Hi Mia! Thanks for popping on this interview for FUZZ why don't you give us a little introduction about yourself and I always like to begin the interviews with just the first impression that music had on you, why did you start making music?
M: Ya! So, my name is Mia, my stage name is Mia Madden. I'm an indie pop artist, based in Brooklyn right now, but I grew up in Texas. I play bass, I sing, I play guitar, I write my own music and I would probably say the deciding factor on why I wanted to do music is I went to this music festival in Texas in 2013, and it was my first music festival, and I got to see The Cure, Portugal the Man, Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend and that was so fun and very very inspiring. When I was there and saw all the different musicians and artists on stage, they just looked like they were having such a good time. And I was having such a good time, I thought 'Oh I'd really love to make other people feel like this!" Cuz I was so happy and inspired.. So I said,"Ok I think I wanna do this! I wanna tour the world, I wanna play shows and perform and make music and create art!"
"And I was having such a good time, I thought 'Oh I'd really love to make other people feel like this!"
F: And what was your musical skillset at that point?
M: I played the ukelele, that's about it. It was the very beginning of my musical journey.
F: And then you moved to NY directly?
M: Ya I planned to move to New York before the pandemic, and then it hit and I had to wait a couple months because it was pretty crazy. I've only been living here a year and a couple months, for music of course.
F: Ya I'm actually kinda curious what it has been like going into the the NY music scene mid-pandemic? I'm sure your expectations weren't met due to the state of everything, but what was your experience?
M: Well today I took my dog to the park, and this was the first time I saw people not wearing masks. I was like "Wow! the pandemic is actually kinda slowly lifting now, people are getting vaccinated, and I'm vaccinated..." So now I feel like this is the beginning of the music scene. Before it wasn't really popping at all because there wasn't any space for it to.
I did play a show a couple weeks ago, but it wasn't really performing my songs, it was a DJ set. So that was like the first performance I did since the pandemic hit. And that was fun! It was a good turnout, for a pandemic.
F: Cool! That was outdoors? Which venue was it?
M: It was outdoors, ya, it was called Bia. It's just like a small bar. It was cool though, it felt good to be back out into the scene and performing.
F: What are your thoughts on the industry right now and where it's going?
M: I've been doing a lot of research lately, I was in a couple bands before the pandemic, before starting my solo project, which is the one that I'm doing now. I had a very different point of view of the music industry then than I do now, and I guess I didn't really think about it before and didn't really care to learn. I was just like let's play a whole bunch of shows every single weekend and just try to get our name out there. I got a lot of good practice from that, but now that I 'm looking into it...there's a lot more nepotism than I thought there was and in a way it's a little bit discouraging in the music industry, I thought it was a little bit easier. and I know that there are some cases where small/independent artists can be heard. But what I've been thinking about is what my idea of success is. I don't wanna become anything like Lady Gaga or Doja Cat where it's impossible to go out and have a meal without people bombarding you. I'd like to be something smaller like Passion Pit or Electric Youth, like you don't really know who they are but they're still able to make a living off of their music. I feel like that's possible with the way that the music industry is right now, especially with the boom of Tik Tok, or a few different social media platforms. Like social media is very much a big thing, bigger than it has been in the past. So that's a really good way that I've found to get my music out to a large audience. So I think it's very possible to get to the goal that I'm trying to get to with the music industry. A lot more possible than the 90s where you need to get signed, go through a bunch of hoops.
F: From my experience too, there's been a huge gap, almost like a wealth gap, so you have the exorbitantly wealthy celebrity pop stars and then you have just living on a mattress on the floor artists who are barely able to pay rent. So I hear you on that and it sounds like a lot of things are starting to open that opportunity up.
M: Ya a lot more possible now, which is exciting!
F: What brought you to the FUZZ music app?
M: So ya I moved to NY and back in TX I had so many musician friends and it was so easy for me to find musicians who would play my music on stage for shows, but now that I moved to NY I really don't know anybody. I know a couple people, but they aren't musicians. I think I was just Googling 'apps where musicians could find other musicians' and I came across the FUZZ app and so I downloaded it. So it's been great, there's a lot of musicians, but i haven't met any specifically in New York, mostly because there's not too many women. And I really want to form an all-woman band. I mean just in general, it's a male-dominated industry, so I'm just trying to wait and find people. There's a lot of women musicians... but in LA... and I'm like 'nooooooo!!'.
F: Ya a lot of my friends flocked to LA so I feel you on that one. Are you looking for any instruments in particular?
M: Ya! I need a guitarist, and a bassist, a drummer, a synth player, cuz when I 'm performing I like to be hands free just with the microphone so I can get all crazy. So I'm basically looking for a whole band, so if anyone wants to doo thiss.. :) ....I have good music and it's fun and it's real fun to perform too, I keep that in mind when I'm writing the music because I love performing, that's a big part of it. So I'm like "ok let's make songs that are really fun to perform."
"I ended up gaining like 26,000 followers because during Covid I worked on it every single day."
F: So COVID-life has been highly digital, now that we're coming out of it, what kind of the digital aspect of your art is going to stick around? Do you have a Twitch stream?
M: Ya I've been meaning to get a Twitch stream going, my brother is big into Twitch and he's a gamer and he's like, 'It's not only for gamers, it's also for musicians'. And so I've been wanting to start that, but what's been taking up a lot of my time which I developed during Covid is my Tik Tok. I just really started putting a lot of my time into Tik Tok, I've been putting a lot of work and effort and it takes time with the editing and the coming up with the ideas. I ended up gaining like 26,000 followers because during Covid I worked on it every single day. So that's probably the best think I gained from the pandemic.
F: Awesome! Ya Tik Tok's been great at like algorithmically evening the playing field. Definitely feel like they're doing better than other platforms not to be mentioned....
M: Ya and I've found it very beneficial, that's pretty much where all my listeners come from; from Tik Tok. So um....I love that app :)
F: Ya it's come through such a large stigma in the past...
M: Ya and it still has a really big stigma!
F: Ya, but it's definitely come a long way for sure.
F: I saw you have a manager. What was the inspiration behind getting one and what's the experience been like?
"Having a manager sounds scary, but it doesn't have to be. "
M: So my manager also happens to be like my best friend in Texas and I pay her when I can. I'm still very much a small artist, but I like to call her my manager because it sounds more professional whenever I'm trying to get submitted to certain playlists and music blogs, like she can email them and say 'I represent blah blah blah' and it sounds more professional, I think people in the music industry take you more seriously when you have a manager. She does a lot of managerial duties as well, she helps me out with my social media, sends me certain music festival lineup applications.
The experience has been great especially for an independent artist, where you basically do everything yourself. Or you have people do it for you, but you need a bunch of money, which I know a lot of us personally don't have, so just to have that extra load be given to the manager, even just really small tasks, it's helped me out a lot. Having a manager sounds scary, but it doesn't have to be. Literally anybody that can help you out with certain things.
F: Such an awesome point here. I think idea of a manager, and even the term(No Karen, you cannot speak to the manager...) has a lot of weight for small artists, but this definitely puts it in a nice perspective.
Well thanks so much Mia! Lots of good insight here and we can't wait to see you thrive on your journey in the Big Apple!