Moving Forward with Madison McFerrin

>> Soul and R&B singer, Madison McFerrin, from Brooklyn, recently released a new EP 'Finding Foundations: Vol. II' along with a new music video for her single, "Insane". She is performing at OctFest this weekend! Check out this lovely interview we did with her!

When and why did you decide to pursue music professionally?

I have a pretty clear memory of deciding to pursue music when I was 5 years old. Haven’t looked back since!

What are your favorite and least favorite things about Brooklyn?

It’s not everywhere, but there are definitely some pockets that have held onto having a real neighborhood vibe. I love being able to come home from a night in Manhattan to a place that really feels like home. My least favorite is how gentrified some of the areas are becoming these days. I know that’s not exclusive to Brooklyn, but it breaks my heart to see so many people, many of them, people of color and lower-income residents, unable to remain in the neighborhoods they’ve lived their whole lives, if not for generations.

What is the craziest or strangest experience you’ve had performing?

Recently a random dude that I did not know came on stage after I performed my song “Shine.” A friend of mine was supposed to come up after that song to join me on stage, so I had assumed it was him in my peripheral vision…nope. He said he just wanted a hug, but he was definitely a little drunk and it threw me off for a second.

Your music has a very unique sound with the combination of a cappella and soul. What have been the most significant influences for you in developing your style?

I was raised on people like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. I think when you combine that, plus being entrenched with my father’s a cappella music, it’s easy to see how my music came to be.

If you could collaborate with any other musician, living or dead, who would it be?

I would really love to make music with Pharrell one day. His production has a crazy range and is always fly.

What impacts has your father Bobby made on your musical tastes, style, and career?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how he’s impacted me given that he’s my dad and has always been present in my life. He and my mom are ever present in everything I do, both within and outside of my career.

If you had to listen to only 3 albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?

New Amerykah: Part 2 (Erykah Badu), Arthur Verocai (Arthur Verocai), Music of My Mind (Stevie Wonder)

Can you briefly describe your song-writing process?

Chords, melody, lyrics, in that order.

If you could go back in time 3 years and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?

Stop being so afraid and just do it.

The music video for “Insane,” one of the tracks from your second release, 'Finding Foundations Vol. II' just came out a few weeks ago. How did that video come to fruition, and what was the inspiration behind it?

The video had a couple of rewrites due to logistical issues and rain delays, but it ultimately came together better than what was originally in mind. My friend, Jasia Kaulbach, who I’ve known since 5th grade in Philly had directed a short video of me for BRIC in Brooklyn and I really liked how it had turned out. I’d wanted the video to be directed by a woman, so asking her was a no-brainer for me. I also wanted a woman of color involved, so she brought along DP Leyna Rowan. The song itself is a fantasy, so I wanted that to be conveyed in the video, but not in a cheesy or overly sexualized way. The whole thing is about embracing the beauty of sex, which I think as a woman is a very important message to send.

What kind of role do you think music plays in today’s culture and societal values?

I see music as a universal language, and because of that, I find it to be a very important element of our culture and society. Because it’s a universal language, I also think it’s very important that it’s sending messages that uplift us versus bring us down. Artists tend to be the mirror-holders to society, and it’s important that we take that responsibility seriously. <<

Listen to Madison McFerrin HERE!

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