Lily & Madeleine
IT has been enjoyable speaking with the duo...
Lily & Madeleine who have been telling me about their current single, Analog Love, and how that came together. I ask them what we can expect from their upcoming album, Canterbury Girls, and what they have planned moving forward – they select some rising artists worth watching out for.
I ask how they found one another and why they moved to New York; which albums mean the most to them and whether we might see them tour very soon – they reveal whether they’ll come to the U.K. and end the interview with some great music.
Hi, Lily and Madeleine. How are you? How has your week been?
Madeleine: We're good! Just keeping busy and trying to stay warm in Brooklyn, N.Y.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Madeleine: Sure! I'm Madeleine, Lily's older sister. We're from Indiana and just moved to N.Y.C. about a year ago. We write indie Folk/Pop music and recorded our most recent record, Canterbury Girls, with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk in Nashville, TN where our label New West Records is based. We both play keys and Lily also plays guitar.
When did you decide to record music to together? Was it a natural move for you both?
Madeleine: We started writing and recording when we were both in high-school and it started out as just a fun project. After signing to Asthmatic Kitty Records and releasing our E.P., suddenly we realized that we could write and play as a career and began pursuing a career in music since then.
Lily: We had been singing around the house and writing little jingles our whole lives. Since then, we've made four full albums together!
Analog Love is your new track. Tell me how that track came to be.
Madeleine: We wrote Analog Love with our friend Lucie Silvas in Nashville a couple years ago. We usually don't start with the title of the song first but Lucie had the idea for the title and we went on from there. The song is about finding an uncomplicated and reassuring romantic relationship. Lily and I are often on tour, therefore our relationships must be long-distance. The distance can get frustrating, so finding a solid, real, ‘analog’ relationship was the inspiration there.
Lily: We also don't write a lot of love songs because it can be hard to capture that emotion of longing without being too melodramatic. I think writing Analog Love was one of the only times I could express those feelings without being overwhelmed. And Lucie was amazing to write with, as always!
It is from the upcoming album, Canterbury Girls. What sort of themes and ideas might we find on the album?
Madeleine: Canterbury Girls is the most intimate and powerful project we've ever made. Each song tells a story of heartache, triumph; pain and, finally, self-love.
Lily: I think the album is really about perseverance. We talk about the concept of ‘emotional baggage’ on a lot of the songs, but the album as a whole sends a message of staying strong and open while still processing your pain and acknowledging that you deserve better.
You moved to New York early last year. How important was it to locate there and be in one of the world’s most inspiring places?
Madeleine: Our move to N.Y.C. was kind of random. We knew we wanted to leave Indiana but we weren't sure where to go. I was living with a boyfriend at the time and wasn't even sure I wanted to leave my relationship and my whole life behind. Lily gave me the strength to leave that toxic relationship and move to one of the most inspiring and exciting places. We found an apartment on Facebook and put down a deposit that day.
We flew out here with few belongings and have spent a year exploring, writing; eating, being lonely; meeting new friends and finding new inspiration. New York is incredible.
Lily: Honestly, I just wanted to get out of the Midwest, make a new change and take a step forward in my life! I was between L.A. and New York, but we decided New York made more sense.
When you were all growing up, what sort of music inspired you?
Madeleine: I remember getting my own iPod Shuffle when I was young and listening to Enya, Simon & Garfunkel; Green Day and Shania Twain. I loved anything with a catchy melody and harmony.
Lily: I liked listening to artists that made music I couldn't fathom creating myself. Singers with unbelievable vocal ranges like Celine Dion and really interesting songwriters like Arcade Fire and The Shins.
Do you think it is hard for female artists to get noticed in 2019? Have you found obstacles placed in your way because you are young women?
Madeleine: Certainly, some people don't take us as seriously because we're young and female. But I've found there's a lot to learn about the industry and, when people give us the chance to show our worth, we're able to learn so much more.
Lily: Eh, yeah, of course. But, sometimes, it's fun when people underestimate you because it can be sooo satisfying to prove them wrong.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Madeleine: We toured with Joshua Radin in Europe in 2017 and it was an amazing experience. We got to see so many beautiful cities and play to wonderful people. I can't wait to come back to Europe.
Lily: We got to play with the Indianapolis Symphony when I was like sixtteen or seventeen. It was crazy to hear a song I wrote being arranged and played by such fantastic musicians. I hope we'll get to do that again sometime.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Madeleine: The album, I Want That You Are Always Happy, by The Middle East is very special to me. I originally found it at the library and borrowed it because the cover art was so strange. Turns out it has fourteen beautiful, original and emotional tracks. I listened to the album many times while going through a tough transitional period in my life and I think it brought me peace in that time.
Lily: I bought Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes for my car cd player and listened to it for hours while I drove all over the Midwest. Gimme All Your Love is SERIOUSLY one of the best songs ever in my opinion. It never gets old. And the album has a really nice range of genre influences and mood switches that keeps your attention and makes it perfect for a long drive.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Madeleine: I would love to open for Kacey Musgraves! Her live shows look so fun and she is so talented and beautiful! My dream rider would include fancy French pastries and endless coffee.
Lily: Yeah. Kacey or Kehlani. Kehlani has an incredible voice and I'd love to watch her show from backstage and drink champagne.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Madeleine: Write from the heart; don't try so hard. You have all the words within you. I would also say that to be successful you must be more than just an artist. You need to know how to book shows, made merchandise; create a budget, hire other musicians if needed; promote your music online, create connections in the industry. Being your own business owner will make you an even better artist in the long run.
Lily: Artists on the come up think way too much about their image. Don't be afraid to look stupid or be yourself because, if you focus too much on copying current fashion or music trends, it's just gonna seem inauthentic and cheesy. Be ugly and weird and as quiet or as loud as you want to be.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Madeleine: We don't have any U.K. shows booked yet but we're working on it. For now, you can catch us in the States on the East Coast in Feb/March and on the West Coast in late-March. (We're hoping to come to U.K./E.U. after that...stay tuned.)
Lily: We WILL be there soon!
IN THIS PHOTO: Lennon Stella
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Madeleine: I'm LOVING Lennon Stella lately. She is a young lady writing and recording in the Nashville Pop scene and she first started out with her younger sister. Her music is fun and also poignant. She just released an E.P. late last year.
Lily: We saw a woman named Cassandra Jenkins perform in Manhattan last week and I thought it was just amazing. She had a beautiful string section with her during her live performance and when I listened to her studio versions on Spotify the songs were just as amazing!
IN THIS PHOTO: Cassandra Jenkins
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Madeleine: Lily and I try to rehearse every day but, when we need a moment to relax, we love to knit and crochet while watching Netflix. Knitting is also nice to do on tour because it's meditative yet productive.
Lily: Yeah. Madge and I love working on a knitting/crochet project and bingeing a new series. I also like playing video games and taking longgg walks in New York while listening to an album or a podcast.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that)
Madeleine: I choose Months by The Middle East from their record, I Want That You Are Always Happy
Lily: I choose Dreamlover by skinny legend Mariah Carey
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