Music. It’s all about emotions. “Every song has a different theme, tells a different story, depicts different emotions. I’m a very emotional person. I can be very happy or extremely sad. There’s not much in between for me. I want my songs to transport those feelings even if you don’t understand the words. In that sense my songs are like little shortfilms, just without the pictures, purely the soundtrack.”
Her debut album ‘Minutia’ therefore is an eclectic blend of impassioned songs made of piano, mbira, upright bass, cello, strings, harps, ticking clocks, S-Bahn sounds, water, paper, coffee brewing, stones, glass, ice, music boxes, steps and lots and lots of vocals. Madeleine set up a little homerecording studio in her living room in Berlin, where she locked herself in for days on end lost in her own sonic world writing, recording and producing her album almost entirely alone. She emerged with 12 multi-faceted songs that carry her distinct signature, show her knack for classical instrumentation, field recordings, intricate melodies and fragile, beautifully layered vocals. Her music is quirky and eccentric, yet catchy.
Madeleine grew up in East Germany, the oldest of two children. Her musical education already started as an infant when her parents whom she lived with in a tiny studio apartment had the idea to keep her quiet and happy by playing her music on headphones. So it came as no suprise that she started singing way before learning to speak. From the age of 6 she learned to play classical guitar, a little later sang in choirs until as a teenager she started her first band with friends. Since then she’s played and sung in various bands and projects. By sheer accident she stumbled upon electro-acoustic music while studying media design. “They offered courses in recording techniques and microphoning to a few select students at the music college. Very exciting for a geek like me! This opened a whole new universe of sound to me that I could work with. I remember being obsessed with all kinds of sounds from an early age on. Now I use them for beats or tune them to play them on the keyboard.”
As a performer she’s taking the DIY approach even further as a one-woman-band, playing keyboard and array mbira, singing, looping and triggering sounds. “If I could take more gear and instruments with me on stage I would, but since I don’t have a car I take as much as I can on public transport.”
She’s been compared to visionary artists like Björk, Kate Bush or Imogen Heap. A multi-instrumentalist with a unique style, Madeleine isn’t afraid to experiment to create haunting, inspiring music that takes you on a journey to her very own aurally emotive world. The colours and rhythmical contours telling their little extraordinary stories. In a world full of bubblegum pop, she’s found her own voice.
Photos by Olga Baczynska