We reached out to Mad Welsley about her music and video and career and it went like this.
Photo by Sammy Hearn
Cage Riot: First of all thank you for taking the time to talk with us, we love hearing about artists and their climb.
Tell us the origin of your stage name “Mad Welsley”.
Mad Welsley: I wish I could tell you this crazy story about how it came to be, but the truth is growing up everyone always called me Mad (short for Madison) and Welsley is my middle name, so I just kept it like that.
CR: We watched the video for Bedroom. It's a great watch and lyrically this is a great song (well - not just lyrically - you know what we mean lol). It’s just that we love interesting and well thought out lyrics that make you think, chuckle, or wonder. We really enjoy the “Britney” we hear in your music. Side note, we love all kinds of music, and she is no exception!
The music video was simple but had a lot of visuals we were impressed by. Tell us who helped you create this. The overhead shots were suggestive and well planned. Also, the mattresses stacked up high; is that a visual representation of something? To me, it felt like your bedroom is very open and available because you are outside, but the height gave me a sense that you are a powerful and confident individual and that your partner needs to lift themselves to your level.
MW: First of all, THANK YOU for the Britney reference! She was a major part of my childhood (I’m sure most can relate) so that is truly an amazing compliment! As far as the visuals go for the Bedroom video, it was really just a dream collaboration with my photographer, Sammy Hearn, and I. I told her that I wanted to recreate a bedroom outside and she sent me a picture of a dozen mattresses stacked in a field and I was instantly obsessed.
It wasn’t an easy process – we had to source mattresses for several weeks and then haul them to this field for just a couple of hours of shooting, but it was worth it.
Jill Pugh did the hair and makeup, which was also a pretty fun and creative process. I had to paint Styrofoam balls brown to stuff in my hair extensions to get that perfect round shape. Jill absolutely crushed it though and really rose to the challenge.
Since I’m working with such a small budget (my own, lol), at the end of every shoot, we just film a few takes of me singing and then I’ll go home and edit the full visualizer myself.
I think we instinctively created this world of beauty and power without ever really realizing what we were doing until after. So, yes, you are 100% correct in what you said, but that representation of myself, my bedroom, and my partner didn’t even occur to me until it was all said and done. I just had a vision and had to see it through and I didn’t ask my creative self any questions during the process.
CR: Wow, that explanation shows how much goes into something like this. I didn’t even think of how hard so many mattresses are to move around. Your team did great, kudos to them. We like the Jasmine from Aladdin vibe your hair had too.
CR: Another thing we remembered the whole video after only viewing. In marketing, it's important to accomplish your brand being remembered. We wanted to compliment you on making your brand and message instantly memorable.
MW: Thank you! That’s something that I’ve really been working on. I got my degree in Business and Marketing so I have a ton of fun coming up with the branding around my music.
CR: The song is obviously about a sexual and emotional relationship with someone. Is there a specific person who this song is about or maybe a past experience? Tell us how this story came to be.
MW: It’s not about any one specific. I really believe that this song is for every woman embracing their sexiness and sexuality. It’s an anthem for the boss bitches out there who know what they want.
CR: We noticed Songwriters: Anna Kline and Jonathan Jircitano as well as yourself on the track “Bedroom”. Tell us about this collaboration of writers.
MW: Ah, Jonathan and Anna are literally a dream team.
Anna is one of the best up and coming pop artists I know. She helped me write both “LMK” and “Bedroom” and I just love the way she thinks about melodies and storylines, and she’s also one of my favorite people to just sit and talk with. I’m honestly so lucky to be able to work with her as much as I do.
Jonathan Jircitano is an old friend of mine, writer for Prescription Songs, touring guitarist for Jordan Davis and also my producer for most of my releases. We’ve known each other for about 10 years and I just knew that he was the perfect guy to help me put together my solo project.
CR: The industry has a strong emphasis on group projects. Did you decide to work within a group because of this “suggestion”? (I hear about it so much it feels that way) Can you name something in the music industry you feel was not a good idea that the “industry” was suggesting artists do?
MW: All I can say to the first part of this question is, it takes a village. In no way would I be able to do anything that I’m doing right now on my own and I am so thankful for the creative team I have built around me. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing by myself, but there is something to be said about the magic that happens when you’re collaborating with people that you admire and trust. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
For the second half of your question…. absolutely, 1,000% yes. Our industry is so imperfect and there are a lot of people making the decisions that are in it for the wrong reasons. Business aside though, I think the worst and most confusing part of it for an artist is being told that from an audience perspective, you have to stay in one specific genre or style in order to take off. This has always been hard for me and as a result I’ve been in so many different bands in different genres that didn’t go anywhere because, I believe now, I wasn’t being true to myself. I’ve been told that my music is “genre-defying” because I pull from so many different musical inspirations when I’m writing and recording and you can hear that and it’s a fun and unique experience and people like it. So short answer long, if you’re an artist and someone is trying to tell you what kind of music to make and it doesn’t sit well with you, follow your heart and make something that you believe in.
CR: I totally agree with you.
CR: We saw you were also in a band before called Stealing Oceans. Tell us about your experience with that.
MW: Stealing Oceans was a 7-piece hip-hop funk band that Brian Thompson and I formed together around 2014. We just wanted to create a high energy, live show with a horns section and no tracks, which was pretty unique for hip-hop music especially. He and I wrote all of the songs together and ended up spending a lot of our time in LA because there wasn’t a very big pop scene in Nashville at the time. However, we got to play the Basement East grand opening weekend, Exit/In, 3rd and Lindsley… all of the major venues in Nashville. Those years really taught me a lot about performing and the music industry as a whole at a pretty young age and I’m so thankful for it now.
CR: How long have you been living in Nashville? We travel very frequently but have been there for years and seen everything from the drunken crowds of Broadway to the heartfelt feel of the writer rounds. Can you share with us your personal experiences or maybe tell other artists thinking of coming to Nashville what to expect?
MW: I’ve been in Nashville for about 12 years now. My family moved here from Memphis when I was going into my junior year in High School. I decided to stay in town for college and have just loved it so much I never left. I feel like there is such a great sense of community in both the creative and business side of the music industry that really can’t be matched anywhere else. People are starting to realize just how great it is though, haha, and the prices for literally everything are going up. So if you’re an artist planning on moving here, plan on having several jobs to pay for your career and living. It’s not easy, but if you give this city enough time, it’s worth it.
CR: What are your travel / touring plans? We saw some of your fan comments in IG and they really want to see you!!!
MW: I’m still trying to figure that out! I have a show in Nashville on March 16th at the Virgin Rooftop and that’s all I have on the books for now. Keep an eye out on my socials and website (www.madwelsley.com) for more info though!!
CR: What part of the musical creation is the most enjoyable to you?
MW: I love being in the studio. It’s kind of a safe place for me and I’m my happiest when I’m just hanging out and recording.
CR: Tell us something that most people don’t know about you and your career but is really important to you.
MW: I am an unsigned artist, with no management and a very small creative team, which means I have to fund myself and be my own boss. I have several jobs to help make this happen but most of the time that means I’m working 10-12hour shifts in a bar and then waking up early the next morning to go record, write or film. I say all of this to shed light on the *very* unglamorous side of this career…. It’s not an easy job. So my advice to any young artist that might be reading this now is: put your head down, put in the work, give it time, but most importantly, take care of yourself in the process.
CR: And finally, what can you leak to us about any new music plans?
MW: My next single comes out on March 11th!!! Pre-save “Get What I Want” here - https://ffm.to/gwiwpre-save
CR: You heard her!
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