By Jen Miller
Madison Lawrence is a striking human being. I’m not 100% sure how I first heard of Madison (probably shared enemies on the internet), but I do know I could tell from afar we would be kindred:
@madisonlawrence you're a cool human. next time i'm in nashville, let's meet up (or visa versa if you come east coast)
— Jen Miller (@jenmillersayshi) July 1, 2015
@jenerallyspeaks agreed dude i'm super down
— Madison Lawrence (@madisonlawrence) July 1, 2015
I’m extra pleased to share a very small part of her story.
The Roots of Madison Lawrence
Madison Lawrence is a pop singer and songwriter, who previously reached notoriety as a Vine personality, where she posted singing and comedy videos (hint: she’s funny as shit). She got her start in musical theater at the age of 3, and started to write songs and perform at the age of 14.
She grew up in Columbia, Maryland and relocated to New York City, back home again, then made the move to Nashville to go to MTSU in April 2014. Since deciding to move to Nashville in the spring of 2014 to pursue a full-time music career, she’s still working with the same bandmates she met when she first landed in Nashville in 2014: Chris Croce (bass) and David Lukens (keys). “If I need one of them, they’re right there for me. They’re the best friends that I could have made (down) here,” she said.
“A More Than One Gender Kind of Bisexual”
I wanted to talk to Madison in person about her art because she’s always been extremely vocal on Twitter about things she’s passionate about, as well as just visible speaking her own truths. A self-identified bisexual woman who easily discusses non-monogamy, sexual expression, gender nonconformity, Madison is at ease discussing all of these topics.
“I’m the bisexual that’s a more than one gender kind of bisexual. And I’m sure there’s obviously a lot more out there. I knew that I was bisexual — I knew that I was into girls since eighth grade. I mean I knew it before that, but… then South of Nowhere came out on the N. And it was about two gay girls. Spencer, a gay woman, and was trying to figure herself out in high school, and I realized then that I was definitely into girls, because I wanted that relationship with my best friend.”
Madison says she’s still best friends with her to this day.
Madison came out to her mom at midnight on a whim, and shared with me how she tackled the tricky subject of discussing pronouns openly with her. Madison said with a smile on her face retelling the story, “You have all these plans for your daughter, and you have to learn all this new terminology and understand that when you refer to your future spouse, you need to be gender neutral with it because you don’t know. And she does that now!”
While Madison expressed a real acceptance from her family and friends, it’s not that being herself hasn’t come with struggles. “My family has had a little bit of an issue. Just because I think they have to deal with a lot of people that I don’t have to deal with… that I choose not to deal with. Their family friends, coworkers, who follow me on social media, who follow me for my music,” she said.
Just keeping it real.
Our discussions of sexuality quickly lead us to discussing non-monogamy and authentic relating:”Authentic relating community. Authentic relation. It’s relating to people authentically,” she says. “That means coming to them truthfully, honestly, with as much intention as you possibly can and making sure that everything you do is intentional.”
Her introduction to the authentic relating community was through friends she met on YouTube, Conor and Brittany. Here’s their channnel trailer:
Madison on Conor/Brittany:
“They’re amazing people. They deal a lot with Authentic Relation, which is a community and technique that encourages strengthening your communication and relation to the people around you!”
No matter the topic discussed with Madison, I found us both fixating on how every individual should be allowed the safety and comfort to be themselves. “All these communities that are so open and let you explore yourself is so refreshing. It’s so funny bringing that sutff to the main stream has givin people the agency and the inspiration to really feel comfortable with themselves.”
A staunch feminist, Madison says she wants everyone to find empowerment in their own ways: “Regarding sexuality, it’s something that’s important to me. I’m very open with my sexuality. I think it’s something I’ve found empowerment in. Honestly, I want everyone to find empowerment in whatever sexuality means to you. If you don’t want to tell anyone about your sex life and you don’t want to talk about it ever, that’s on you and that’s your perogative. For me, I’ve found a lot of power in it. Especially body-wise, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with my body over the last few years,” she said.
Music Licensing and Song Placements
Now, Madison is in the process of finishing school with a degree in Applied Leadership (she says, “it’s the study of effective leadership”) and plans to continue doing music licensing and shows. “We [Madison, Joe Tounge, Nate Dodge] have a whole licensing band together. A lot of the E Network has a lot of our stuff on it,” she says. “Being in front of licensing now is really different for me. It’s something that, like you said, is very intentional.”
The initial connection to the licensing company happened through a friend, and they are now soon to be under Music Box Licensing. With songs placed on shows like The Kardasians, they’re doing well. When asked if the writing process for placements is the same as her own music, she shared a story about the making of her song “Lies”.
“When we’re doing writing for licensing, we have a track first. Me and Joe Tounge get together for a writing session, and typically write the whole thing. We got together in the studio that we had in the basement of the studio at the publishing company we were at and we wrote the whole thing in twenty minutes.”
You can hear their whole collection of songs written (some of which have been used in TV and commercials in the last year):
After we wrapped up the brief interview, we decided to leave the bar as soon as they CRANKED the 2005 tunes they were blaring, so Madison and I had a laugh and caught a Lyft from Downtown Nashville out to East Nashville, where the normal people in Nashville live (*wink wink*). We weren’t really aware of what we were getting ourselves into, but I honestly have not laughed so hard in a minute. The driver had developed a game in her car (?), where you pulled a dare card and if you did it, got to leave a dare for the next rider. Please enjoy this video, then follow and keep up with Madison. She’s fantastic.
This is the moment @madisonlawrence thought it was all over when our @Lyft ride got weird. HAHAHA. Spoiler alert: nobody died. Madison is a mega talented Nashville-based songwriter and artist, and our editor @jenmillersayshi met up with her to discuss authentic relating, coming out to her mom, and music publishing / licensing in Nashville. http://girlgangmusic.com/ml2018/