Live Review & Interview: Maggie @ The Hotel Cafe

Live Review & Interview: Maggie @ The Hotel Cafe

LA transplant, Maggie, has been in Los Angeles for less than a year, but she’s already IMG_0922 - Copytaking the city by storm. Her smooth and soulful style of pop music has infiltrated some of the cities greatest venues, where her authentic and positive songwriting style speaks to the heart of those who watch her. She’s no stranger to the spotlight, her debut album Now Hear Me Out was released through Canadian record label, Linus Entertainment in 2012, and caused a flurry of excitement in her home country. She’s pop music dipped in the heart of a soul singer, with a little edge and a whole lot of attitude. Her newest single, Tidal Waves and Hurricanes, is a song about perseverance and triumph. Triumph over your own fears. Which, obviously, is the greatest kind.

I was lucky enough to attend Maggie’s show at The Hotel Cafe on Saturday night, which also happen to be the release party for her new music video Tidal Waves and Hurricanes. The entire audience was treated to an early viewing of it before it officially launches later this week on RyanSeacrest.com.

A bubbly and sweet ball of energy, Maggie is shocking when she takes the stage, diving deeper into herself to pull out the meaning of each song. Her brand of pop music is infused with smooth, eccentric vocals that set her apart from the pop singers currently topping the chart. Her opening song, Crazy Love You, has a sugary sweet hook that is reminiscent of more laid back pop like Colbie Caillat while still possessing a bit more OOMPH. From there she doubled the energy in the room with a high powered version of her pop anthem, Lovesick. Through all the highs and lows, her unyielding energy, she didn’t miss a single note. She possess all the qualities of a soul vocalist, no over stylization, just perfectly executed riffs that make sense with the emotive qualities of the song.

IMG_0915 - CopyThere’s one thing for sure, there’s a reason that Maggie generated interested with record labels from the start; she has what it takes to truly be a star. From her vocals to her infectious songwriting, there’s no doubting that she’ll make her mark on the world of pop and it will mean something when it does. She writes from the heart and when she performs she allows herself to get lost in the meaning of the words. From the ballad where she begged herself with soft cooing vocals not to relapse to the strength she possessed throughout Tidal Waves and Hurricanes, there’s not a melody or meaning that Maggie can’t take command of.

Keep your eyes on RyanSeacrest.com for the debut of her music video and check out the interview and single below!

 

 

So, you’re from a small town in Canada, right?

It’s a super small town called Dundas, it’s in Ontario, just about an hour west of Toronto.

Being from such a small town, how did you get started in  music?

Since I was 3 year old, I knew I wanted to do music. I loved singing and dancing, I just IMG_0911 - Copyloved everything involving music and being in front of people. I don’t know where exactly it came from, since my family doesn’t do music, it’s just something that I really fell in love with. Growing up, my mom would play music, and in that way I learned to appreciate artists like Carol King and Eva Cassidy. Music is something I started immersing myself in. Then I started taking singing lessons and writing songs, and it just grew from there.

What was it that got you into songwriting? What really made you want to develop that?

I started writing poems when I was 10 years old. Just about silly stuff like my grandma and my family. Then it just happened, I started turning them into songs and melodies. I had a vocal coach who motivated me and supported that. He said, “Songwriting is a great tool, you should learn and develop that more.” So, since I was 13 I’ve really worked and focused on that. When I was that age I wrote my first song from front to back and it kept going on from there. I started turning to other songwriters in my area, and in Toronto, and I’d attend events and songwriting seminars. I just wanted to learn as much as I could about it.

As far as songwriting and performing, what artists have really inspired who you are as an artist and the direction of your music?

Oh man… Eva Cassidy is a vocalist that I listened to a lot growing up. She’s passed away now but her voice is always something that I loved. My mom would play her music and I would listen to it and try and sing along with her.  Carol King and Tracy Chapman were other artists that I really admired because of their voices and the fact that they were female songwriters. I really admired that, especially Carol King. I sang some Jazz growing up as well, like Etta James, so there’s a lot of different artists but definitely Carol King is one of my biggest influences.

I can hear that. You sing pop music but it’s very soulful and almost bluesy. It’s so different and it definitely sets you apart.

Exactly! Thank you! I love pop music and I love listening to the radio, and I appreciate a lot of current artists. But I also have a love for soul and jazz, so I think that shows in my music as well.

Defintiely! You moved from Canada to Nashville, where you were eventually offered a contract with a Canadian record label. How did that all play out?

I was 18 and one day I decided, after graduating high school, that I really wanted to pursue music. So I drove to Nashville for two weeks, a 14 hour drive from where I’m from, and I did it by myself. In that two weeks, I was like “Oh my god, I love this place!” Being from a small town you’re not really used to having music everywhere. Or that much inspiration around you. So, I drove back home to pack up all my stuff and ended up in Nashville for a year and a half. In that time I met a producer and we recorded an EP, which got me some label attention from Linus Entertainment, and they ended up offering me a deal. I took, it was  great opportunity to record my album and get the music released. I went back home for 2 years, worked on the album, and released it. I worked a lot, it was a great experience, but then I decided I wanted to take my music to the next level. So, that’s what brought me to Los Angeles, I’ve been here since April of 2013.

IMG_0913 - CopyAnd what made you want to come to LA?

I loved Nashville and it was a great place, especially for songwriting, but I visited LA before I moved here and really liked the energy. I felt like the style of music was more attuned with what I did. There’s a lot of pop music here so it seemed like a really good fit for me. There were a lot of great songwriters and producers that I met. When I came out here I just knew it would be a great spot for me.

So you like it?

I love it. LOVE it!  I miss my family but I don’t really miss living in Canada as much as I thought I would. It’s such a great big city with so many creative people, it’s got so much energy and so much going on that it’s a great place to be for music.

What are you working on now that you’re all settled?

Well, we’re releasing the music video for Tidal Waves and Hurricanes this week, it’s premiering tonight at The Hotel Cafe.  I wanted to give all the amazing people that come out to my shows all the time a chance to see it first. Right now I’m writing and working on more material for an EP or an album, just depending on what comes from all of it.  I’m going to New York in a few weeks to start working on that. I met a producer in New York, we’ve been skyping for a few months. Since I’ve been in LA I’ve just been writing every day, it’s a great environment for tha. So, I’m excited to see what NYC inspires.

And do you write with other people or mostly on your own?

I do a little of both. I have a few people that I love to write with here and then sometimes I want to write by myself. I try to balance it out. I think it’s good to know how to write by yourself but it’s great to know how to collaborate with other people as well.

You have a really positive vibe in your music. Do you feel like that’s going to be in the new material or is it going to be a little bit different than what people are used to hearing?

I think with an artist it’s always kind of a bit different from album to album. I feel like IMG_0914with myself, I wanted to take this opportunity to write music that’s super honest and straight from my heart. I don’t want to be afraid to hold back anything. I want it to be purely me, honest, so that people can relate and get really inspired by what I’m saying. There’s so much stuff that we all go through in this world, especially girls, and it’s always nice to feel like someone else is going through that too. I want my music to be that.

Do you go into writing with the intention of writing a song that people can relate to or is it purely personal?

I think it’s both. Being honest and opening up and not really caring about anything else except what I want to say, it enables people to relate to it, because they feel that honesty. Not letting anything get in the way and expressing what I’m feeling through the music and the lyrics, naturally people will relate to it.

You’ve being performing a lot in Los Angeles, right?

Yeah! I’ve been performing here, at the Hotel Cafe, Molly Malones, Witz End, The House of Blues… a lot of great places. But this is definitely one of my favorite spots.  This is kind of like home to me.

Awesome. And when you go into a performance and you’re about to step on stage, what’s going through your head?

I always get a bit nervous before. But I really just want to enjoy it. I don’t want to let myself get so nervous. I’m here in this moment, I’m on stage, this is what I’ve always wanted to do and what I love to do. Whatever happens, happens.

Tell me a little bit about the video for “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes.” IMG_0916

We shot it all over California. We went to super cool locations like Red Sands, an amazing desert, and this beach with all these caves an hour north of Santa Barbara. Mobi, who directed the video, was someone I instantly connected with. When he listened to the song he loved it and wanted to shoot this really cool video. It’s something we’ve been working on for a couple months, it’s finally done, so I’m really excited! Shooting it was a lot of fun because I’m not from here, so it was a chance for me to explore California and find all these really cool spots.

Finally, what was the inspiration behind your single “Tidal Waves and Hurricanes” and what does it mean to you?

I wrote it when I got to LA with my friend Andrew. The inspiration came from the fact that I was in this new city by myself, I didn’t know anyone when I got here, and I was homesick. It’s a huge process, first of all moving from a small town to a big city, and secondly it’s a different country. So it was a big deal, big change. I wrote the song based on that and to remind myself that we all go through hard stuff, but at the end of the day we are strong enough to get through.

 

 

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