Canada’s pop genre has a new artist on the horizon. Her name is Madisyn Gifford and she’s taking this industry by storm with the release of her debut single “Without You” released via 604 Records. This ballad completely envelops you with all the raw emotion and innocence that eclipses through Gifford’s powerhouse and soulful vocals. The lyrics of “Without You” are so gripping that they belie this Vancouverite’s young age. Although her sound is her own, when listening to this 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s emotive vocals, one artist that comes to mind is Adele. And, this single is only a taste of what is to come from this rising star in the next year and beyond.
It was an honour to be asked to interview this upcoming, awe-inspiring lyricist/vocalist with her brilliant signature voice for Canadian Beats. Here is what Madisyn Gifford had to say about her debut single “Without You” and more.
So. Let’s get into it. People have a need to hear new music right about now and we at Canadian Beats would like to congratulate you on the release of your debut single “Without You.” With that being said, let’s chat about it. I actually love it. You have an “old soul” voice, a voice that transcends time.
“Without You” was one of the first songs you ever wrote, when you were just 17 years old. Can you tell us how this song came about and what it means to you?
Yeah! The song “Without You” came about in one of those bursts of inspiration in which it kind of feels as though the song is writing itself. I was going through a period in my life where a lot of things were up in the air and I was experiencing quite a bit of loss. I had so many feelings floating around in my head and this song was my way of getting them out. I remember being overcome with the most intense feeling of relief when I was done writing it; this song was very cathartic for me.
Colin Janz produced “Without You.” What was that experience like, especially because this is your debut single?
The experience working with Colin Janz on this song was incredibly smooth. We didn’t change too much about the song other than a few lyrics here and there and actually kept it pretty similar to the original demo. He did such an incredible job understanding the direction I wanted this song to go in and gave it so much magic and vibrancy! I absolutely love the production he did and we agreed on every aspect of the production while creating it.
It’s a really tough time for artists right now. Usually, when recording in a studio together, you can feed off each other’s energy and good vibes; make the necessary changes that come along with that. Were you able to get into a studio to record “Without You” or was it done remotely? How did personally feel when all was said and done?
Yes, it has definitely been a little bit more difficult than it was before to make music but luckily with proper precautions put in place I was able to go into the studio and record the song with Colin there. He knows my voice really well and I don’t think the song would have had quite the same feeling and power if he weren’t there to track all my vocals.
Do you have any fun stories to tell us about in the making “Without You” and what was the most special highlight for you?
I guess the highlight of making this song was when I first showed it to Colin! I prefaced it by saying “this is the second song I ever wrote so don’t put your expectations too high.” And, after I was done singing all he said was, “I love it, lets track it.” I honestly wasn’t expecting that at all so we had a good laugh. I’m glad we kept the song almost exactly how I originally wrote though, it feels really organic to me.
Congratulations on signing with 604 Records. Tell us about your new venture with them. How did your signing with them come about?
Thank you! My time with 604 Records initially came about when I was in a duo and we were offered a demo deal together. Eventually my partner and I amicably parted ways and the label proceeded to offer me a solo deal! I was over the moon excited and so ready to make the music I had always wanted to with their help. My experience with them so far has been incredible! It’s such and lovely and supportive environment to be a part of.
Your upcoming EP Learning to Exist is being released in early 2021. What can you share about this with us? Are all the songs written? How many tracks will be on it? Did you write all the songs yourself or did you collaborate with other songwriters?
Yes! My EP will be coming out next year and I am so beyond excited to share the work Colin and I have done with the world. It will most likely have eight tracks and all of the songs are written and ready! Most of the songs started with my writing and then Colin and I finished them off together and one track was also co-written with Mathew V! I’m so happy with the work that we’ve done and I’m so ready to share it!
The first few releases from an artist are usually an exercise in character building. They begin to establish who you are and what you are about as an artist. Which song from the upcoming EP do you believe would best represent who you as an artist at this stage of your career.
I honestly don’t think that I could pick one track of the EP that characterizes me as an artist because I think all of the tracks work together in order to do that! Colin and I explored quite a few different styles in this EP and I think each one of them is a different one of my interests as an artist.
Is there an artist(s) that had a profound influence on you; that made you want to do this as a living?
There are quite a few artists that I could point to throughout my life that inspired me to do this as my career in many different ways. First, it was probably Sarah McLachlan. Her’s was the first concert I ever went to and I used to fall asleep to a burned CD of all my favourite songs of hers every night as a kid. I remember being around six or seven and watching her on stage just thinking, “wow, I wanna do that someday.” Other big influences and inspirations for me include Stevie Nicks, Ani Difranco, Taylor Swift, Gregory Alan Isakov, Ben Howard, and Norah Jones.
What do you think your “biggest break” or your “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your music career?
My greatest opportunity so far in music has most definitely been signing with 604 Records! I remember watching music videos by some of my favourite artists when I was around 11 or 12 and seeing “604 Records” at the end of them and thinking “wow I want that!” I never actually thought that I would get it, but I am so beyond grateful that I did.
How has Covid-19 affected what you were doing with your music? What are some adjustments that you have had to make to your social media accounts due to this Coronavirus pandemic?
The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make to my social media accounts due the pandemic is getting creative about how I’m going to get pictures! In the beginning, I did a lot of at-home photo shoots using a sheet as a backdrop or setting up my phone on self-timer, etc! In that regard, it’s actually been a lot of fun. I love pushing my boundaries a bit and getting creative.
Rising to the challenge of this pandemic, what is one message you would give to your fans and other young aspiring artists?
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone I would always just say to be kind always. Nobody wants to show support to a mean-spirited person and the universe always rewards kindness! Plus it feels really good to just be kind.
With all the many social media platforms that exist today telling the world your life story, is there anything about each of you that would be of interest to your fans; something that they couldn’t find on your own social network or even Google?
Hmmmm … I guess a fact about me that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere is that even though I’ve been singing since I could talk my real love of music actually began with dance. I grew up in competitive dance and it wasn’t until I started exploring my musical artistry through movement that I really began to appreciate it. I think understanding music in that way has also really helped me in creating my own so I’m really grateful for those experiences.
And last but not least, if you can have one thing that your fans could remember about you, what would it be?
If I could hope for anyone to remember any one thing about me it would be that everything I do is done with the best intentions and with only kindness in my heart. Like I said earlier, I always just strive to be kind. I hope people remember me that way.
Hi all. I’m Nanci Dagg. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have lived my entire life here. There is nothing I like better than supporting local artists followed by supporting Canadian artists. Although I was a classic rock gal, my go to genre is country. Something about this music that just makes me feel great. I can be found at most country music concerts and shows (from someone’s house to really large venues) taking lots of pictures. Music and photography are two of my passions. Add to this mix, writing about artists, well let’s say, life doesn’t get better than this.