Madeline Finn is coming into her own in 2020, releasing the next raw single “Love Me Like I Love You” under her eponymous solo project exclusively with AltPress.
The Cleveland musician first gained traction with pop-punk act Envoi, a band who once caught the attention of Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams via YouTube comment due to Finn’s powerhouse range. While the band eventually parted ways (and Finn recently reunited with them), she definitely hasn’t slowed down thanks to other musical avenues.
Finn ventured into more of a folk-tinged sound under the Whiskey Hollow beginning in 2015, releasing a debut full-length, X Waters, and Greenhouse EP in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Soon after, the vocalist grabbed her guitar and headed to American Idol in 2018, landing a golden ticket before being eliminated during “Hollywood Week.”
Following that stint, the vocalist recorded in an 18th century mansion for what would become her first release under Madeline Finn, Colerain Mansion EP. Finn closed out 2019 with a new single, “Save Yourself,” in December followed by an intimate music video.
Now, she’s opening up on the emotional experience that inspired her next song, “Love Me Like I Love You,” which you can see below along with the track.
Walk us through the writing process for “Love Me Like I Love You.” What inspired it, and how did it come together?
“Love Me Like I Love You” stems out of my own personal experience. It comes from a super-personal place. I had just gotten out of a relationship and was still cohabitating with that partner. One day, I sat down at my little MIDI keyboard and ended up spitting out the first verse. The rest flowed out from there. Music has always been how I cope in difficult situations, and I was feeling a lot of confusion based around still having feelings, understanding the unhealthy parts of the relationship and unraveling the whole process.
Tell us more about the inspiration behind the track’s lyrics. Why was it important for you to tell this story through music?
While diving into some of the more complex emotional parts of the experience, I found a lot of healing in writing this song. I realized that so much of the turmoil and toxicity came from misunderstanding along with poor communication. Facing the rawness of the whole ordeal head-on gave me a new perspective on conflict, especially in terms of a romantic relationship—one where I could attempt to understand and truly accept the other person without judgment. It’s funny because the whole song almost mirrors me finding the lesson in grief. I think the story shows what it’s like to have anger toward someone or a situation while still caring for them. It’s one big confusing hot mess, but man, it really helps you grow.
Sonically, the track builds from soft vocalization to a really full sound with more instrumentation. What was the significance of approaching the structure in this way?
I’m a total sucker for starting a song stripped down and then bringing out the big guns. However, this song goes a little beyond just enjoying the dynamic variation. I feel like starting pretty bare with a simple piano and vocal speaks to the fragility and vulnerability of coming to some of the harder realizations about unhealthy relationships. When the band kicks in, the drums are actually live takes drummer Tom [Stankiewicz] did that we then spliced into samples and manipulated. I really dig this part because it speaks to the repetitive and sometimes destructive cycles we can get into when we are fighting to make something work. As the song progresses and the energy builds, I wanted it to speak to the intensity and commotion that was going on in my inner monologue.
How has your sound progressed with this track compared to your other releases as a solo artist as well as with projects such as the Whiskey Hollow and Envoi? How is it different?
It really has been a journey, hasn’t it? [Laughs.] It’s so interesting to look back and observe how much my style has changed since Envoi released an EP in 2013. The Whiskey Hollow were an outlet to break off from the super-heavy, energetic pop-punk stuff and focus on more of my songwriting. Within a few years, that project went from being a solo Americana vibe to a total hard-rock full-band scenario. No matter what project I’m in, I always seem to gravitate back to more chill, ethereal and ambient music. So my first solo release, Colerain Mansion, was another chance to break away and get back to focusing on songwriting. But now, for the first time, I feel like I’ve found the balance with this release and “Save Yourself.” It’s the perfect, soul-feeding blend of chill singer-songwriter meets “I’m going to kick you in the teeth” rock ’n’ roll that I have such a blast with. With this new direction, the focus is above all else on the song…It’s all about serving the song.
Madeline Finn has a personal goal of playing 150 shows in 2020, and the first handful are scheduled over the next few weeks with tickets available here. She also plans to keep releasing plenty of new tunes, and you can keep up with her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Check out “Love Me Like I Love You” below.
02/15 – Marietta, GA @ The Loft (w/ Battlefield Collective, Michael Zaib)
03/01 – Nashville, TN @ the Bluebird Cafe