Sometimes, you have to let your heart lead you out of your comfort zone. At least that’s how Madison Paris, a twenty-something songbird from Slough, England, kick-started her music career. Seamlessly meshing soul and R&B, her discography—particularly her latest project, Blue Hour—displays both her lyricism and comfort in vulnerability. And she’s just getting started. At the end of 2021, a year of both denouement and unexpected change, I sat down with Madison to talk about childhood, creativity, and the power of manifestation.
Madison is a calm and reassuring presence. Her platinum blonde bangs are striking against a head of dark curls, making her instantly recognizable. She later tells me that she dyed these herself, and despite her apprehension, they turned out pretty well. I have to agree. The two-toned hair, alongside what she calls her “grandad glasses,” have recently become Madison’s signature look, part of her plan to carve a unique identity for herself in the ever-crowded music industry. As an R&B artist in the UK, where the music scene can often feel quite limiting, she’s been doing a great job setting herself apart from the crowd.
Adolescent Content: So tell me a little bit about your background. Have you always been interested in music?
Madison Paris: I think when I was young I wanted to be a singer-slash-actress because I thought it was super easy. (Laughs.) But I always loved music and performing in general—I have a really musical family.
Adolescent: Was there a specific moment when you remember deciding that you wanted to make music?
Madison: I loved writing poems when I was young, and that naturally turned into making songs… And then my early 20s are when I started actually getting in the studio.
Adolescent: You deferred uni for a year—what did you do during that time?
Madison: I was working in PR, and I worked for a creative agency as well. Now I actually run my own creative agency which is really cool.
Adolescent: Cool. What's it called?
Madison: Ruled By Mars. I run it with my friend. I'm a Scorpio and she's an Aries, so we're both ruled by Mars. We started last year in lockdown, and it's been really fun—we get to meet a lot of really cool artists and do interviews and things like that. So it's amazing [to mix] my two loves. Because we all know that money from music is very slow.
Adolescent: How did you get started making and releasing music? I know distribution and marketing can be confusing.
Madison: I kind of just started through social media. There's a really massive scene in London but in Slough it's not really poppin' like that. (Laughs.) So I just started by following…producers who had studios, and I [did a lot of learning] on the job.
Adolescent: Do you ever produce?
Madison: I’m learning! I make beats at home but I'm not confident enough to do that in the studio yet. (Laughs.) It's a work in progress.
Adolescent: You didn’t realize anything between 2019 and 2021. During that hiatus, were you working on music? Taking a break?
Madison: I was having a little bit of an existential crisis. I think we all were because of COVID. So yeah, I was taking a bit of a break. I mean, I was still creating music—I created Blue Hour in 2020, into 2021—but I was mostly just figuring out who I wanted to be. When you're an artist there's a lot of trial and error, and often we start really young… I'm 25, which is still super young, but I think in terms of the music industry it’s seen as a bit older, especially as a woman.
Adolescent: Was there any meaning behind Blue Hour’s name or its tracklist?
Madison: So, blue hour is the hour before the sun rises or the hour after it sets. It’s a really beautiful blue, as seen in the artwork. But for me, going through the pandemic, it represented the transition and change [of my sound]. I think often as an artist, you're trying to rush to the end goal—you know, get the Grammy—and you miss out on the beautiful moments. So I made [this project] to remind myself that the moments in between are just as special and incredible in themselves. The whole tracklist kind of embodies that. “Naughts and Crosses” is about being in limbo, and “Notice Me” is about not feeling seen for who you are. It really embodied where I was at mentally. I always like to say I’m in the blue hour of my life right now, because we’re in the middle of it and it’s really cool.