By Annika Tomlin | November 8, 2021
Quarantine brought out true emotions and raw talent. Both can be said about rising alt-pop singer-songwriter Madeline the Person. She will be touring for the first time with the all-female indie-pop quartet the Aces, hitting the stage at Crescent Ballroom on Monday, November 22.
“I’m so excited, first of all, to meet the Aces and to become friends with them, and I’m so excited to meet the people that listen to my music,” says the singer, who was born Madeline Holste.
“I think that is what I’m most looking forward to. It’s really hard to imagine that these people are like real people, because it’s all been online and basically all of my career thus far has been online, even my signing and stuff, so meeting them in person will remind me that this is real life.”
Signed to Warner Records, Holste owes her career to social media.
“I started maybe in middle school posting covers on Instagram and would usually just get attention from the people that I knew,” the 20-year-old says.
“A few people that I didn’t know would comment on my things and I was like, ‘That’s the coolest thing ever.’ Often, I would sing kind of smaller artist’s songs and then they would comment or repost me, and that’s actually how I got my manager.”
Holste has the same manager as fellow artist Spencer Sutherland after she did a cover of one of his songs. Subsequently, TikTok helped her collect followers, which total 788,000. Social media also played a part in Holste’s stage name.
“I just wanted something cute and then I thought, ‘I’m a person,’ and was like that’ll work,” Holste says with a laugh.
“I really like to be honest within my music and life and being upfront about the fact that I have lots of feelings and I’m going to make mistakes, and I advocate for those things. Just kind of being upfront is really important to me.”
Madeline the Person signed with Warner Records after a Zoom call last year.
“I grew up in a pretty music family,” Holste says.
“My mom is a classical pianist and my brother used to play flamenco guitar and now he does jazz piano and compositions and stuff. (We’re a) pretty creative family who loves music and loves writing music. My dad was super into stereo equipment and stuff, so we would always listen to really good music on really good stereos growing up.”
Holste mirrored her mother. She started playing the piano at age 4 and continued her music journey.
The breakout star explored her own sound in sixth grade but really embraced the craft at 15 when her father died. Her first EP, “Chapter 1: The Longing,” dives into the highs and lows of her early life, including the loss of her dad.
“It’s super hard to go back to those times just because it’s painful,” she says. “Those were some of the hardest formative years of my life, but it’s super important to revisit it and see how far I have come and also kind of delve back in and reheal some of those wounds.
“It was really important for me in my healing process. More than anything my writing is just something that I do for me just to help me heal. It’s hard emotionally and it’s also hard to share it, but I did.”
The four-song EP was followed by her second collection of four songs, “Chapter 2: The Shedding,” which came out in September, serving as the second installment in a three-part series. Her second album explores matters of the heart, identity and sexuality.
“I kind of wanted to tell the story in a way that it happened, so ‘Chapter 1’ was more of my upbringing and the sadness of losing someone when you are young,” Holste says.
“‘Chapter 2: The Shedding’ is more about finding my identity and that happened in that order, so I wanted to talk about it in that order,” she says. “I was really excited to finally make songs about my journey with finding who I am.”
Her favorite song on her first EP was “Glady,” and “Unrecognizable” on the second.
Her song “Haunted” is an acoustic pop anthem that doubles as a coming-out statement. The arc of the song — losing a lover who’s gone “back in the closet” — mirrors her first romantic experience. Further touching on the emotional intensity of that point in her life, the music video for the song was filmed in her own closet.
Holste’s favorite artists include John Mayer and Joni Mitchell, both of whom she listened to “growing up, and both of their writing is a really big part of how I learned to write.” She also points to Aretha Franklin and Demi Lovato, who “sing from their soul,” as influences for her music.
“I did perform in a lineup with John Mayer, and that was like the biggest thing ever,” Holste says. “I still think about it sometimes and then I just freak out. It’s amazing. I still can’t believe it.”
Outside of going on tour with the Aces, Holste is working on her third EP.
“I won’t say much, but I’m really excited about it because it is a turn of events slightly,” Holste says.
“I’ll admit that it is super empowering, which is super exciting. Less on the sad reflective side and more on the empowerment side.”
The Aces w/Madeline the Person
When: 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22
Where: Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix
Cost: $20-$70, masks and proof of vaccination are required