The thing about most people is that they give up, but Mademe X is not one of them. “You see this one here?” She picks up a gold crown made of X’s. “I almost left it behind at a photo shoot, from where they basically chased me out. You see…we didn’t really have permission to shoot there.”
When asked if that ruined her day, she laughs it off. “Are you kidding me? While the guy went away to double check their list, I told the photographer to snap as much as he could. He took the best shots in those few seconds.”
Mademe X makes it all happen herself, such as her 2017 release ‘Q.U.E.E.N’. The track tells the story of someone going from mundane invisibility to making her way to success. The song is a mirror of her trajectory, one not free of shards. After discovering she could sing at a karaoke in Spain, Mademe X went into seclusion and spent months writing songs. Once armed with enough material, she decided to move from her small town to Toronto, which wasn’t easy. “My mom fought me hard on it. She didn’t want me to leave, but it was either live on my own and be near a recording studio or suffocate my voice in her basement.”
In Toronto, Mademe X made money selling music at a record store by day, to make music at night. “I wrote, produced and arranged everything, but I still needed someone to press the damn buttons and bring it to life while I sang in the booth,” she says. “Doing it on your own is like playing a jukebox, the music only plays when you insert the coins.” And coin by coin, her first single was born.
Q.U.E.E.N sounds like an introspective slow burner at first, but it warns you it will catch fire in lyrics like “I know just what I’m doing, I know just where I’m supposed to be,” which segues into an empowering and powerful chorus that clings to your head. You soon realize that the song reads like a battle plan, one that spends little time dwelling on the casualties of life’s daily wars, choosing instead to clamour for a crown; and your ears.
When asked if she always knew where she was supposed to be, Mademe X doesn’t skip a beat. “This is it. I never had a plan B. This is my life right here. The life of art once recognized is changed. I’ve coronated myself, and I’ll wear my crown until, and after, the day everybody else notices it too.”
With all the fight that Mademe X has in her, Q.U.E.E.N doesn’t demand your attention, it enchants you to give it to her. The groove-from-the-60s verse “Do you know how I feel now that I got, all that I ever did want? It’s time to be honest, all that I want is, this paradise with my life not falling,” will have you bopping on your chair, and making a list of everything you want in life.
And while Mademe X is still fighting battles, signs point to her winning the war. She is spending part of the fall at the legendary Black Rock Studios on the island of Santorini, Greece, a prize from IMSTA Festa’s North American Songwriting Competition. Mademe X ruled over all other contestants from cities such as Los Angeles and New York, to record where music legends have made gold. Recording in Europe has a special meaning for Mademe X, as the birthplace for David Bowie, Kate Bush, and Bryan Ferry, major inspirations to her work.
Q.U.E.E.N is a testament to the struggles of a life’s path, and a celebration of the steps you have to take to reach that place you want to go. When asked what that place is for her, Mademe X cracks a sly smile and grips her crown. “My coronation, darling.”
The track, Q.U.E.E.N, out now on all platforms.
The EP, The Villain, out on June 30th on all platforms.