a chat with Maddy Davis

Born and raised New Jersey now, Los Angeles based Singer - Songwriter Maddy Davis is back with her newest single "Middle Kid", Davis describes this track as "Middle Kid”, put simply, is a diss track to myself. Middle children are often thought of as rebellious and chaotic troublemakers, and this song explains how I represent that stereotype—continuing to grow out of old habits and into new ones. “Middle Kid” is the first track of my EP 'MUD' (which is also my childhood nickname) and is a collection of 6 tracks that together, tell the story of my young adult life. " "Middle Kid" is one of the tracks off of Davis' newest EP MUD.

Hi Maddy! Thanks so much for answering my questions, how are you?

I’m doing so well <3 So excited to be chatting with you!

How did you get into music?

I had it good because my mom is a musician, so she taught my sister and I piano pretty much from when we were able to comprehend what a piano was. I started taking lessons at a very young age and immediately loved it. I never had to be told to practice, I always just did it because I wanted to. And then I think I knew I wanted to pursue music around 12 years old, and I never grew out of it, even though so many people said I would.

When did you start writing songs?

I had to have been about 10 when I started writing songs, just writing about breakups that I hadn't yet experienced. I started getting more serious about it and actually wanting to improve when I was in middle school.

You are about to release your newest single “Middle Kid” what was the inspiration behind this track?

“Middle Kid” is a diss track to myself. As middle children, we are thought of as rebellious, chaotic troublemakers, and this song represents that stereotype, and how I continue to grow out of old habits and into new ones. I like to think this song channels who I am as a person, with a self-deprecating perspective, which felt like a good lead rack for my next project.

“Middle Kid” has such a distinct sound to it, how did you come up with it during the creative process?

I wrote and produced “Middle Kid'' with my partner-in-crime Matty Houck. It was actually the first song he and I made together after a two-year-long hiatus of not writing together at all. We both realized while making this song that our styles had evolved to complement each other so well and to me, it was so obviously the start of something really good.

I had the middle child concept in my head for a while, and then Matty and I got on Zoom one day and just built out the track together. The whole song fell into place so fast and the original demo is not too far off from the final master.

What was the writing process like for “Middle Kid”?

Lyrically, it was one of the easiest songs ever written. I felt like there was so much that I could say about being a middle child that nothing felt forced and the whole process felt so effortless.

Was the creative and writing process for “Middle Kid” any different from “Can’t Do This Alone”?

Yes, in fact, quite literally nothing was the same. Between the time I wrote “Can’t Do This Alone” and the time I wrote “Middle Kid '', so much changed about my attitude towards writing music. When I wrote “Can’t Do This Alone” I was only writing about what I thought people wanted me to or expected me to write about. I completely lost why I wrote music and didn't even realize that I wasn't writing for myself at all, which is literally the point of songwriting in my opinion. Over covid, I was locked in my mom's house in New Jersey, and was finally able to take a step back and actually reflect on why I make music, which changed my entire process. I feel like between the two songs, I grew so much as both a person and a songwriter.

What was the recording process like for “Middle Kid”?

In the first “Middle Kid” Zoom session that Matty and I had, we finished the entire first demo.. At this point, I had recorded scratch vocals that when the time came to finalize the song, I couldn't part with, so the vocals that you hear in the final version are actually the vocals that I recorded on the first day we wrote the song. They were recorded in the corner of my shared-bedroom college apartment with no special sound proofing or fancy microphone setup.

You also have your EP “MUD” coming out this Fall! What can we expect to hear on it?

Yes! That damn project has been done for so long I’m so ready and excited for people to hear it. Mud is my childhood nickname, and the project is a collection of 6 tracks that were written mid 2020 to early 2021. I didn’t start writing these songs with an EP in mind, but after they were written, I realized they fit together so well. This project, in a lot of ways, feels like an introduction to myself, as it sort of embodies who I am and the type of writer I am. It’ll hopefully be out at the end of September!

When creating music, what comes first, lyrics, or music?

Over the past few years I've been a big concepts person, so when I'm making any song I usually like to at least start off with the concept to build off of. So with “Middle Kid '' for example, I had that idea in mind so then when Matty and I started messing around with a few sounds, I knew the middle kid concept fit really well with it and I was ready to write that song. Then usually music and lyrics happen somewhat simultaneously, but I usually try to get the lyrics done first so I don't get distracted and lose my focus.

When writing songs, is there a certain audience you’d like to reach?

I would say just teens and young adults, mostly ones that find themselves stuck in smaller suburbs outside big cities, and need an outlet, because that was once me and I like to think younger me would’ve been a fan of current me’s music.

Has being from New Jersey inspired your music at all? Now that you are based in Los Angeles, has this city inspired you too in any way?

I used to really reject the idea of being from New Jersey until I moved away. It was then that I realized how much my hometown actually contributed to the person that I've become. I used to be able to drive 5 minutes to a spot that looked out over the New York skyline, and remember feeling so close but so far away from all the hustle and bustle that was New York City. I wanted so badly to be done with high school and just be able to get out and make something of myself that I didn’t think I'd be able to do in Westfield. Now that I've lived in New York and currently live in LA, I think I'm most inspired by the 17 year old version of me that wanted so badly to be who I am right now.

Who would you say were your main musical influences while creating “Middle Kid”?

My 3 biggest influences, which have remained the same pretty much my whole life are Bruce Springsteen, The Killers, and Avril Lavigne. I think Sprringsteen and the Killers are just so timeless, and the older I get the more their music resonates with me. With Avril, she was one of the only artists on my ipod shuffle in 2006 and I felt like she embodied the term “pop star”. I used to watch her music videos on MTV and just be like DAMN this chick is so cool. Her music made 6 year old me feel so angsty. I think what I take from her is just the power of angst and how you're never too old or too young to feel it. I’ve always been and I’ll always be angsty, and same goes for my music. With “Middle Kid”, I knew the song felt a bit more alternative than past music I’ve made so I just kind of let my influences seep in.

You used to throw shows in your Mom’s basement which is so amazing, what is it like now going from your Mom’s basement to performing in actual venues?

Some shows definitely feel super surreal but others honestly feel like I am right back in my basement in Jersey. I live in a house near the USC campus right now with a bunch of musicians / creatives and we've been throwing backyard shows over the past year or so, which always remind me so much of the shows that I used to throw back home. Those are also my favorite ones, just super DIY with everyone in the audience so energetic and hyped up. Honesty though, playing so many shows all growing up really prepared me for any stage and really made me obsessed with performing live.

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?

Right now, I’d have to say my top 5 artists I’d want to tour with are girl in red, Wallows, Claud, Deb Never, & Clairo! And of course the Killers lol.

Last question, we’re all about discovering new bands/artists! Who should we be listening to right now?

Recently I’ve been listening to DJ_Dave, Alix Page, CARR, carwash, Kid Sistr, & Worry Club to name a few!

Words by Melody

Keep up with Maddy




Listen to "Middle Kid" here