Natalie Madigan has taken the path of the True Artist, a la Lorde and Kacey Musgraves. She just released an EP called YIN, which will soon be followed by the complementary EP YANG.
Her latest single from YIN is “Sadness Is Magnetic” – a Sixties-influenced song that has a mournful melody yet gives us a glimpse of hope on the horizon.
Madigan’s music is deeper and more profound than the many predictable, just-got-dumped songs that clog Spotify. Yet her songs are also majestically melodic and hypnotic. She’s one of the freshest talents in pop since the arrival of Caroline Polachek.
Who was your co-producer on “Sadness Is Magnetic” – and what was the trickiest thing about recording the track?
I co-produced “Sadness Is Magnetic” with Andrew Petroff, who executive-produced the entire YIN EP. I wrote “Sadness” alone, just me and my piano, in 2021. So I sat with the piano-vocal demo for about a year before we got into production, which actually made it really difficult to find the right vision for the fully produced track. “Sadness” was definitely the hardest song to get right stylistically. We tried soooo many different ideas before landing where we did. The song started coming together when we tested out a 60s backbeat in the choruses. My boyfriend Austin Sawyer came in and tracked some 12-string guitar on it, which is what really glued that 60s feel together in the song!
Once YIN is finished, YANG will soon follow. What will that second EP be like thematically and musically?
YANG will be a very different vibe from YIN. YIN is all about darkness, the moon, sadness, femininity and emotions. It encompasses some of the lowest points I’ve been in over the last few years. YANG represents the light, the sun, happiness and freedom. I wrote all of the YANG songs in 2022, which was the year I really did a lot of inner work and had somewhat of a spiritual awakening within myself. I started meditating, spent almost all my time outside, and really got to the bottom of some hard mental and physical health problems I had been dealing with. So thematically, YANG is a lot vibier, very free, and very spiritual. Lots of 60s and 70s themes in YANG as well!
What fueled your interest in Chinese philosophy (yin and yang)? Did you read the Tao Te Ching…and do you have a meditation practice?
The last few years have been the hardest of my life mentally. I’ve gone through some pretty debilitating mental and physical health issues, and really felt like giving up there for a minute. I remember in some of my lowest moments I kept reminding myself that everything I’ve ever been sad or stressed about always gets better eventually. Then my dad randomly gave me Tao Te Ching, and I really resonated with those philosophies. I went down so many rabbit holes researching Chinese philosophy. Then I filmed a music video for my song “Remember Why You Fell In Love” later that year and had hired my good friend/fashion designer Maggie Mahaffey to make my outfits for the video. She randomly made me an entire Yin and Yang-themed outfit. I took that as a sign to run with the project idea, and that’s really where the whole thing began! In the summer of 2022 I read Becoming Supernatural, which is all about the mind/body connection, meditation, quantum science, and how they all work together. I’ve been meditating on and off for years but really started to dive in further after reading that book, and it has truly changed my life! I meditate as often as I can now, typically every morning to start my day. I do guided and unguided meditations depending on how I’m feeling.
Which of your songs have gotten sync placements on cable TV, and how were they used?
As part of my publishing deal, I write a lot of songs for film and TV. I have a separate sync artist project called PYPR where all my film/tv songs live. I’ve had placements ranging from The Kardashians to Young and the Restless. I did, however, get one of my artist songs, “Anyone”, placed on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch!
Are you planning any live dates to support both YIN and YANG this year?
We are working on planning live shows currently! I’m playing a show April 13th at the 8th Room in Nashville as somewhat of a celebratory YIN show and teaser for the YANG side. I’ll definitely be playing an album release show when the full project comes out this fall, as well. Would love to get an opening slot on another tour this year too!
What’s the backstory on the song “Swim” that you co-wrote with Emlyn?
Emlyn and I wrote my song “Swim” YEARS ago after I went through a major heartbreak. It was an apology song to myself for allowing someone to make me feel I wasn’t worthy of love, and an apology song to them for never getting to experience the beauty and depth of the love I was able to give. Emlyn brought the song up when I was opening for her on tour, so we’ve been teasing it on Tiktok just to see what happens!
Story: Larry McClain // Photos: Sequoyah Yardley
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