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Piper Madison talks musical growth and returning to Louisville

Writer / Rick Redding
Photograph provided

Piper Madison has had her heart set on becoming a pop star for most of her 19 years. It’s not a pipe dream, as the singer has a few self-produced albums under her belt and a huge following on social media, and was also voted by LEO Weekly readers as the best band/musician performing original music. .

While her career might be considered a family business in its own right, Madison sees herself as a do-it-yourself artist. The family includes her Louisville parents, Patrick and Rhonda Keesee, and her younger sister Skylar.

She produces her own music and performs as a solo artist, having mastered the use of a device called a looper which allows her to add the sounds of instruments while performing live.

“I consider myself a DIY independent artist,” she said. “I’m a musician but also an entrepreneur, and I have a lot of other things that I try to incorporate.”

Madison’s start in show business began at an early age, and she was so promising as an actress and performer that the family decided to move to Los Angeles when she was just 9 years old. They moved back to Louisville during the summers, but she and Skylar think of LA as where they spent those formative years.

Both girls managed to land modeling and acting gigs. Madison’s big breakthrough came at age 13 when she landed the role of Zelphaba on the Nickelodeon series “100 Things To Do Before High School.”

She released her debut album, “Who’s Running Your Mind,” in 2019 when she was 16. Her single from that record, “Little Bit of Rain”, reached number 14 on Billboard’s weekly dance club song chart.

Her second album, “How Do I Love?”, was released last fall, coinciding with her family’s return to Louisville – a direct result of the pandemic. She said her music was a great way to maintain her creativity during those years in Los Angeles, especially between acting gigs.

“I actually started writing and listening to music between auditions because acting was kind of crazy, up and down and unpredictable, so in the down times I picked up some steam. music,” she said.

She quickly discovered that music was the creative outlet she wanted to pursue. With the release of “How Do I Love?”, she began airing on local station WFPK, received the LEO Weekly Award, and performed a few gigs at local outlets including the Blind Squirrel. His family invested in marketing, including billboards, to boost their numbers on sites like Spotify. An October album release party was held at The Black Rabbit in St. Matthews.

Madison also seems to have a rare gift for business. Unlike other rising stars, she does her own social media, posting on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media, while also making sure her music is available on sites like Spotify and Amazon Music.

“I’m a musician but also an entrepreneur,” says Madison. “I find the best way to do anything is to start and see every failure as a necessary learning experience.”

The hard work is already paying off. Her music found over 90,000 listeners on Spotify alone last year, prompting her to post the numbers on Instagram with this inspirational message:

“When I made this post last year, I couldI never imagined it could get better. I do not have anyI don’t do it for the numbers – I do it for the positive impact and the real, authentic connections created. Even so, seeing this growth is heartwarming. Thisis the reflection of all the work that I havedid, inside and out. II am extremely grateful for the progress I havedid this year, and all the people in my life who helped make it happen. If you have a dream, follow it. Live and breathe it; know when to relax and take a step back if necessary, but work with passion and you will achieve all that you seek in this life. This is proof that heit’s possible. II’m just a girl from Louisville, KY, living her dreams. If I can do it, so can you. 2022, here we come!

As for playing her music in public, at 19, she’s limited in where she can play. In Los Angeles, she says she had a band she played with, but improvised when the family moved to Louisville last fall. She calls it a fun challenge to play instruments with her looper device.

Her repertoire includes original songs from two albums and a mix of covers from artists she admires, including Amy Winehouse, Sia, Grace Potter and Sade. Her cover of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” was seen as a bold choice to be part of WFPK’s web series “Peace, Love and Louisville,” a tribute to 1960s songs .

Madison’s life is not limited to music. When talking about returning to Louisville from Los Angeles, she’s quick to point out her interest in spending time outdoors, as well as her focus on mindfulness.

“It’s really peaceful here,” she said. “In Los Angeles, it’s completely different. It’s lively and super busy. There is a kind of calm that I really like.

She is making the most of being at home. For Christmas, his parents allowed him to convert a space previously used as an attic to create a photo studio. Then she immediately posted several creative photographs.

While Madison says her main goal is to eventually become a touring actor and perform on the road, she’s still 19 and has yet to graduate from college. There’s an offer to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, but she says her future is more likely to include undergraduate studies at Center College in Danville, a bit closer to home and family. .

When describing her second album last fall, she said something about it that still rings true, even as she works on her next musical project: “It’s kind of a continuation of my mental, emotional and spiritual that I started with this first album. .”

It will be interesting to see where Madison’s journey takes her.

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