Madeline Leman's 2019
One of our discoveries of 2019 is Madeline Leman and The Desert Swells Nobody's Fool, a terrific self-released album, mixing Americana, country, and some surf-pop. We asked band leader Madeline about her 2019.
What’s been the most exciting thing you’ve done in 2019?
Definitely releasing our debut album Nobody’s Fool. The album was two years in the making and is basically the culmination of about eight years of songwriting! The album was really well received and the Melbourne launch party was a dream come true. Having all your friends, family and fans together in one room to celebrate something you’ve been working on for so long and are so proud of almost feels like your wedding day or something.
What’s been your biggest challenge of 2019?
The aftermath of releasing music is always really hard for me. I tend to go all out and then kind of burn myself out. It’s not only physically draining but also super emotionally taxing. Putting music that’s so personal into the world and asking people to listen, promote and share it is super weird sometimes. It’s ultimately worth it but I always have to check in with myself and make sure I’m doing ok.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve played music in 2019?
Playing Australian Music Week was a bit of an adventure for us. We piled into the car and drove nine and a half hours up to Sydney. We played a great showcase to a bunch of new fans and did some hardcore band bonding. We were so absorbed in a Dolly Parton podcast on the way home that we nearly ran out of fuel on the highway!
What’s the one album you’ve loved most in 2019?
Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You has been a big album for me this year. The emotion in her vocals is so raw and moving it really made me connect with Americana music again after I’d had a little break from listening to it. Also the fact that she was the first LGBTIQ person to win the Grammy for Best Americana Song and Best Live Performance is super inspiring. It is really nice to seem real diversity in the genre.
What’s been the song that’s most soundtracked your 2019?
I’ve been listening to Courtney Marie Andrews a bunch. Her tracks 'Irene' and 'May Your Kindness Remain' have been on high rotation. I love listening to women with big powerful voices. Not only do I love to belt along I just find it gives me a lift if I’m feeling flat.
What have you hated about 2019?
Politics. I’m a sensitive soul and inequality really gets me down. The state of the world at the moment and especially the state of politics in Australia right now is very distressing. As an artist sometimes it feels like you're not doing enough to help but I’m trying to use my voice to enact change.
What are you most excited about for in 2020?
Locking myself away in a beach house and writing some new songs. I’m really excited to take the band in a slightly new direction with this next album. It’s going to have more of a 70s pop sensibility. Think Carol King, Neil Young, Carly Simon meets some 60s France Gall gogo vibes. My friends gifted me an amazing vintage Yamaha U1 piano for my 30th birthday this year so writing on the piano I think will help facilitate these pop vibes.
Finally, what’s the one thing about your 2019 that you’d like to share?
We were lucky enough to support Van Duren this year when he came out to Melbourne. Van used to play in a band with Chris Bell and Jodi Stephens from Big Star, one of my absolute fave bands of all time from the 70s. It was such an honour to meet Van and his partner Vicky. They were so supportive and lovely and hopefully we’ll visit them one day in Memphis.
To find out more about Madeline and the band you can visit their Bandcamp or check out their socials.