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Haven Madison on Finding Her Sound with New EP, ‘Turn Off All the Lights’

Music & Podcasts

Fri, April 26

"I've found my lane in Haven Madison, but as a writer I've only scratched the surface."

- Haven Madison

At 18 years old, Haven Madison already knows exactly who she wants to be - and she wants to let the world know it.

Whilst of us take years to find this out, growing up on a bus touring with her father, John Roy - who is a musician himself - meant Madison knew exactly what she wanted to be from a young age.

Madison got her start when she debuted on season 21 of American Idol. She then took the world by storm when she performed original songs, ‘15’ and ‘Still Need You’. The latter which she performed alongside American Idol judge, Katy Perry.

Now, Madison has released her debut EP ‘Turn Off All The Lights’ - which is out today (April 26th).

Despite only being her debut EP, ‘Turn Off All The Lights’ symbolically launches a new side of Haven Madison for the world to see - with Madison banishing the pressure of who society wanted her to be and finding her own voice.

Photo by Robby Klein

The Teen Magazine caught up with Madison ahead the EP's release to talk about the inspiration and stories behind it.

Marissa Courtney: So, what was the inspiration behind your upcoming EP?

Haven Madison: Yeah, so the title of the EP is “Turn Off All The Lights” and figuratively speaking, it's imagining that every pressure of who I'm supposed to be is a light and they were all finally turned off. American Idol lights were turned off, high school lights were turned off, and just the pressure of the version of Haven everybody wanted, it was all taken away. And my team said, “Hey just go and write the music that's from your heart.

Go and be Haven in her core." In that space and in that season of life, this is where the authentic music came from. And I found a love for dark, hard-hitting pop, and I found a love for vulnerable and emotional gut-wrenching songs. And I feel like I really found my sound and my lane as an artist.

So essentially the inspiration of the EP was being a confused and creative young woman and trying to figure out her way. And it's so relatable, the sense of high school. Like my friends were just absolutely rocked by the two ballads and the three hype songs.

I think it [the EP] is very much coming-of-age and figuring my life out. It was a lot of fun and you can tell there's been a blossoming from when I was on American Idol to when this project comes out, there's been a blossoming of now I know who I am and I can't shake that.

MC: What was the creative process behind the EP? Who was there? When did you first come up with the idea? How long did it take to write and record?

HM: So four out of five songs I wrote with Dave Pittenger - he wrote ‘ABCDEFU’, he's a Grammy-nominated, incredible, incredible artist. I'd say we had about two weeks and it was just multiple dates to see if we had magic in the room and it was, I mean, every single song, it was like amazing, amazing, hit, hit. And so we actually had so many songs that when it came to pick the project, we were all so confused on what we were going to do.

Originally, - before we even had a title for the EP - we were going to do two re-records of ‘15’ and ‘Still Need You’, because I felt the need to. I felt that I owed it to people. And I remember I was in the studio getting ready to re-record my vocal on ‘Still Need You’, and I pulled out my phone and started playing ‘Sky Up’. And I was like, “Dave, we're messing up. ‘Sky Up’ is supposed to be on this project. I know it is.” And he gave me so much confidence and said, “Haven, this is your music. This is your art. You need to believe in it.” And so I called my managers, and the head of my label came down, and I said, “Guys, I think we're messing up. I think we need to step into who I am now, not who I was on the show.” And they were so supportive of it, and they were like, “Let's go. Let's create this piece that is absolutely coming of age. This is Haven Madison.”

And so we kind of turned the bus as fast as we could. And that's when it was so clear that, ‘Turn Off All The Lights’ would be the title. And when we wrote ‘Claw Marks’, the second verse just absolutely ripped my soul and was such a great representation of who I am and what I've been going through. I'm so grateful that I had somebody like Dave to give me the confidence to turn everything, and now I cannot even imagine what the EP would be without the songs that are now on it.

Photo by Robby Klein

MC: Okay, so now I want to ask you about some of the songs in the EP and the stories behind them. So what was the story behind ‘Sky Up’?

HM: So, I wrote ‘Sky Up’ when I was in a relationship and I just felt like the weight of the world that I was living in and what I did was kind of crushing the person I loved and I was scared not only of losing them, but if I lost them that everything would crumble because they were my pillar. I learned a lot about being self-sufficient and that your partner should compliment you, not complete you.

And I think that I learned so much about when the right people are holding your sky up, they won't make you feel guilty for it. And so it's this unconditional, like guilty love song that I think came together so well.

MC: ‘Monster’ is a direct contrast to ‘Sky Up’, so what's the story behind ‘Monster’?

HM: ‘Monster’ is a fun one because when I originally wrote this song, it was called 'Guilty' and it was like, oh, I'm guilty for breaking up with you, I'm horrible, I'm the monster. And I posted a little clip of it and got a lot of backlash from my ex's mom saying I shouldn't be able to write songs about the situation. And I was like, well, you're mad and I didn't even write the truth about the situation.

So I decided to go back and rewrite how I really felt about it. And it became this absolute rage song, but I love it so much. I got out my steam for sure. And it's basically, if a man breaks up with a woman for whatever reason, it's completely fine, but if a woman breaks up with a man for not treating her right, then she's a monster. So I was like, fine, if that makes me a monster, then I guess I'll be one.

MC: Oh, yeah. It's very much ‘The Man’ by Taylor Swift. Men get away with everything and women are criticized for everything.

HM: Oh, absolutely. So I just claimed it.

MC: So, as you've grown and gone through your teenage years, are there any lessons that you still use now, or lessons that have maybe influenced your music or who you are today?

HM: I think the best piece of advice I ever got was from Alanis Morissette. She told me that people fall into three categories: they'll love you no mater what you do, they'll hate you no matter what you do, or they will not care about you no matter what you do. And I think being told that put things in a lot of perspective and helped me as I watched people from my high school.

I watched what category they fell into. And my mom always preached into me that the people that matter can fit into a one inch square. And when I was upset about people not liking me, she would say, “Are they in your square?” And if they weren't, then she said, “You get to move on.” And I think something I learned and I still use in high school is, learn the people you value and let the people you don't value roll off your back. You can't make everybody like you, so know the people who you’re going to fight for - those people know you and they know your intentions and they’ll never take you and what you’re doing out of context.

Photo by Robby Klein

Keep Up With Haven

‘Turn Off All The Lights’ is out now - listen on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

To keep up to date with Haven, be sure to follow @havenmadisonsings on Instagram and Tiktok, and @havenmadsings on X.

Marissa Courtney
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Writer since Jun, 2023 · 6 published articles

Marissa Courtney is an upcoming senior from Tampa, Florida. She’s been writing since she was a little girl and hopes to one day become a screenwriter and/ or journalist. Her hobbies include reading, writing, theatre, and singing.