Successful year for Canadian country music star Madeline Merlo
Credit: LIZ ROSA
Canadian country music artist Madeleine Merlo has had a successful year so far and is set to perform in London at the Western Fair on Sept. 13.
With a her debut album Free Soul released in 2016 and having a number of hits singles including “Whatcha Wanna Do About It”, “Honey Jack”, “Over and Over” and the powerful ballad “War Paint”, the British Columbia native, who now resides in Toronto is becoming a household name in the Canadian country music scene.
With so much that has happened in the past year and a bit, it’s amazing to see Merlo, take it all in stride.
“It’s been a really amazing year. I’ve had all my music be embraced this year, got to go on tour with Dean Brody which was such a great learning experience and I’ve been really, really fortunate this year to have that,’ Merlo said.
Touring has been a big part of Merlo’s life for the last few months, not only being with Dean Brody on his Beautiful Freakshow tour, but also at a number of summertime music festivals including Prince Edward Island’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival and Ottawa’s RBC Bluesfest.
With all the touring, Merlo has one constant thrill that still gets her when she’s performing on stage.
“It’s so, so cool to see [fans] sing my songs back to me. I love how nowadays when you have a few songs on the radio, that people are starting to recognize a few more and then there’s something so special of singing “War Paint” and having people sing it back to you and you can feel like you know that that song means something to them, that’s really, really special,” Merlo said.
Another major highlight this summer for Merlo was when she was on the same bill as the legendary Willie Nelson, which she described as “the most incredible thing”.
In terms of songwriting, Merlo said the ultimate goal is to “write a song that people can interpret their own way ,” which is what her chart topping “War Paint” song has done for others.
Based on a friend who went through a difficult time, Merlo wrote the song, but has been approached by fans and how it has affected them and what it means to them.
“This song is so special to me and I’m so happy that it means something to people and it’s as important as it is to them as it is to me,” Merlo said.
Her latest single, “Motel Flamingo” has been rising on the charts as well, with it most recently being in the top 10 on the Canadian country music charts.
Though there is no confirmed date for another album just yet, Merlo is in the midst of figuring out new music for her fans.
“The next album is always in your mind, [but] I definitely want to take a little bit more time on this one and make sure that it’s right, and get down to Nashville and write a lot and make sure that this is the best I can possibly be and put forth really, really cool new music,” Merlo said.
On top of new music, Merlo will be in Saskatoon, Sask. for this year’s Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards on Sept. 10, where she will not only get to perform a full length song for the first time, but is nominated for the Female Artist of the Year Award.
“It’s so cool, everybody always says that, but it is just an honour to be nominated and to be thought of as one of the top females in this country. It’s so cool and everyone this year has done such incredible things so it’s great to have my name listed among them.” Merlo said. “I’ve been singing since I was six-years old so this is really, really special to be thought of that way,” Merlo said.
Knowing at a young that she wanted to be a musician, Merlo was inspired by a number of musical influences, including Stevie Wonder, Etta James and Bonnie Raitt, but was also drawn to female country powerhouses like Martin McBride and Shania Twain.
Merlo’s first concert was when she was 10-years old, were she saw Twain perform and was largely inspired by the Canadian musician. Merlo said the fact that Twain is Canadian and did her own thing on such a large platform made an impact on her.
Merlo is set to perform in London at this year’s Western Fair at the Western Fair District on Sept. 13, alongside American act Cam.
Merlo is enthusiastic when mentioning the show is a girl power bill, and though she hasn’t met Cam just yet, Merlo hopes to.
“I’m a huge fan of Cam and she just seems like a ball of sunshine so I would love to meet her. I feel like she would be as sweet as you think she is,” Merlo said.
Whether she meets Cam or not, Merlo is ready to come back to London and put on a great show.
“I’m super excited, London I know for a fact has wicked country [music] fans. I’ve played there many times and they always show up and cheer really loud so I’m excited to head back there to play,” Merlo said.