Teenage Girls Made Rock 'n' Roll: An Interview with Madame Daley

by - September 01, 2022

Photo courtesy of Ruba Amara

Plaid Dog Recording and Production helps artists raise funds to record commercial albums at their Boston-based studio. With travel costs and lodging included, artists work with their team of producers and crowdfunding experts to fund every part of the recording process. New York-based artist Madison Daley, who releases music under Madame Daley, decided to partner with Plaid Dog for her latest release, Classic.

The first step of crowdfunding with Plaid Dog is to record and release the first single as a way to promote the project. Daley released “Annie, Sing Your Heart Out Anyway” and began the process of crowdfunding in February 2020. Despite the world falling into a global pandemic, she was still able to meet her crowdfunding goal.

When it was time to finish the project in the fall of 2021, recording her album was almost entirely remote. What she brought to the table were mostly songs written during the last year and a half, minus “Annie, Sing Your Heart Out Anyway” and the title track “Classic”.

“I think that the record is better off for it, being able to have that time to be creative,” Daley said.

The title track was actually written during her time as a student at the University of Colorado Denver. She was taking an Intro to Songwriting class with her fellow Music Business majors, many of whom were not musicians. They performed silly songs about their pets or the class, but when it was her turn, Daley shared a song that came from the idea of fusing pop culture and music references.

“It was the first time where I felt like I was a decent songwriter,” she said. “It gave me that confidence.”

It became a song she played live whenever she got the chance, so when it came time to record her album, she wanted to give it a studio treatment. She also felt that the song best describes Madame Daley’s aesthetic - 60s/70s glam rock; disco balls, feather boas and gaudy jewelry included.

Daley has always been a performer - whether it was theater, Irish dance or acoustic cover performances, it was something she was drawn to. She had always envisioned going the band route, playing off her inspirations of Elton John and David Bowie to make live performances just that: a performance.

“I have always loved musicians who turn their shows into a theatrical moment,” she said. “It's not just standing on the stage performing; they are really giving you something that you can't get somewhere else. Madame Daley is not necessarily a drag queen but she's not necessarily not a drag queen. It's camp, it's theater and it's definitely my style, so that's why I wanted to create the persona.”

Although Classic was recorded with studio musicians, she has since put an all-girl band together to form The Starchild Band.

A friend from high school theater first introduced her to Suzie Ciftcikal, who became the lead guitarist. Ciftcikal reconnected with an old friend from high school, Jasmin Lopez, to play bass. Together they scoured Instagram and found their drummer, Lexi Jaeger. Jaeger’s best friend, Leah Nawy, plays keys during their original music performances.

“It feels so comfortable on stage,” Daley said. “We really clicked so quickly. There's several members of the band that are part of the LGBT community and it's a real sisterhood there, which is awesome.”

That sisterhood feels the strongest during performances of “Teenage Girls Made Rock ‘n’ Roll”. The song depicts the blatant disrespect of women in the music industry, from musicians to fans and every job in between. Without teenage girls and their passion, their success would be nonexistent.

“They basically generate the revenue,” Daley said. “They run the industry; they get to choose who gets to be successful, yet they're so disrespected and their opinion or their taste are looked down upon. It is just so mind boggling to me.”

The Starchild Band have brought a whole new perspective to Madame Daley and Classic. It feels as though they’ve started their own girl power initiative, giving these songs the chance to be whatever the listener needs them to be. Glam rock has never felt so influential.

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