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Sophie Madeleine is a YouTube success story. Building up a YouTube fanbase from the ground up is a painstaking, detail-oriented process, but Sophie Madeleine’s voice in the WERS studio did not reflect any of that stress or tension that she must have faced. Instead, she exhibited her skill that resulted from her dedication to her craft of singing and songwriting.
Sophie’s Youtube channel currently has nearly 15,000 subscribers and approximately 3,000,000 channel views. As if that is not impressive enough, when Sophie self-released her self-produced debut album, Love.Life.Ukulele, it completely sold out. Now she is here in the States, away from her home of Brighton, England, promoting the release of her sophomore album, The Rhythm You Started. This latest album was just released in the United States in September, despite having appeared over a year ago in the United Kingdom. Because of this, Sophie has been in the States since April, working in conjunction with her American label.
Even though she says it’s a little weird promoting an album that to her is already over a year old, she doesn’t mind: “It’s part of the job. And you know, I still like the songs. Luckily I don’t hate them.” She followed this up with a giggle, and shortly after began playing the first of a three song set, “Stars”, from The Rhythm You Started. Madeleine’s voice immediately transformed from a laid back, British accented tone to some surprisingly sugary and tender vocals.
The second song performed was the title track of the newly released album, “The Rhythm You Started”. The whole song feels delicate and finely crafted, like every syllable is placed with the upmost care. In addition, the instrumental backing in the WERS studio was much more stripped down than that of her new album: the only instruments here were Madeleine’s electric ukulele, and an acoustic guitar, played by accompanist Tim Emmerick. This echoed back to the vibe of Sophie’s original YouTube videos, which felt very much like a one-on-one experience.
Both Madeleine and Emmerick agreed that the rationale behind their song choice for this session was centered on the promotion of The Rhythm You Started. However, they said they had a difficult choice doing only that. To counter this struggle, Madeleine chose to perform “Beautiful Lie”, a song intended for her next album. Madeleine said in her on-air interview that she has already written all of the songs for this third album, and has intentions of recording all of them early next year, stating, “I’ll put it out as soon as I possibly can. I’m really excited!”
In the meantime, Sophie and Tim will be doing shows here and there, working on the new album’s promotion. The two did a mini-tour with singer-songwriter Jay Brannan, appearing in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City. Though not apparent at first, Madeleine has a soft spot for American audiences. “We [British people] don’t really like to embarrass ourselves by showing too much emotion. But we come here and people are like, ‘Wow this is so great! We love you! You’re brilliant! Your music makes me so happy!’ It’s great and that’s why I came back.”
Despite this, Sophie doesn’t believe that the reaction in particular has made her change her style or approach: “It’s nice to know that there are people that believe in me as a musician and believe in my ability. And so now I’m kind of thinking basically that I’m going to do what I want, which sounds really selfish. But I’ve done two albums because what I wanted was to make people happy through the music… now I’m like: ‘this record may be for me.’” She paused thoughtfully and then added, “I do want to change more than anything, I feel like that’s what musicians do all the time.”