Natalie Madigan’s latest single “Butterfly Effect” is so gorgeous and uplifting that it deserves comparisons with The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Taylor Swift.
Madigan has released two complementary EPs this year, fittingly entitled YIN and YANG. As you probably can guess, the EPs are vastly different, both musically and thematically. It’s an impressive achievement that ranks right up there with Taylor dropping two albums (folklore and evermore) just six months apart in 2020 – or Prince’s unforgettable double album Emancipation from 1996.
Long after the hundreds of TikTok charlatans have faded, Natalie’s music will be enriching our lives. She calls Nashville home, but spends a lot of time co-writing in Los Angeles. Here are some of Natalie’s thoughts on the yin and yang of being an artist in these exhilarating-yet-troubled times:
“Butterfly Effect” is a really special song that reminds me of the finest life-affirming songs by The Beatles and Prince. What’s led you to write it?
I was raised on The Beatles and a lot of music from the ’60s and ’70s, and my upbringing definitely inspired a lot of this song and its production. Last year I went through a spiritual awakening, and butterflies have been my biggest spiritual sign of transformation through it all. This song was in a way prophetic for my life. Brandon Meagher, Greya and I got together in a session early last year, and after some life talks, wrote “Butterfly Effect”. We wanted to write a song that encompassed both the state of the world we are living in and also the idea of fighting all the negativity with love. It’s a super hippie, idealistic view of things, but it’s a view I don’t often see light being shed on. Later in the year, my producer Ben Didelot and I brought the song to life with full production.
Last summer, Gracie and I went out to the park to shoot some photos for YANG. Gracie does nearly all of her work on film. About three shots from the end of the roll, a butterfly came to visit us. The cover art for “Butterfly Effect” was the very last shot on that roll of film.
What prompted you to add an outro/meditation – something that takes “Butterfly Effect” to a higher level?
The outro/meditation hasn’t been released yet, but much of my spiritual awakening stemmed from me using meditation as a way of healing my body and mind from anxiety, depression, and various other physical health symptoms. So it was important for me to include a meditation of sorts on my project. I want my listeners to have a moment to breathe, be in their bodies, and feel at peace.
Not surprisingly, the songs from your EP YANG have an entirely different feel from those on YIN. What are you trying to say on the new EP that balances the messages on YIN?
While YIN encompasses darkness, emotions, feminine energy and the moon, YANG encompasses light, freedom, masculine energy and the sun. The YANG side of the project is representative of getting to the other side of all the hardships, as well as strengthening your intuition and relationship with yourself. It is a place of peace, hope and air to breathe.
I firmly believe you’re on the path of the True Artist, just like Lorde and Tori Amos and Aimee Mann. Has it been difficult walking that path when so many gimmicky songs gain traction on Spotify and TikTok?
Thank you so much! It’s definitely taken me a long time to really find my identity within my artistry. There’s a difference between writing songs just to sing them, and writing songs because the music is holding you through whatever emotional hill you’re on. A lot of finding my identity as an artist has paralleled me finding my identity as a person. There’s many artists on Tiktok that I love, but the culture of Tiktok has introduced a lot of noise, too. I have to just separate myself from it all and view things like Tiktok and social media as a tool and not a destination. The industry is ever-changing and I’m just riding the waves!
Songs like “Butterfly Effect” feel universal, not just American. Do you have unexpected clusters of fans around the world…like in England, India, Australia?
I have a good amount of listeners in the UK! Eventually I would love to be more intentional about capitalizing on those audiences, with things like touring and possibly working on some records out of the country.