Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Madam Who? Nonetheless, she is no ordinary musician; rather, she’s that cool friend adding to life the music of spice. Let us discuss her latest mix tape, “Peter Meter,” which came from a crazy conversation in the kitchen with Granny Rita twenty years ago. Well, if you can picture an experiment of daring rap mixed with catchy vocals and groovy beats – that’s Madam Who?
Now, let’s rewind a bit. Have you ever asked how she got her stage name? Imagine steampunk clothing, an eccentric top hat and a character inspired by the Who from “A Wrinkle in Time.” Madam Whatsit? It was the brainchild that gave birth, and her kingdom of madamwho.com clinched it all!
Piano lessons in a small Baptist church to life-altering exposure to The Beatles, Madam Who? reveals her foray into the world of music. She loves Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift – artists with real staying power.
However, it is not only about the music. Madam Who? She confesses about interests in politics and religion, while this side hustle doing upholstery helps to keep the music dreams alive. As attention is the new gold, she meets these challenges directly and releases her single ‘Peter Meter’ while teasing another banger – “LLAP (Live Long & Prosper).”
For those among the fans who’ve been rolling with Madam Who?, she has a simple yet loving message – nothing less than I love ya! Well, sit back and press play that’s Madam Who? act as your music companion on the road of life’s winding turns and bends.
Watch Peter Meter below
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What is your stage name
My stage name is Madam Who?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
I had a couple bands in the past – Merry Madness and Audra & the Antidote – and realized that bands were waaaay too much trouble when I was doing everything anyway. When I decided to go solo I didn’t want to use my name, Audra Coldiron, because I felt like I was creating a character for stage.
So I imagined myself onstage and what I might wear. Steam punk tickled my fancy from the moment I laid eyes on the aesthetic. I pictured myself wearing a funky top hat with goggles, an old fashioned tailored jacket, and black and white striped stockings. I thought about what ladies a hundred years ago were called, and landed on Madam.
Because of the stockings, it reminded me of Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle in Time, my favorite book when I was a kid. Madam Whatsit didn’t sound right but Madam Who? (like Mrs. Who) did. To seal the deal, the domain, madamwho.com was available!
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of times it is from something someone says. For instance, with this latest single, Peter Meter, my grandmother inspired it with something she said to me on my way to my freshman year at college in Nashville, TN. She and I were alone in the kitchen. She was a wealthy woman who grew up in Atlanta, GA, so she had that old-school southern accent like Scarlet O’Hara. She look at me and said, “I been outta the datin’ pool for some time now… and I was just wond’rin’… do bowyees still requiya that you have sex with them?” I nearly busted up laughing but somehow managed to hold it in. I couldn’t wait to tell everybody who would listen and have a good laugh over it.
Years later I thought about what she said, and combined with something my mom said to me, I deduced what her advice on how to keep a man might have been. When I came up with the pre-chorus and chorus to Peter Meter I knew I had something really special. Only thing was, I couldn’t find the right verses to go with this super hooky chorus. I worked on it off and on for 20 years.
Last year I joined a local songwriter’s workshop group. I had almost forgotten about the song, though it kept rising to the surface of my mind every now and then. I played the pre-chorus and the chorus for the leader, Marissa Levy (an artist herself) and she LOVED it. However, she suggested one small change in the chorus. Originally I had “the more that he gets above you.” She said, “I know what you are trying to say… how about ‘the more that he gets up on you’?” I was like, “Oh my god, YES!!! That’s so perfect!!!”
That sparked something. At home I worked on it and came up with some lyrics, still not happy with my melody. I started doing this thing where if I couldn’t come up with a melody I would just speak them in rhythm. I wouldn’t call it a rap exactly. I have too much respect for rappers to call it that. Maybe a white girl rap? We need a word for that.
Marissa also suggested for the bridge I give instructions on how to “feed the meter.” I liked that idea a lot and it just all fell into place quickly after that.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
When I was really young, I watched my aunt play the piano in church. She accompanied the “choir” and the congregation in our small, baptist church in PA. When I turned 7, my mom got me a tiny keyboard for Xmas. She says I “learned” (or really picked out the tune to) seven songs between Xmas and New Years. Realizing I had talent, my mom talked my dad into buying a piano and took me to piano lessons.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
My parents aren’t musical – except my dad had a nice voice and would sing solos in church and for weddings. However, my dad’s sister played piano, and my mom’s sister actually had a couple folk albums in the 70’s. My mom’s other sister is an artist who does paintings, pottery, and quilts. Mom’s mom – the person Grandma Rita is based on – was a socialite who sewed, and did all the needle crafts as well as doll making and basket weaving in her later years.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
The Beatles. I saw a PBS documentary when I was 12. It changed my life. Before that I wanted to be a pediatrician. Afterward I wanted to be a Beatle. The next day I ordered a guitar from the old sears catalog and began writing songs.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
No one taught me to play or sing, except my piano teacher who taught me to read music. I took it from there by practicing. My mom would buy me music books sometimes for the piano including the complete works of the Beatles. I became good enough that I accompanied by high school’s chorus. I learned to sing by trying to mimic my favorite artists of the day, like Madonna. I would break down my favorite songs and try to figure out why I liked it then write something similar. Eventually, I stopped listening to music because I had it all in my head… lol. I do listen to the top hits on the radio when driving though.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
The first concert I ever went to was The B-52’s with Ziggy Stardust opening. It was at some amphitheater in Philly.
How could you describe your music?
In general terms it is pop. A little bit more specific it is called Indie pop or rock these days. I call it quirky fun pop rock.
Describe your creative process.
Music is constantly swirling in my head. Every now and then I’ll land on a hook. From there I flesh it out into a chorus. Then I start on the verses. I used to go to my guitar to “find” the chords before I forgot it. Now I will record it on my phone’s voice memos or if I have time I will go to my computer and start creating its track in Logic Pro. I have finished whole songs lately where I don’t even know what key it’s in or how to play it on the guitar! That never happened before I learned how to record and produce.
What is your main inspiration?
These days I write to stay normal. I went through I really tough time 5 years ago and started back in music as a form of therapy. As usual I went overboard with it… lol…
What musician do you admire most and why?
Paul McCartney. He has written some timeless songs that connect with so many people over many generations. Also, he seems like a genuinely good person. I also admire Taylor Swift. She’s incredibly prolific and most of her songs are top notch. The fact that she’s been able to sustain and grow her fan base for more than 15 years is incredible. She also seems like a nice person. I used to admire Madonna, but now I realize she’s not so nice.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Of course! It’s evolved with my access to technology. At first it was all acoustic. Then electric with a band. Now I play to tracks and a lot of it is more on the synth side. I also white-girl-rap more of my lyrics.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
I don’t feel like I have competitors, but it you mean similar artists… I’d say right now that Olivia Rodrigo and Jax are the closest to what I do. Someone said once that I’m the Lady Gaga of rock.
What are your interests outside of music?
Politics and religion. Don’t get me started on either. Ha!
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
Unless your music is being played on the radio/playlists or you are touring constantly with large crowds and low overhead, you need a side hustle. I do upholstery. If I’d never been bitten by the bug I might have been a pediatrician or electrical engineer.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
Right now the biggest problem is how to get attention. There is just soooo much out there and no central mountaintop to shout from anymore. Also, there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything yourself that needs to be done.
Social media is sooooo time consuming and to be successful with it you have to do it often and consistently. Also, if you do have a “hit” the only real money you can possibly make these days is from touring and merch. Those things used to be for promotion so you could do them for a little over cost and give away shirts then sell your physical music product. Now it’s all backwards. It is not sustainable.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
Fairer pay structure for music makers.
What are your plans for the coming months?
I’m pushing this single, Peter Meter, as hard as I can then see where it takes me. I have one more single to go in this “Waterfall” release method. It’s another fun one called LLAP (Live Long And Prosper).
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
I do plan to put out yet another version of Reclaim Your Power with guest rappers. That should be fun.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
I love you all!!!! Thanks for sticking with me. <3