Madeline Tasquin

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience. 
Hallo! I’m Madeline Tasquin, born in Canada to an opera singer old hippie mother who took me on tour with her as a baby, and a gold-miner father who used to give my 2 sisters and I rides in the bucket of the excavator at his mine, and could break an apple in two pieces with his hands, a trick which always amazed us. When I was 5 we lost the family farm and that was heartbreaking for all of us in our different ways, but still there continued to be a lot of magic, fun, parties, singalongs at the piano, climbing trees, riding bikes, and time spent with nature in the beautiful Cariboo region of BC, until we moved to the city when I was 10.  I’m grateful, though, to have had both perspectives – the city and and the country life, I think it figured into the compassion and balance I have for humanity and for different world views that are formed out of our life experience.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills. 
I got into playing music on stage first while living in Australia, where I went to pursue an architecture degree. I would do the occasional open mic but I was always intensely nervous and felt like a big hand was holding onto my throat. It wasn’t until I moved to the SF Bay Area to finish my degree and joined a band called Antioquia after a fun weekend in the studio doing backup vocals with them, that my stage fright started to go away. Having the band on stage with me really helped. I was their lead singer for 4 years and we toured all over the United States and would practice for up to 15 hours each week to a metronome, together… that improved my tempo, big-time. I learned a lot of AfroColombian and West African rhythms, and how to play the shekere, maracas, guiro, kaxixi and other hand percussion through that group.

I left Antioquia in 2010 because I had my own songs pulling me in a more folk and orchestral pop direction. My stage-fright came back a little, playing solo once I had recorded and released my first EP “Another Trip Around the Sun” (available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, Deezer, etc). I set off on tours as a solo artist, and through the course of 3 solo tours of Europe and many solo shows in the San Francisco Bay Area, BC, and Montreal, my stage-fright went away. It has everything to do with caring what people think of my music and wanting them to love it and be moved by it. But you can’t please everyone, and it really helps me to just embrace that making music gives me joy and it’s my current Earth mission, so just to bring that joy and not give a sh*% if someone doesn’t dig what I’m doing. And, of course, to know the song well, and be well-rehearsed. 

Now I earn my living thanks to my supporters on Patreon, and thanks to gigs playing French and Jazz music. My current band is a great vocal trio with 2 women. I play guitar, piano and ukulele, Shiloh Parkerson plays flute and sings, and Hannah Levy plays bass and some percussion and sings. I’m really excited about the direction and the stage presence and sound that we’ve been developing. There are a few little things on my YouTube channel already, and I’m hoping to have the funds to record over the coming winter (2017-18).

There’s more to tell of course, but there’s a bio on my website if folks are interested in where else I’ve been musically along the way.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song. 

My genre morphs depending on the Muse and the instrumentation, but for this EP I’ve been saying “prog doux” or “future blues”… I guess it’s the result of a mix of my alternative rock influences (Soundgarden, Nirvana, Jeff Buckley), my jazz influences like Hiatus Kaiyote, and old jazz like Billie Holiday & the older French music I’ve been singing for dollars since I learned to play the guitar, plus some of the newer Indie-folk sounds I love like Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Feist.

The song came about through a series of misunderstandings during a period of long distance love. At the ‘meta’ level, the song is a lament to modern day (mis)communication; to how the nuance of Life is so often flattened for delivery, creating all kinds assumption, projection, and missed opportunity along the way. 

“…but the message became muddled somewhere out passing by the Moon, and all their words were lost in pixelation.” 

I was introduced to the director Romain-Marie by my producer in Montreal, and I really loved what he had made for “Buddahood” by FELP and we got along great. We only had 1 week left before I headed back to the SF Bay Area from Montreal, so we started experimenting right away. My housemates had these cosmonaut-like outfits so that was serendipitous. Since the song is a love letter, we wanted it to be intimate. Because we had no storyboard, the video was really created in the editing stage. We filmed about 40 or 50 hours of footage, which Romain whittled down to 4 minutes. We were shooting during a heat wave in Montreal, and for the interior shots we had blocked off the two windows of a top floor tiny bedroom where I was staying. Add lights & a projector and it was like a sauna in there. Thanks to the (relatively gentle) hardship and challenge of it all, and collaborating with such talented people, I really felt moments of joy through the making of this video. We’re about to start working on another one, so stay tuned on my YouTube channel.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business. 
Everything, eh? Well, I think the music speaks for me best. I invite you to go listen to the album on my Bandcamp page or iTunes and Spotify and all that, and to help me keep making more, which I plan to do until the day I die. 

The ups and downs are all part of the process and make for richer life experience to write songs from, so I try to maintain some level of gratitude even through my depressed times and the moments of self-doubt. I guess what I’d love to tell you most is that I will always be true to the Muse and won’t try to be something I’m not. So if someone is looking for an honest musical expression, I’m a good place to find it. 

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot. 
I’m a solo artist, but this EP was recorded with 3 members of a brilliant musical collective based in Montreal called “Dondepiano.” It was produced by Felix Petit, who also sang a bit and played all the synth and sax you hear on the EP. Jérémi Roy played bass, and William Côté played drums. I hope you’ll listen to some other tracks where their talents really get to shine even more.  We got together at their studio in February, in the thick of a Montreal winter, and after 1 day of rehearsal, we recorded with engineer Jean-Bruno Pinord over the course of 3 days. The plan was to do 5 songs, but we ended up doing 6 because everything went so smoothly and it was so easy to play with these guys so on the last day of recording we actually had some hours left. I scribbled out the chords for “Fil Bleu,” which they’d never heard before, and it wound up being one of my favourite things we did. I put it as the last track on the EP, because it’s a teaser for the music that’s coming on a jazz-opera project I’ve been working away at over the past few years. 

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal. 
My goal is to keep getting better at my craft, at my instruments, and to always stay humble and maintain a strong connection to music’s source. I hope to continually get better at feeling the pulse of the collective consciousness and transferring that pulse into musical expression. I also want to become financially stable so that I can support my parents in their old age and hopefully raise a family of my own.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing. 
I feel the most inspired when I’m far away from my computer and smartphone, when I can be quiet and make time and space for Music to bubble up. Often this quiet time overlaps with being near , but I’m often more inspired to write by what I observe in the city, than by being in the forest. Lyrically, I find Water to be a rich source of inspiration and wisdom. There are so many parallels to me, between water and the flow of life. I like drawing those parallels and it’s started to become a theme in my songwriting. I grew up next to a river, and then a creek, and then a lake… so I guess that makes a lot of sense.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song. 
Hahaha! If I knew that already, my life might be different. Great question! As far as my “hits” go — the songs that are always requested by my fans at shows — they’re the ones that have a memorable melody or hook, a predictable song structure, and that came from a place of intense emotion.  

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there. 
There is only one race: the human race. We’re all on this huge little planet together, so while we’re here let’s all do our best to not judge each other; to cultivate compassion and forgiveness and patience, so that when we’re challenged by life, that practice can support us to make courageous choices based on love, not fear.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
Don’t try to be like other people. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Be prolific, don’t be perfect. Find joy and inspiration in other people’s successes. Lift them up, and you’ll be lifted. Go where the joy is.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained. 
I released my debut EP “Another Trip Around the Sun” in 2012, and this Tuesday November 7 2017 I release “Future Telephone.” I recorded a lot of music in between, but very little of it was released because of perfectionism, self-doubt, and comparing myself to other artists. I’m happy to have conquered those demons, and I know that the coming years will be much more prolific and productive.

I completed 3 long tours of Europe between 2013-2015 and made a lot of friends/fans there, and also went on a 40-day tour to BC, backed by jazz trio Bastet. The thing I’m most proud of now is my vocal trio with Shiloh Parkerson and Hannah Levy. We recently played a really great set at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in California and after singing together for 1 year, I know in my heart of hearts that we’re going to do lots of great things together. 

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

The Bay Bridged music blog recently premiered my music video for “Future Telephone” and had kind words to say about the music. I thank them for everything they do for the Bay Area music scene.

Future Telephone has also been featured or will be featured on these music blogs: Another Whisky for Mister Bukowski, Aipate, mp3 Hugger, and Mouca Records.

The album isn’t out yet so it hasn’t had a chance to air on radio, but I’m thankful to KPFA radio for supporting my various projects over the years in the Bay Area through interviews, playing my 2012 music on the air, and for hosting live performances with various groups of mine. Also KALX and KALW for featuring me in interviews and live performances at different times.

Last but not least, Dennis Cook of Jambase.com and his great music blog Dirty Impound for reviewing and featuring my music and providing great quotes like “there’s a big Caribbean voice inside that tiny, white Canadian.”

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio. 

My lyrics either come in one swift stream of consciousness, or through a lot of chopping and changing and hard work. My composition and melodies are the same way. I like to do my own vocals at home with my own microphone and on my own time, so I can have fun with it and not feel too much pressure of paying an hourly studio rate. But I always ask a friend to listen so that I don’t revert to my perfectionist ways. I think people really like to hear the imperfections and mistakes; it makes it more real, more relatable.

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Name five biggest artists that you like. 

Hiatus Kaiyote, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Grizzly Bear, and Kendra McKinley.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so. 

Fantastic Negrito and I plan to collaborate over the winter, which I’m looking forward to a lot. He’s a really talented dude full of integrity who really dedicates himself to be in musical service to his communities and the world. I aspire to always be that kind of artist, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with.

I did a really fun and challenging collaboration with Beats Antique on a track called “Le Refuge,” there was also an Israeli artist singing in Arabic, and I was asked to create lyrics in French. The project was inspired by the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the retaliations that followed. The lyrics are about peace and finding unity through singing together, a metaphor for learning to live together on the same planet. It can be found on their excellent 2016 album “Shadowbox.”

I would love to collaborate with Disasterpeace, a friend of mine who wrote the music for Fez, The Floor is Jelly and other great video games, and created the soundtrack for indie zombie movie It Follows. He’s brilliant and I have been inspired by his workflow and his transparency about how he creates music, as well as his rhythmic and harmonic tendencies which share some similar trends as my own. We’re both influenced by the romantic period of classical music, but his grasp of synth music, the spectrum of sound, and his voicing on the piano, are really inspiring to me.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network. 

www.tasqu.in is my official website

www.instagram.com/madelinetasquin

www.youtube.com/madelinetasquin

patreon.com/madelinetasquin –> this is a site where users can subscribe to me as an artist and receive perks as thank-you for doing so. So far I’m granted a $550 monthly budget to do my work as a musician and it relieves so much stress from my life that I’m able to write, compose and collaborate more. I’d love to get to a $1000 monthly budget by this time next year, and that’s just through the collective contributions of lots of people who believe in what I’m doing. 
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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music. 

Bandcamp is the most direct way to buy my music, and sales are reported to Soundscan: http://bit.ly/bandcampFT

iTunes: http://bit.ly/itunesFT

Amazon Music: http://bit.ly/amazonFT

If people use Spotify, please follow me as an artist, and add my songs to your playlists! This attracts the attention of Spotify playlist curators, and I can earn a decent income if just one of my songs is added to a well-followed Spotify playlist!  Thanks in advance. http://bit.ly/tasquinSpotify

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day. 

My happiest day was the day I saw my nephew Tristan being born. I felt an awe I’d never felt before, about the miracle of life, about the strength and resilience of women, about the beauty that can come from suffering, and I just felt grateful to have been born, grateful for my mother, for my life, for my sister, and for being a part of the human race.

My saddest day? I have sad days every month, but I remind myself “this too shall pass,” so I don’t let myself get too deep into the blue. I guess the saddest day recently was when my father was admitted to the hospital. He was very dehydrated and had a stroke, and I really thought he wasn’t going to make it. My mind went to the worst place, since being far away from him I have a fear that I won’t get to spend enough time with him before he passes away. But it turns out he’s just fine, and he has a lot of life left in him. But I really felt the joy drain out of me and I let myself get overtaken by fear and sadness. Luckily I’m a songwriter, so I get to translate those experiences into melodies and chord progressions.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars. 

I would set aside half of it to create a foundation that will provide subsidies to artists and entertainers to go entertain children and adults in refugee camps. It pains me to think of how much refugees have suffered in the places they’re fleeing from, leaving their homes, and then having to live in these camps without a clear future for them or their children. I’ve been inspired by organizations who go to play music and bring clowns and circus artists to refugee camps to bring some fun and lightness and joy, and I hope to travel to a refugee camp in 2018 to sing songs for kids and adults and experience what these camps are like for people.

With the other half I would create an organization that gets people on opposite sides of the political spectrum to talk to one another. It’s so easy to point the finger and say “they’re wrong” and to villainize people that we disagree with. But after an hour of mediated conversation and asking each other questions and listening, it becomes clear that we’re motivated by a lot of the same needs, hopes and fears, and that there are ways to understand each other that aren’t allowed to grow and develop by our normal means of communication.

(and OK, before all that benevolent spending I’d set aside $5000 for myself to buy a vintage synthesizer, a nice condenser microphone, a beautiful jazz guitar, and a nice winter coat for my next recording months in Montreal.)

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