Q+A: 5 minutes with MADJO
French-Swiss Senegalese singer MADJO released her latest anthem, ‘Women’, independently on the 28th of April.
The single honours the sacred feminine and is accompanied by a Mai Hua directed video.
Madjo has perfected her exploratory pop sound that is both warm and lively, as well as intimate, and mixed with indie-rock, soul, folk, and electronic sounds.
The video for ‘Women’ features a group of women from different ages and ethnicities freely dancing to the sound of MADJO’s enthralling voice and celebrating what unites them, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps. The single has been taken from her upcoming album Rebellion slated for release in 2024.
Watch the video for ‘Women’ and get to know more about MADJO below.
Hey MADJO, thanks for joining us on The Playground! We love ‘Women’, a truly heartwarming piece. When did this idea first come to you?
Thank you so much! It came a long time ago, maybe 5 years ago. I read a book from Maya Angelou “Letters to my daughter” and I thought that I would like to write a song about sorority, about women.
Which comes first when you’re writing – the melody or the lyrics?
Always the melody. I need to feel music before words.
Did it all flow at once or take a long time to write the track?
The chorus came first but then the verse didn’t work, so I decided to work with 2 producers from Brussels, Romain Descampes and Ziggy Franzen (from the band Puggy). They helped me to see the track in a different way. It was a real experience to work with guys to write a song about women.
The location of the music video is beautiful, is this location special to you in particular?
Yes it was so important to film this song on my land because I wanted to honor the place where I live with the women that I love too. And for me there is a link between Women and the Earth. It was like a commitment to film the music video in this place.
How was it working with Mai Hua?
Very natural. She is a friend of mine, so everything was easy. We could talk about what we both wanted. And we agreed to imagine the video more like a documentary than a traditional music video.
Could you tell us about your roots and background in music? Who are your main influences?
I started by listening to the music of my parents who went from French music to the Beatles. Then around 16 years old I had my own favorites like Fiona Apple, Lhasa de Sela, Joni Mitchell, Cat Power…later Feist, Radiohead, Björk, Jeff Buckley and many others.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I had a dream when I was 3 years old, I told my mum, I saw myself on stage and people applauded me.
Where have been your favorite places to perform?
I have 2 great memories. One in Kigali (Rwanda) it was a magical venue, I played in a place like a church but it wasn’t, people were so on fire, like a gospel choir!! And the second one was at a French festival in Brittany called «Festival du bout du monde». It was under a huge circus tent, there were thousands of people on fire too, as if we were all singing together!!
Do you have a specific process to get your creative juices flowing?
Not really, it evolves according to my mood.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
When I started to compose I was just recording on GarageBand with the microphone of my MacBook. And then with experience I started working on Protools. I always plug a guitar, a piano, synthesizers, a vocal microphone and I spin around with all this material. I record all my ideas. Sometimes it’s a mess and sometimes I can catch a magical moment that I keep.
Which has been your favorite city to live in during your travels?
Montreal. I’m in love with this city! People, the atmosphere and everything is great there!
How many languages do you speak? Do you have a favorite language to sing in?
I speak French, it’s my mother tongue and I speak English but I don’t consider myself bilingual because I haven’t lived enough time in an English speaking country.
What are you most excited about for 2023?
The release of my new album.
Finally, if you have to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chocolate of course, all sorts.