Mixed Media: Singer Madison Malone goes beyond Madison

Jimmy Brandmeier wrote a song, book for his kids

Madison Malone making music

Not long ago, a teenage Madison Malone could be found singing cover songs in bars all over town. The 2012 graduate of Portage High School gigged here for seven years before leaving her namesake city of Madison for Los Angeles in late 2016.

The following year she collected her fourth and fifth Madison Area Music Association Awards for “Alternative Performer of the Year” and “Alternative Album of the Year.” That award-winning album, “Bloom,” has 11 tracks and sparse instrumentation, revealing an impressive range, clarity and control behind Malone’s softly delivered vocals.

That same year Malone uploaded to YouTube effervescent acoustic covers of The Beatles’ “Let it Be” and The Cranberries’ “Dreams.” At Sony Music in Los Angeles, she wrote songs for other artists and commercials.

But Malone is back putting out her own tracks. She released “Flowers on Leather” in February and “Shoreline” in July. And she’s gaining fans close to home, too. She won the most votes in Summerfest’s Emerging Artist Series the day she performed at the Milwaukee music festival (July 7). Malone didn’t stop in Madison following that performance, but we’re hopeful she’s planning a return. madisonmalonemusic.com

When a song can’t say it allMixed Media: Singer Madison Malone goes beyond Madison

It started as lyrics to a song — a song Madison-area music producer Jimmy Brandmeier titled “Be Who You Are: A Song For My Children.” What it became, however, was a 360-page book of heartfelt advice, aphorisms, family remembrances and anecdotes from Brandmeier’s years in the music business. Madison artist Christian Andrew Grooms penned the nearly 100 illustrations.

The five chapters of the book — available now as an e-book through Morgan James Publishing and as a paperback in bookstores as of Oct. 9 – correspond with the five verses of the song. As Brandmeier explains in a letter included in the book to his three now-grown daughters, “The song took on a life of its own. Each line grew into a separate topic. The lyric spun like a thread that wove the prose that unfolded into this book.”

Brandmeier, a gifted jazz flutist, wrote commercial jingles and licensed existing music for TV and movie soundtracks and worked with many top contemporary adult musicians for music label Tambourine Inc. in San Francisco before starting his own label, 180 Music, in Madison.
Through another company of his, 360 Productions LLC, Brandmeier offers clinics, included one titled “Be Who You Are: Your Life in the Music Business.” He says he is also developing a musical.

To hear the song and read excerpts from the book, go to jimmybrandmeier.com.

*Editor’s Note: Mixed Media is a monthly series featuring a variety of arts and culture happenings in the Madison area.