“I’m just really excited about the new music. It’s a totally different genre and style,” says singer/songwriter Maddie Poppe. Poppe gained fame as the winner of American Idol’s Season 16 in 2018, before releasing her debut album, Whirlwind, the following year. The Iowa-born artist became known for a folksy, country sound that landed her a spot opening a US tour for Ingrid Michaelson and a dedicated fanbase of her own. However, last month she released “One That Got Away” (whose official music video dropped just last week), her first new music in three years, which sees her taking her sound in a new direction, drawing comparisons to Bruno Mars and Maroon 5.
“One That Got Away” was initially inspired by a breakup (“A very close friend of mine went through a pretty brutal breakup and I just kept telling her, ‘You’re gonna be fine.’”), but during a recent phone chat with the 24-year-old musician, she tells me that the song quickly evolved into a metaphor for a number of larger things, including her first several years in the music industry, in which she found herself often misled: “This could be an analogy for a lot of things, like to be successful after someone maybe did you wrong, or just didn’t believe in you, and you get to prove them wrong.”
The last time we spoke to Maddie Poppe was last November, just prior to her Acoustic Christmas Tour, which had her playing a bevvy of Christmas covers in the Music Hall at World Café Live. However, this Wednesday, June 1st, she will be kicking off a tour that will have her returning to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection when she headlines the Main Stage of City Winery Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 7th. During our most recent chat, the singer/songwriter, who recently relocated to Nashville, tells me that this tour (which features a full band) will not only be something quite different from the Christmas tour, but something new to even longtime fans: “We’re gonna do all new stuff. I’m kinda getting rid of the old brand, the old Americana stuff, and doing a rebranding.”
Maddie Poppe also tells me that there’s a lot more new music on the way and that, in addition to embracing a different sound than previous releases, it’s also going to be coming from a different point of view… her own: “On my last album I didn’t get to write a ton. I had 42 days to do it, so I didn’t get to write on every song. But, for my new music, I have a hand in every single song, so I get to tell my story.” And although we’ll have to wait for the live shows to hear most of that music, Poppe tells me that she’s been completely bowled over by her fans’ reactions to her latest single: “They’re so loyal. I haven’t put out new music in three years and they’re still hanging out on the fan pages. It just feels really good to have them be so loyal.”
*Get your tickets here.