Steven Neff/ Music Enthusiast Magazine

Steven Neff/ Music Enthusiast Magazine

Mayhem is being unleashed on a city near you and no one will be able to escape. Once you’ve listened to Manhattan native Madame Mayhem’s captivating vocals, there will be no getting away [nor will you want to] as you quickly become a part of the Madame’s ever growing fan base. Her voice is unforgettable, her stage presence a force of metal elegance.

The Madame recently opened in the Orlando, Florida area for metal queen Doro Pesch and she took a few minutes to talk with Music Enthusiast Magazine about her beginnings and her new album which features several rock heavyweights as part of a strong collaboration that has gotten a lot of good press.

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Music Enthusiast Magazine: Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with us.

Madame Mayhem: Thanks for having me.

I’m sure you’ve already heard, “I had no idea who Madame Mayhem was.” Do you get that a lot?

Yeah, I do. I’ve been getting it a lot lately and I kinda like it because that means people are starting to know who I am now and that’s great.

Tell us where the journey of Madame Mayhem began?

I’ve been doing this for a very long time now and I’ve always wanted to be a performer, a singer, a musician; and I’ve been doing it for a while and I knew I wanted to do it in the genre that I’m passionate about which is hard rock and metal and New York base born and I got lucky with all of the hard work and writing some songs with some great people and I’ve been able to hustle my way through.

How about your parents, have they been supportive?

Yeah, I’ve been very lucky and I mean it’s definitely not their first choice for their daughter, but both them and my brother have been really great. They’re very supportive and I’m very thankful for that.

I have to ask then, what was their first choice?

They didn’t have a choice, they definitely didn’t like pick a choice, I think they were happy I’m living my dream. I think they just were like looking at what the industry is and they’re like, “It looks like it’s hard, why would you want to do that”? But that’s my passion and that’s what I love to do so you know they accept it and I’m really happy about that.

That’s nice.

Yeah.

In doing some research for the interview, I read that you are classically trained. Can you talk about your training that’s brought you to where you are now?

madamemayhem-now-you-knowYeah, well because I wanted to perform from as early as I can remember; the closest thing because I was in the New York area was musical theatre, Broadway, and classical music. So I started to train vocally in classic so that is where my  range is from.

I can sing low, high, all over the place. I have a high range and that’s the discipline that I have and that helps me actually to sing rock now because I know how to control the voice and all that stuff and I think it was very helpful for me to learn how to do that and that’s what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been training since I was a little girl.

Don’t you think that that brings a little elegance to metal?

I hope so, it’s always fun.

It’s pretty testosterone filled [metal], that’s why I’m asking.

Yeah, I mean I’m definitely not too girly of a girl, so like testosterone filled metal’s great.  But it’s great to also have some girls bring the power vocally, you know.

You have a brand new album entitled ‘Now You Know’ which was released in October. What’s been the response you’ve been getting from listeners?

I’m thrilled, it’s been very positive so far and I’m glad that people can relate to it. I mean I spilled my guts in this album and with the help of Billy Sheehan and Cory Lowry who co-wrote the songs with me, they really encouraged me to tell the truth and you know basically, turn it into what I want it to be which I’m very happy about that because they’re amazing talents and there was no ego in the way. They were just very nurturing and I’m thrilled and I hope people can relate because it was real situations that I was dealing with and people probably feel the same aches that I do.

So it’s still got your signature on it?

Oh absolutely, 100% my signature. That’s why we called it ‘Now You Know.’ Even though I’ve been doing this for a while, I think it’s a great re-introduction to who Madame Mayhem is.

And speaking of Billy Sheehan, how did that connection come into play?

He’s been a mentor of mine and a dear friend for years and he’s always been supportive of me even when I wasn’t working with him specifically. I go out to LA a lot and we were writing and he liked my voice and he said “Let’s go do a record.” And of course, when you hear that from Billy Sheehan it’s very exciting. But he’s an amazing human and as you know a ridiculously talented bass player, producer, and musician, and songwriter as well. He has everything and he’s so humble too. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine, but he’s the most amazing human I’ve ever met to be honest. He’s like such a great guy.

So it was easy to work with him?

So easy, and when you co-write with someone it really has to mesh and I love co-writing with people and collaborating because you get to bounce ideas off. But sometimes if you don’t click with that person, it’s never gonna work. But I was able to do that successfully, very successfully with Billy, very successfully with Cory and I’m really happy about how these songs came out.

As far as some of the other A-list musicians; you’ve had A-list musicians working on this collaboration. What brought them in?

Well, we were thinking, OK, who are the people that we want to bring what we wrote to life and we reached out to some guys and I was very happy about the people that were willing to help out. You’ve got Ray Luzier on drums, you got Bumblefoot and Russ Parrish on guitar, and of course Billy and Cory bass; and we had an amazing engineer Simone Sello;  an amazing team all around that were just really able to bring it to life and give it a lot of power.

You’ve gotta feel especially good when those guys believe in you so much that they’d want to collaborate with you?

Yes, absolutely. It definitely lets me feel like I’m doing my job right and that I’m on the right path, you know?

 

That’s a nice path.

Yes. All I want to do is play live, so that’s’ it. I love writing, I love recording, but my number one passion has always been live performance. So if I’m on the road for years and years to come for the rest of my life I think I’ll be very happy.

You can do that?

That’s what I can see, yeah.

That’s what you like, that’s what you’re here for.

I really don’t really see another alternative honestly, so let’s hope it happens, right? There’s nothing else going on.

Now that you’ve gotten a rush of rock testosterone in working with Billy Sheehan and company, are there any metal goddesses you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

So many. I think it’s amazing any metal goddess that exists, especially Doro who I’m here opening for I think that’s amazing and she’s so awesome. We started off the tour yesterday and I just watched them play and I saw her and it’s just so great. I mean there’s so many chicks in metal now and there are so many that paved the way and I feel like any girls that you know if it’s a similar genre, similar power voice; I think I could mesh well with a lot of them, I think it would be amazing.

Anybody, just like one if you had to think of one?

I think it would be cool to collaborate with Amy Lee or you know anyone, really anyone.

OK, I”ll say anyone.

As long as it’s a chick with a voice who can nail it. That’s how you can do it. If it’s a chick with a voice who can nail it.

If they can’t nail then you’re not interested. [laughs]

I’m gonna put my whole voice and guts out there. I would hope anyone that I collaborate with will do the same.

What do you feel is different between the new album that you’ve got and your last one ‘White Noise’?

I think I’ve grown a lot as a writer. I think I learned a lot writing ‘White Noise’ and I’m so thankful to Mark Hudson and everyone that collaborated with me on that album and I love it still. It’s definitely a different vibe, it’s a different feel; and I think I’ve always been very passionate in the heavier, darker kind of feel, cause it’s kind of how I am. So I think that ‘Now You Know’ is definitely a clearer visitation of who I am. I love both records and I think that the more I write the more clear my messages will be.

You’re gonna go on stage in the next hour or two actually.

Yeah.

What does performing do for you personally?

It’s like my thrill and my home and my life. I mean it doesn’t matter what’s going on. I am so comfortable and happy on that stage. Even if it’s not a stage as long as I’m performing, I don’t really  care. I can be performing by myself, it doesn’t matter.  I love live performance and singing and I also love to feed off the crowd because that means if they like it that means we relate and that’s a connection and I love that. You know I do it for me of course, but also, I want that to mean something to other people just like music’s meant to me. Yeah, that’s my favorite.

Don’t you think a lot of that’s been lost?

I think so. I think that entertainment is an important factor but it shouldn’t be the first factor. Everyone always says it whose around me and I say it as well, “Music first, everything else comes second.” I love being a show woman, don’t get me wrong; I put on a show. I love it, but if the music’s not there or the quality’s not there, then it doesn’t really matter.

What would you like fans to know about you? Like in 20 years are you gonna say “people just didn’t get me”? What do you want them [the fans] to get?

I want them to get that I am a musician, an artist, a singer, and a performer whose really just doing hard rock metal music, spilling her guts out and hoping other people can relate, you know. It’s getting all that power together as all one force you know. We’re the weirdo’s, we’re the misfits, we’re everything, but we’re not. I know it’s not cheesy like “anything you put your mind to”; that’s not what I’m trying to say. Hard work and persistence and just never giving up is so important and I think that that’s the message I always want to relay because I have been doing this for  a little bit now; not for like 50 years but I’ve been doing it. I’m not there yet but I’m hoping that I get to that point to that age where I can be doing this for the rest of my life and say that was my dream from when I was born and that I was able to succeed in it. Everyone’s like “Who do you compare yourself to?” Honestly, I don’t go out of my way to be different, but I definitely never think “OK, let’s do this like this band.” I’ve never been like “I want to be like this one or this one.” I just want to do what I want to do and hopefully people will get it.

In closing, do you have anything you’d like the fans to know?

Just check out madamemayhem.com. Keep in touch. Yeah, we have a bunch of new videos out and just check out the music and hopefully you’ll like it. Reach out to me on social media. I do all my own social media. It’s really hard to juggle it all. It’s getting a little more difficult, but I try. I try my hardest because I know that as a fan as well in music I love that connection so I try my best to do it as much as I can. So, just to reach out and check out the music. I hope people like the new record. I’m very proud of it.