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SUPERB singer-songwriters are a rare breed, especially those whose work effortlessly combines the personal with the political. Maddy Carty is one such, whether as a writer for other performers and labels or as an artist in her own right.
Her new single Make Me Mad is a slice of soulful pop brilliance. With a stripped-down but pulsing beat, powerful melodies and smooth, totally engaging vocals, she twists the narrative of turmoil in any relationship by celebrating the point between despair and overwhelming love with an intense sincerity.
The way she sings and emphasises “you” is the catchiest hook of the year in a song that everyone can empathise with at some point in their life.
When I caught up with her recently at a gig in London's Smithfield, she laughs as she tells me she wrote the song “about how irritating my husband is” but “it could be about anyone really – your mum, your sister – someone who gets on your nerves, but they are always the one you go back to in the end. It’s about that feeling.”
Carty writes what she feels but doesn’t always know how the final recording will sound and that's true of Make Me Mad. “At first I wasn’t sure, but it has grown on me,” she says. “It’s a bit more of a commercial sound, so hopefully it will get my music out to a wider audience.”
She emanates an obvious pleasure in getting back on stage after a time spent writing songs and tells me how much she enjoyed playing recently at Ronnie Scott’s and the Burston School strike rally. “The audience were really engaged and it was great to be able to mix the set with an equal number of personal and political songs.”
Politics are currently being redefined and re-energised, something she attributes to the vision that Jeremy Corbyn is trying to achieve. “I hope it will survive, I want him to survive. Even with all the smear campaigns being waged in the media against him, I do think people are getting savvy about it all. I remain hopeful, but it is scary what is happening to stop him.”
Maddy’s growing maturity as a writer and performer was well in evidence in front of a whole new audience in Smithfield. Another new number, Dear Heartache, is a perfect showcase for her voice while the just written My Future Daughter “is a kind of love letter to her.”
Although there's been a lot of progress made on women’s rights and equality, Carty puts down a clear marker for a future child that “there is still a long way to go.” Like all her songs, it 's carefully crafted, has some lovely lines and an immediately memorable chorus.
With Fame and Fire, No Shoes in the Summer and joyful finale Good for Me, the set is a perfect introduction to her undoubted talent and she draws sustained applause. If there's any justice, wider recognition will surely soon come.
Make Me Mad is available on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud.
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