Those who grew up with Madison Cunningham have said that visiting her family is a lot like being in a musical. Cunningham’s father, a Costa Mesa pastor and guitar player, dreamed of starting a modern So-Cal version of the Carter Family band with his five daughters, and their home was a place of near-constant singing. Madison began playing guitar and reportedly wrote her first song at the age of four, but it was not until she was twelve that she began taking songwriting and performing seriously. At fifteen she decided to make a career of it and, now twenty-five, she already has proven herself a consummate artist with the power to fuse melody, meaning, and an eclectic blend of musical styles to create grand works that can still fairly be described as pop songs.

Producer Tyler Chester—who has worked with a slew of Americana artists including Andrew Bird, Sara Watkins, and Julian Lage—said, “When I met 15-year-old Madi and she played one of her early songs for me, it struck me within the first 15 seconds that I was witnessing one of the most purely musical human beings I would ever meet.”1 In the decade since, Chester has helped Cunningham record a handful of singles, an EP, and in 2019, her first full-length album. . . .


1. “Madison Cunningham: Artist Bio,” Red Light Management, (accessed January 27, 2020).

2. Alma Deutscher, “Siren Sounds Waltz by Alma Deutscher, Carnegie Hall, Dec 2019,” YouTube, December 23, 2019,

3. Deutscher, “Siren Sounds Waltz by Alma Deutscher.”

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