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  • Flex Staff

Madison Steinbruck Discusses Nashville Collaborations, Genre Shifts, and Heartbreak Anthem "Kathryn"

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Madison Steinbruck released her latest single, “Kathryn,” today off of her upcoming debut LP Australia’s Lonelier. The indie track, a personal ode to the hurt that comes with unexpected heartbreak, masterfully weaves between the all-too-familiar patterns of anger and melancholy. "I hate that I have to set this record on fire/ Cause you gave it to me," she begins.

With a background In Corpus Christi, TX, time spent in Australia, and a home now in the musical hub of Nashville, TN, Steinbruck has carefully molded her unique sound while paying respect to the biting edge of classic female country stars. In many ways, "Kathryn" takes on the foundational themes of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," this time with the target being a cheating

Credit: Victoria Metzger

partner rather than the mistress herself. Phoebe Bridgers and Adrienne Lanker are noted as influences for Steinbruck, with her hazy sound and crisp vocals transporting listeners to a similar, far-off world.

We sat down with Madison to discuss "Kathryn" and learn more about her songwriting and recording processes.


Flex: "Kathryn" has some incredibly relatable lines. As the songwriter, where did the inspiration come from, and what was it like to set music to these words?

Madison: It was important to me to capture how I felt in the specific moment I was writing "Kathryn." I didn't want to write anything hateful, I only wanted to capture how it felt to be forced to let go of someone that you only wanted to hold onto. It's even more heartbreaking when it feels like it could've been so easily avoided.

F: As an artist from Nashville, your indie leanings are a welcome change! What has it been like bending genres in such a country-dominated area?

M: I think there are a lot of really great artists in Nashville and I am super inspired by live music, so anytime I can get out to a show is beneficial for myself as a writer. I really didn't

know what genre I fell under when I was younger, being raised in Texas country kind of seemed like the only route. Coming to Nashville and meeting so many musicians that listened to and played all genres really helped me find my place in the indie/Americana realm. It's super nice to set myself apart within this genre and keep exploring new sounds.

F: You mentioned that artists featured on this recording were also local musicians. Have you found a sense of community in Nashville, and if so how has that influenced your work?

M: One of my good friends, Josh Halper, produced this record and plays all the guitar parts as well - he has helped immensely by connecting myself with the amazing musicians we have playing on this record. Nashville operates like a small town, which is one of my favorite things about the city. It exudes community and feels super homey. I'm constantly on the go and love to travel, but Nashville definitely feels like home base and that is absolutely due to the kindness of all the people here. The musicianship has influenced my work immensely and encourages me to continue honing my craft. It's like you hear yourself getting better, but then you hear your friends playing out and you're even more inspired by their work.

F: "Kathryn" is the perfect track to play when you need to get all of your heartbreak out. Have you ever played it live, and if so what was the audience's reaction? If not, how do you anticipate listeners will make it their own?

M: I don't believe I've played "Kathryn" live yet... I wrote it at the very end of 2019 and then moved to Australia in early 2020 so I've mainly played it with my brother while making the first demo and then for friends/family once we started recording the record. It's definitely my mom's favorite song on the album - she likes the edge, haha. I think people will really love the song, especially live. I'm definitely most excited to play this one with a band. I asked Josh if I could light his guitar on fire for our performances and he said ", as long as you buy me a new one." So hopefully one day we reach that level - but I think that this song will help people that have been betrayed/hurt/cheated on to feel more empowered and hopefully channel their negative feelings into something more positive.

F: What can we expect from your debut LP? We can't wait to hear it!

M: Thank you! I also can't wait for everyone to hear it! I wrote most of Australia's Lonelier while in quarantine and had a lot of time to reflect on the first quarter of my life, as well as observe other stories play out. I keep referring to it as my "coming of age" piece and that's exactly what it is to me. I was 22 when I wrote the oldest song "Savings" and I'm now almost 26 releasing this record. It's about loving and losing, family members passing, holding back feelings due to pride, and at the end just hoping someone will treat you gently one day. I hope you like it!

"Kathryn" is available across streaming platforms today.

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