Madison Steinbruck: Healing Heartache Abroad in New Single and Debut Album "Australia's Lonelier"
Updated: Feb 3
When we first sat down with Madison Steinbruck, she had just released the lead single off of her debut album and was poised to share a second. "Kathryn," the biting alternative-country track was met with resounding approval from her peers and the press. Today, her long-awaited LP, Australia's Lonelier, is officially out in the world, along with the final single by the same name.
"Australia's Lonelier" is a song that can hold the weight of being a title track. In many ways, it is the crux of the entire body of work. It explores her time spent abroad in Australia as she confronted her innermost emotions around an unexpected, and devastating heartbreak. It infuses country and indie influence with the likes of pedal steel, organ, cello, and electric guitar. Its lyrics reach out to the listener, an intimate confessional that marks the best kind of songwriting as she sings, "But nothing stops me/ From wanting the love / I don't have anymore."
We caught up with Madison as she geared up for the release of Australia's Lonelier to discuss both the title track and the album's deeper meanings.
FLEX: "Australia's Lonelier" is the title track of your debut album. What made it stand out to you during the writing and recording process?
Madison Steinbruck: The lyrics in Australia's Lonelier always stuck out to me, especially in the chorus when I say "I hide from myself, but I keep getting caught". I think that's a very relatable line, because as humans in our society we are constantly on the go and I realized that this might be avoidant behavior. I wrote that line in quarantine when I was unable to avoid sitting with myself. I also just love the sound of this song. The production is so great, shoutout to Josh Halper, and it is my windows down, driving song. F: You penned most of this album abroad. What was that experience like, and how did your time in Australia shape the sound of this track specifically?
M: Oh wow, loaded question. Well for background - I intended to work in Melbourne for 6 months and then backpack for 6. I wanted to do all of Australia, New Zealand, and then Southeast Asia. I hoped that experience would better myself and broaden my scope. The plan was to gain this life experience to become a better writer and musician and come back to the US and get shit done - work on a record maybe, tour, get signed hopefully. I was 23 at the time so I mean that was honestly the dream, but then COVID hit and everyone's plans were completely derailed. There were times when I sat and felt really sorry for myself, but then my aunt's husband died and my best friend's father was dying - people were losing their loved ones left and right.
So many people say "you're entitled to your feelings" and I know that it's okay to sit down and feel bad for yourself every now and then, but I had a moment of like "what good is that doing?" for me. I was safe, healthy, living in a nice home with a great family who I see as an extension of my own now. I was and am very grateful, but I was also super lonely. I felt too far at times when I couldn't hug my friends or family. I was scared that my grandparents could get sick and I wouldn't be there. I was still heartbroken over my ex who I found out had been cheating on me for like 8 months right before I left. All of those feelings were so hard and felt too heavy and if I hadn't been able to write these songs I would've completely crumbled. I chose this title track because it was a lonely and somber year, even though Australia is not to blame! It's really just a metaphor for the pandemic. F: There is a story of hope amidst the grief in "Australia's Lonelier." What is one thing you hope listeners will take away from this track?
M: I hope they know that loneliness and longing is completely normal. It's okay to feel lonely, beneficial even, because you start to have a better sense of self. F: You lean more into your country influences in this single than the previous releases. How did you find a balance between indie, alternative, and country? M: I don't know if I did find a balance, this album is a little experimental since it's my first one ever. I focused more on telling a story throughout rather than sticking to a genre, but Josh helped navigate the sound as the producer. I think I will move more in an indie/alt direction as I continue to make and release more music. F: You have an album release show on February 2nd at The Basement in Nashville! Tell us about how that came to be, and what you're most looking forward to in finally performing these tracks live?
M: I am so excited and also petrified to play this show. A lot of my friends and people who heard the singles kept asking when I would be playing out... When I decided to release the record in January I just realized - damn I should probably organize a show. My great friend Cameron Pierpont and I went to dinner and he was like "YOU HAVE TO" and agreed to open for me. It just sort of came together and is still coming together. I'm most looking forward to seeing how everyone likes the songs and getting to be vulnerable in a live setting.
Australia's Lonelier is available for streaming across platforms.