WHILE she is a long way from her outback origins, Madeleine Chaplain feels right at home with her music career in Melbourne.
The vivacious 25-year-old singer is about to launch a new single and has just teamed up with Outback Creative, an initiative that gives country artists a chance to showcase their work, to write a song about rural women.
Although she is miles away from Malakoff Station in north-west Queensland where she grew up, Madeleine still has a deep pride for the beef industry and where she was raised.
Organising an interview time among Madeleine's busy schedule proved tricky, but when I spoke to her on the phone she swiftly warned me that she was "a talker”.
And talk she did. With a contagious bubbly attitude and a warm nature, Madeleine opened up about the triumphs and struggles of going from a bush kid to a budding musical artist.
No one in her family was surprised when she decided to pursue a career in performance.
"I think I have been an entertainer my whole life,” she said.
"Anybody who was close to me wouldn't have been shocked because I was playing dress and putting on little performances in the lounge room since I was six years old.”
After completing boarding school in Brisbane, Madeleine studied fine arts and acting at QUT. It was in the uni's theatre space she started to write her own music.
"There were some pianos in our rehearsal rooms and I started having a little bit of dabble on them,” she said.
"I had done a little bit of piano, I was taught piano when I was younger, but I never really stuck to it.”
Learning to craft music accompanied by her prose grew into a passion.
"That's where my drive comes from, my poetry, my words, my lyrics,” she said.
After graduating university, Madeleine continued to focus on her acting and picked up work on short films and commercials in Sydney.
Moving to Australia's largest city came as a cultural shock.
"It was pretty hard times in Sydney. It's an old concrete jungle that one,” she said.
"Just walking down the street and being in a sea of people was pretty full-on.
"You know, you can be in the huge city with millions of people but feel completely alone.
"It was hard because I was so far away from those people who initially supported me - the ones who said 'go for it, go out and do it' - I was so far away from all of them.”
Like any good artist, she used her hardship as inspiration for her song writing. Soon enough she teamed up with other musicians and released her EP, Turtles in the Desert - it reached top five on the Triple J Unearthed list.
"That was pretty cool, then I had what I call a quarter-life crisis and went off travelling and lived overseas.”
Now back in Australia, she is fully focused on her music. She jumped at the chance to team up with Outback Creative.
"The song will be about outback women,” she said.
To write the song, she will use inspiration from her mum, siblings and friends who still live in the bush.
"So it will be about how I feel about women in the bush and how I felt about myself coming from the bush to the city and into this very different industry,” she said.
At the moment she is collaborating with Adam Castle, and will release her new single, Mindless Mess, in the next few weeks.
"I love it, it's like a mix between Tracy Chapman and Bob Dylan,” she said.
While it's a bold and brave move to follow her dreams, Madeleine admitted there were days when she didn't feel quite so tough.
"Some days I feel brave, some days I feel scared,” she said.
"Then some days I don't know what I am doing. But, absolutely, I wouldn't have it any other way, I wouldn't be doing anything else for the life of me. I think I have always known, you know. To have that kind of sound faith that this is what I am meant to be doing just makes it easier.”
Keep up to date with Maddie's career by searching Madeleine Chaplain on Facebook, or searching her Instagram page @madeleinechaplain.
To listen to her music visit www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/madeleine-chaplain
Search Outback Creative on Facebook to stay abreast of all things art.
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