It's safe to say that when Madison Kozak realised her dream in life, she jumped right in the deep end to make it a reality.
Leaving home aged 14, Kozak left her little hometown of Lindsay in Ontario, Canada for the neon and rhinestone of Music City, all in the hopes of pursuing a career as a country music singer.
After graduating from Belmont University in Nashville, Kozak's dream quickly became true when she met songwriting icon, Nicolle Galyon. Upon their introduction, Galyon started her female-focused label Songs & Daughters, making Kozak the centre point of the label and the force of what it represented. In Kozak, Galyon found an honest and compelling songwriter - one who wasn't afraid to show her workings-out in life through her music.
Having spent the last two and a half years holed away writing and refining her sound, Kozak returned with two even more stellar examples of her personal brand of emotional and affectionate songwriting; the passionate 'If We Were A Country Song' and the candid 'One Girl To Another'.
Now, Madison is sharing 'Loud House', a full circle moment that looks back on growing up and the heartache of leaving home to chase that dream you want so badly. With this song alone, Kozak proves it was totally worth the pain.
Madison has a way of nestling differing memories and conflicting feelings that many of us have, whether it's about growing up or letting a love go too soon, into one seamless whole. It gives her songwriting a sense of warmth and understanding - like she's working it all out with us as we go, but is reminding us we'll all get there in the end.
Watch the video for Madison Kozak's new single, 'Loud House', exclusively at Holler below:
Holler spoke to Madison about the new single, who her dream collaborator would be and what songs as a teen she was jamming to on her iPod Nano.
Where are you from and how has that influenced your music?
I was born and raised in a small town in rural Ontario, Canada called Lindsay, before I moved to Nashville aged 14. I think those two places find their way into my music in a couple of different ways. I come from a big family with seven brothers and sisters, so naturally, a lot of my songs are covered with nostalgia. I love to write about home and family and what they mean to me.
I spent most of my high school and college years going to writers' rounds all over Nashville. I basically studied the work of my songwriting heroes as they played their songs and told the stories behind them at places like the Bluebird Cafe, so I hope there’s some of that Music Row / storytelling influence in my music too.
What did you listen to growing up?
Growing up, my dad listened to all classic country music, so I discovered artists like Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash through him first. He took me to the Grand Ole Opry on spring break when I was nine or 10 years old; it had a huge impact on me.
I started to find more music on my own by watching CMT's Hot 20 Countdown on TV after school; I got hooked on artists like Taylor Swift, The Chicks and Miranda Lambert. I remember everyone at school was super into pop and rap, but, for some reason, I was perfectly happy jamming to country music from all different decades on my iPod nano.
‘Loud House’ is the third single you’ve released this year – for you, how do the three singles relate or compare to each other?
These three singles all started with minor chords and major feelings. I spent most of the pandemic at home getting all up in my feelings while writing songs over Zoom, so each single feels like a different area of self-reflection from that time.
‘If We Were a Country Song’ is somewhat of a reflection on what made me fall in love with Country music, ‘One Girl to Another’ is looking back on the road to finding my now boyfriend and ‘Loud House’ is my story of growing up in a big family and the bittersweet parts of leaving home for the first time.
‘Loud House’ is a really emotional and relatable song about home and missing it when you leave. How did you feel when you left home for the first time?
I remember the time leading up to my big move to Nashville, it was the summer of 10th grade. I was ecstatic about the idea of getting to chase my dream in Music City. It felt like I was spreading my wings and I had too much adrenaline to even be scared of the fact that I would be 800 miles away from home.
Looking back, I was so brave for a 14-year-old. I don’t think I ever gave myself credit for it. It wasn't until two or three months in that the homesickness settled in. I never seriously thought about going back, but I do remember the feeling of grieving what I’d left behind in Ontario.
Were there any particularly fond or vivid memories of home that came back to you when working on this song?
I swear every time I play ‘Loud House’ a new memory pops into my head from my childhood. I think about how big, loud and exciting holidays were with so many siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and alike.
Christmas and Thanksgiving were like the Olympics for us! I also remember my first few years of singing on stages at like 10 or 12 years old and having our whole family in the front two or three rows. Those are sweet memories!
I love the subtlety of your songwriting, you cleverly weave contrasting feelings into one central theme. Do you find these songs have allowed you to find answers or a personal sense of clarity?
Ah, thank you so much for saying that! Absolutely, writing music is like going to therapy for me. The writing room is where I sort out all my emotions. These songs all feel like a different journal entry to me; most of my favorite songs by other artists are too. I think making music allows for so much self-discovery, whether you’re creating or consuming it!
Who would be your dream collaboration?
Dolly Parton sits at the top of my list! I am such a fan of Keith Urban, Patrick Droney, Julia Michaels and Little Big Town too - collaborating with any of them would be a dream!
Madison Kozak's new single, 'Loud House', is premiering exclusively at Holler. You can watch the video for the song above.