Drawing inspiration from the people and experiences in her life, Madison Cummins showcases a knack for weaving relatable stories through songs. Antidote is her newest record and represents the culmination of more than six years of songwriting since she released her first album.
Madison released Antidote, her sophomore album, on July 31. It was recorded in Canal Fulton at Little C Studio.
“After six or seven years, I realized more of what I like to perform and what I want to sound like,” Madison says.
Madison’s songwriting and performing experience go back to her time in high school. She released her first album, Odd Little Place, when she was in college at Ohio University.
Crafting stories and characters is one of Madison’s fortés as a songwriter. This skill particularly shines in “Few Like You,”an ode to a college best friend, and “Sunday News,”a fictitious story about an infatuated boy trying to find a way to accept the subject of his adoration into his life.
Madison describes the title track of the album as one stemming from a previous relationship, in which she wanted to be there for her partner at the end of a busy day. “I think in relationships, the goal is to be with someone who makes your day better, so that’s where that song came from,” Madison says.
Prior to Antidote, Madison was primarily known as an acoustic musician. However, at the recommendation of Erik Urycki of The Speedbumps, Madison worked with producers Daniel and Nathaniel Monea, who own Little C Studio and play in their own band, Hey Monea. Madison says they were an integral part of creating the fuller and more mature sound that Antidote presents, adding strings, organs, layered vocals and harmonies to Madison’s music.
“When I went in [to the recording studio], I thought I had these songs that I thought were done. And when I worked with Hey Monea, they were like, ‘what if we […] changed one of these verses, turned it into a bridge, and changed the chord progression?’” Madison says, “They [Daniel & Nathaniel] pushed me but didn’t pressure me and just say, ‘This needs to change’. They would say, like, ‘We hear this.’”
Considering the uncertainty the local music industry is facing at this time, Madison was faced with the decision to release her album as planned in July or push it out for a few months. She went ahead with the plan, despite the difficulty.
“It wasn’t going to be perfect. When I had my [livestream] release show at Musica, there were no ticket sales and I didn’t really make a ton of money. But, I also know musicians who are struggling a lot harder than me. I have a full-time job and do music as a side gig, which I am really grateful for right now,” Madison says. “I respect all my musician friends doing this full-time and who are continuing to do it even though it is such a challenge.”
Nahla Bendefaa is a writer, photographer, and content creator from Akron, Ohio, by way of Kenitra, Morocco. She enjoys rewatching Friday Night Lights, painting, and confusing Spotify’s algorithm while making her way through a seemingly never-ending tea collection.