Artist Spotlight: Mad Welsley Explores the Ups and Downs of Personal Growth in “Working On Me”
Indie-pop artist Mad Welsely made a statement when she dropped her debut EP For The Boys I Used to Love in September 2020. The vibrant pop album explores the beginnings and ends of Mad’s past relationships. The EP is wrapped up with “Working On Me,” a jazzy electro-pop exploration of Mad’s relationship with herself - a track that features incredibly relatable lyrics about personal growth.
The recently released alternate version of “Working On Me” takes an already stunning track and strips it down to a shimmering exploration in self-improvement. The simplicity of the alternate version allows Mad’s soulful vocals and insightful lyrics to take center stage. Co-written with Matt Harris and Chelsea Balan and produced by Jonathon Jircitano, “Working On Me” comes when conversations about self-love, personal growth, and mental health are becoming normalized and are becoming priorities within society.
What I love most about “Working On Me” is the acknowledgment that self-love and personal growth are not linear processes. The chorus sums it up perfectly, “I’m working on me/ Learning myself/ What I need/ Got me so free/ Falling apart perfectly…”
I talked with Mad about the story behind “Working On Me,” how she’s grown as an artist since releasing her first single in 2020, and what she’s inspired by - check it out below.
YMM: Introduce us to Mad Welsley - tell us a bit about yourself.
MW: Hi! I’m Mad ☺ I’m an Alt-Pop artist in Nashville by way of Memphis. I started singing and performing around the age of 5 and pretty much haven’t stopped since. Growing up, I was in various music projects and eventually formed the band Stealing Oceans, a seven-piece hip-hop/funk band here in Nashville. After writing and touring for a few years with them, I decided to pursue my solo career in 2017. Several years of me writing for myself and other artists led me to release my debut EP, For The Boys I Used To Love, in the fall of 2020. I am currently gearing up for several new releases to come out in 2021!
YMM: You put your first single “LMK” out in March 2020 - how have you grown as an artist since then, and what have you learned?
MW: Oh man, I have learned so much since putting that first release! “LMK” was really just an experiment - it was me and my producer’s first song to work on together, and it was the first song and music video I put out as a solo artist. We were really just throwing everything out there to see what worked and what didn’t. Because we let that process be so natural, I have really been able to come into my own with my brand and sound with zero pressure. The biggest lesson I’ve learned though is it takes a village. I’m no longer afraid to ask for help because I’ve learned that it’s pretty close to impossible to do any of this on my own.
YMM: What inspires your music? Are there any bands or artists that you draw inspiration from?
MW: My music is definitely inspired by whatever it is I am going through at the moment. I can’t help but be brutally honest in my writing, and if something doesn’t feel or sound like something I would say, I’m not going to keep it in the song. When it comes to my sound, I pull my inspiration from so many different genres! I grew up listening to blues, soul, hip-hop, and jazz, but now I pull inspiration from more modern pop artists like Dua Lipa and Chika and Raye. I just love everything that those ladies are doing.
YMM: Do you listen to any bands or artists that give you a bit of shuffle shame?
MW: The other day, I found myself jamming to Diana DeGarmo’s first album and realized that I am still the biggest fan of that record.
YMM: How would you describe your sound?
MW: My sound is definitely sassy, no bullshit, girly-pop.
YMM: What’s the story behind “Working On Me”?
MW: I wrote “Working On Me” with my friends Matt Harris and Chelsea Balan in 2019. I remember I was going through a breakup at the time, had just started therapy, and on my way to our session, the melody and lyrics for the verse just popped into my head. When I got there and played them the voice memo I had recorded in my car, the rest of the song just kind of came together. I walked out of that session thinking that I had finally written a song that perfectly described every bit of how I was feeling in the moment, especially the lines “Got a fear of missing out, but when I’m there, I’m freaking out.” That is literally me every single time I go out.
YMM: Why did you decide to release the alternate version of “Working On Me” - is there a story behind the new version?
MW: I wish I could say that I had some grand plan for this project, but I literally woke up one day wanting to make a stripped-down, acoustic version of one of the new songs on the EP. I took a poll on Instagram, and everyone picked “Working On Me.” I thought it would be a super casual release, but then it evolved into a more produced alternate version that eventually evolved into me wanting a completely separate dance remix to pair with it. I really had no idea that my small idea would take on such life, but I’m so happy that it did.
YMM: Who should listen to “Working On Me”?
MW: I really do think that “Working On Me” is super relatable for everyone, but it’s definitely for all of my girls out there that have gone through a breakup (or a two or three) and have decided to spend some time getting to know themselves.
YMM: What’s next for you? Do you have anything in the pipeline you can tell us about?
MW: I am currently in the process of recording a ton of new songs! I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be releasing them. I released a lyric video for the alternate version of “Working On Me” today, so be sure to tune in!
The alternate versions of “Working On Me” are available everywhere you can stream music. If you’re looking for a super relatable track to help you through those days where you’re struggling with the harder parts of self-improvement, this is the song for you. Follow Mad Welsley on Instagram to stay up to date on her latest music.