Country music sweetheart Madeline Merlo has had a busy year since the release of her self-titled debut EP in July 2014. From CMT video premieres and various award nominations to performing for the troops, being featured in a new book and starring in a new movie, there isn’t much the girl hasn’t done!
Starring alongside Jana Kramer and Sophie Tweed-Simmons (daughter of Gene) in the upcoming film “Country Crush,” Madeline Merlo will portray aspiring singer ‘Nancy Taylor’ who falls in love and learns from challenges along the way in her quest for stardom. Inspired by the Nashville scene and the genre as a whole, the maker’s of “Country Crush” are incorporating songs from their roster of artists. ‘Country Crush’ will be shot this spring and is set for release in early 2016.
Madeline has also been featured in Sparkle: An Inspirational Handbook for Young Girls. Available on Amazon as of March 3, the book includes a series of interviews with successful female artists, entrepreneurs and public figures in British Columbia, Canada.
In January, Madeline was able to join Tim Hicks to travel and perform overseas for men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. Part of ‘Team Canada,’ Madeline toured with a small group of Canadian ambassadors from the sports, music and entertainment industries to the HMCS (Her Majesty's Canadian Ship) Fredericton ported in Sicily, Italy and an operations base in Kuwait.
Madeline was blown away by the amount of bravery and humanity she witnessed. “The trip stirred my soul. Looking into the eyes of these brave soldiers for seven straight days was life changing. Their positivity and dedication to our country will stay with me for as long as I live.”
A dedicated singer/songwriter early on, Madeline regularly performed at local venues during her high school years. "Mostly at coffee houses for just a few people," she says, "but I never cared how many people were there. I just wanted to sing for anyone who would listen and wanted to hear my music."
She got her break when “Sinking Like a Stone” was picked up by 93.7 JRfm in Vancouver, won 5 consecutive nights in their New Country Challenge and added to rotation. Suddenly, Merlo had the attention of major labels including RGK Entertainment/Open Road Recordings President Ron Kitchener. Once he came to see her play at Vancouver's Railway Club, "it was Madeline's voice that grabbed my attention," Kitchener said, "but after spending time with her I realized that with her confidence, talent and general approach to life, she's destined to go places and we're highly motivated to bring her music to the masses."
When this BC native was signed to RGK Management and Open Road Recordings in February 2013 it was a dream come true. "My father was a musician and I think it's in my DNA to be an artist," Merlo says. "I remember always knowing that was what I wanted to do. It's always been music for me.
The video for ‘Sinking Like a Stone’ later premiered on CMT Canada the video as part of a "Fresh Face" artist campaign, receiving a great response from country music radio. Both “Sinking Like A Stone” and her second single “Alive” ended up becoming retired champions of JRfm’s New Country Challenge. The video for “Alive” was shot in Las Vegas by award-winning director John 'JP' Poliquin and has been popular on both country radio and CMT’s music video charts. Following this success, Madeline was nominated for Female Artist of the Year and the Ray McCauley Horizon award at the 2014 BCCMA Awards.
Madeline Merlo has always had an eclectic taste, and in her music you’ll hear the influence of classic country of artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, R&B greats Etta James and Billie Holiday and modern superstars such as Miranda Lambert. Regardless, Merlo has a style all her own, with chops, spirit and soul to spare, and a unique sound that sets her apart. Released July 17, her latest single ‘Honey Jack’ does just that!
Madeline was recently nominated for Rising Star at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Meant to honour artists that have gained significant traction in the past year, the awards will be presented on Sept 13 as part of Country Music Week in Halifax.
This summer you can catch Madeline performing at the Sunfest Country Music Festival in Cowichan Valley opening for Keith Urban on August 1.