Madeline Rosene (pronounced ro-SCENE)
...is both sweet and raw, mysterious and brutally honest, unsure, in complete control, and playful. It’s no wonder Madeline’s personality is a contradiction, living between divorced parents in New York City and Cleveland, Ohio. She spent time being home-schooled, in the public school system, and at boarding school –a decision she made and acted on herself so she wouldn’t have to choose between her parents. She excelled academically, but ditched class often. Junior year, Madeline figured out how to attend college without graduating high school (Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts–read the fine print!) and even attended grad school at Parsons: The New School for Design in New York.
The one constant in Madeline’s life was self-expression through writing, another contradiction for the girl who grew up with dyslexia. “I've always loved words. It took me a long time to learn how to read and spell because I'm dyslexic,” she said. “I don't struggle with it anymore, but it was a big challenge when I was a child. I had to spend so much time trying to understand words and phonetics that I guess I had to learn to love them.”
Madeline started playing guitar when she was 10 after asking her older brother, Hub, to teach her how to play. She wrote her first song when she was 12 called Scattered Dreams. “It's a little silly,” she said. “The last line was,‘Some day you will regret this, the day when I'm rich and famous and you'll wish you would have stayed, back in the 7th grade with me...’” Together, Madeline and Hub started a rock band when she was 13 and he was 17 and already in high school. They played clubs all over Cleveland and Akron, sometimes on school nights, and their friends were envious.
Her favorite musician and writer of all time, the late Elliott Smith, went to Hampshire College, so that's how she knew about the school. “He is a huge inspiration in my writing. His lyrics are so honest, and I’d like to think mine are the same way. I have a hard time telling people how I feel or explaining my feelings. Feelings aren't like facts and they aren't set in stone –they fluctuate. I can be the most authentic and truest version of myself when I write music.”
In another contradiction, Madeline was pre-med for two and a half years, but it “sucked the creativity” out of her, and so she changed her major to medical journalism which at least involved writing. For her thesis, she followed plastic surgeons around their practices, watched their procedures, and wrote about them.
But during college, Madeline played shows in Western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. And at Parsons, she realized fashion is a lot like music. “It's a blatant expression that people can read into in different ways. Like music, fashion creates a lot of discourse. I've noticed that fashion influences what we listen to and what we listen to influences what we wear. Self-expression is very important to me. That's one reason I love music and fashion so much. I have a lot to say and I hate being censored.”
Madeline has several original songs and music videos produced, from Short and Sweet (“Short and sweet, that's how I like it. You were right. I'm just a habit.”), Numb (“You can try to hurt me 'cause you think I did you wrong. Yeah, I know you're feeling strongly like the kind of drugs you're on), and Little Planet (“Starry night so clear, 'cause nobody sets foot up here, but I don't bite...’”)
“I love writing. I like writing happy songs, funny songs, sad songs, but I like writing things that make people feel a wide spectrum of emotions within a few minutes. It's music and lyrics that keep me alive.”
- written by Joanne Stanway