“Bittersweet, Wishful, & Blunt”: Madeleine Mayi Stirs the Soul with Intimate EP, ‘what happens when it hurts’

Madeleine Mayi © 2022
Madeleine Mayi © 2022
A sweetly stirring project of passion, honesty, and resilience, Madeleine Mayi’s ‘what happens when it hurts’ EP is an achingly intimate artistic statement: A tender and tasteful record that sees the singer/songwriter delving, often unapologetically, into the ways we respond to getting hurt.
for fans of Holly Humberstone, Charli Adams, Abby Holliday
Stream: “best part of us” – Madeleine Mayi




Madeleine Mayi’s latest EP is a radiant, resounding reminder that our pain can be our power; that there is light to be found even in our darkest moments; and that we can turn our hardship, our trauma, and our distress into beauty. A project of passion, honesty, and resilience, what happens when it hurts is an achingly intimate artistic statement: A tender and tasteful record that sees Mayi delving, often unapologetically, into the ways we respond to getting hurt. Sweetly stirring intimacy and charged emotion come to life in five deeply moving indie pop songs that are equal parts bittersweet, wishful, and charmingly blunt.

Heartfelt music like this stings as much as it soars.

what happens when it hurts - Madeleine Mayi
what happens when it hurts – Madeleine Mayi
Of course I’m hurt and ready to be honest
Who believes you when you say you’re not?
Thrown on down the drain
I’ll sit in the pain
You now exactly what you did, be honest
And I think I’ll see you again
But by the time the road ends
Can’t picture you in it
You can’t keep your promise
No I won’t see you again
And by the time the road ends
I’m the best part of us
And now I think you know it

Independently released August 18, 2022, what happens when it hurts is one of those beautifully devastating collections that truly hurts so good. Arriving a year and change after Mayi’s self-released debut album 2/14, and in the wake of a more recent singles campaign, Mayi’s new extended player captures the best of the California singer/songwriter’s open-book artistry: Her confessional tell-all lyricism, captivatingly up-close and personal vocals, and warm, richly melodic songwriting all shine bright across five tracks that channel inner pain into inner strength and beauty.

Madeleine Mayi © 2022
Madeleine Mayi © 2022



“This record was unlike any other project I’ve worked on before, in the way that it organically came to being over time,” Mayi tells Atwood Magazine. “Essentially, I lived it, and then realized it was time to put a bow on this chapter of my life. I think one of the things that we never hear as kids when learning about adulthood is how many people will come in and out of our lives as we grow and develop into adults. This project is me in real time feeling hurt in different ways about the difficulties that relationships can cause. I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad, I’ve felt lonely, I’ve felt empowered, and that’s what this project is about.”

Mayi titled her EP what happens when it hurts because “it was the most direct way to explain what ties this group of songs together,” she explains.

Why sugarcoat when you can be literal and direct? “Each song on the project is meant to represent a different way that we respond to getting hurt: anger, denial, reflection, etc… Each [one] is about a different scenario/relationship in my life, and the through line is that each song is what happened when I got hurt.”

“The process was a year long,” she adds. “In fact, the EP released on August 18th, which is exactly a year since the release of the first single, ‘Light’s Out.’ I knew I had something special in that song and that it deserved a place in a bigger narrative. This year I have really just wanted to get music out there, and this concept came so naturally to me that I knew it was the perfect way to frame these songs.”



Madeleine Mayi © 2022
Madeleine Mayi © 2022

For those new to her music, what happens when it hurts is a fitting introduction to Mayi’s artistry: The EP’s songs are catchy and cohesive, yet the tracks themselves are diverse – each a world unto itself, be it an anthem built off driving guitars (“Light’s Out,” “best part of us”) or a ballad based on moody, brooding pianos (“can’t reach me,” “for a second”).

“I think it captures my artistry accurately,” she says. “I don’t like things to come off as one dimensional, which is why it was important for this project to be something different than a list of 5 or 6 sad songs. Sure, plenty of them are sad, but I think this EP shows how much attention I pay in order to bring out the nuance of these stories. I am also deeply thankful that I have my friend Cole Mitchell who produced this project; collaborating together over the years has been special and this is proof of our growth together.”

what happens when it hurts immediately hits its stride with the aforementioned opener “Light’s Out,” a tenderly buoyant and dynamic track driven by anger. “If I see you walking round my hometown, I might put your lights out,” she sings in the song’s effervescent, emotionally charged chorus. “Just because I kept my voice down doesn’t mean we’re cool now.

i don’t want to forget you
but i can’t make a promise
i barely recognize this
picture in my wallet
if somebody asked me
why i even have it
i guess id feel too guilty
to throw it in the trash and
i never thought about it
if i see you walking round my hometown
i might put your lights out
just because i kept my voice down
doesn’t mean we’re cool now




Madeleine Mayi © 2022
Madeleine Mayi © 2022

The EP’s succeeding songs see Mayi dwelling in her innermost depths, rising to meet the moment, and embracing her emotions head-on. The delicate, lilting “can’t reach me” sees her delivering an emotive, stunning vocal performance that would bring a cry to even the most stoic eye; meanwhile, “best part of us” is something of a poignant, knowing embrace of the good times while you’re still in them, knowing that they may not last forever. An assortment of bright guitars and smoldering synths coalesce alongside Mayi’s evocative voice; in spite of the sentiment’s inherent sadness, this song leaves us in happy tears: We’d rather love than lose, than never love at all – and the same goes for Mayi.

Of course I’m hurting better to be honest
Who believes you when you say you’re not
Throw numb down the drain, I’ll sit in the pain
You know exactly what you did be honest
I’ll think I’ll see you again
But by the time the road ends
Can’t picture you in it
You can’t keep your promise
No I won’t see you again
Yeah by the time the road ends
I’m the best part of us
Now I think you know it

Mayi cites her “best part of us” as one of her favorite songs of the moment, alongside the EP’s hushed, fragile closer, “for a second.”

She adds, “I love the opening line of the project in ‘Light’s Out’: ‘I don’t want to forget you, but I can’t make a promise‘… ouch. I love in ‘best part of us’ when I say, ‘I saw me again, my oldest friend, I never quit until I get my way.’ And also the last line of the project, ‘at least for a second, we’re lovers like Taylor Swift, and I want to stay in it, forever.‘”

 

Madeleine Mayi © 2022
Madeleine Mayi © 2022

And after all is said and done, Madeleine Mayi rises from her own pain to fly high, resilient and strong.

what happens when it hurts is as rich in melody as it is in emotion: Bittersweet though its songs may be, it has a way of uplifting listeners and leaving us stronger, for the better: Ultimately, every moment of pain is an opportunity for growth, and Madeleine Mayi makes damn sure we take that to heart.

“Because each song is so different – and I know this is cheesy – but I really hope that everyone takes whatever they need from it,” Mayi shares. “I have tried to be less judgmental towards myself for the feelings that come up when something hurts me. So really I just hope each listener can find something they relate to at whatever part of the journey they are going through.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Madeleine Mayi’s what happens when it hurts EP with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her latest release!

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:: stream/purchase what happens when it hurts here ::
Stream: ‘what happens when it hurts’ – Madeleine Mayi



:: Inside what happens when it hurts ::

what happens when it hurts - Madeleine Mayi

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Light’s Out

Light’s Out was released exactly a year ago from the date of the EP release, and was the first song that made me think about what this project should be about. Brian Brundage and I wrote this one. I love this song so much because sometimes there is just no other way to describe the way you feel other than, “I’m just angry and I want you to stay away from me.” Lol.



can’t reach me

My parents have this beautiful piano in their home, and I feel like sometimes it whispers songs to me. This is one of those. I just sat down and said everything I needed to say, but to a melody. I hope this reaches people at a point where it can empower them, even though it’s extremely heavy.



best part of us

For me, this song was a slow burn. It was almost like I wrote it before I needed to hear it. I wrote this with my friend Jayden Seeley, and I knew it was going to end up somewhere but at first I didn’t know where. But then I went through something really difficult and suddenly found myself needing this song. I love her. :’)



SNAP

I wrote SNAP in New York when I was there for a few days shooting a video. It was a tough trip for some reason but I had a session with (my now homies) Tiger and Rachel, and we wrote the song in a few hours. It was the most cheerful process in the writing room, which was definitely necessary considering how heavy the subject matter is in this song. It may not come off as the heaviest song on the first listen, but this song is the first time I’ve ever written about my first love, and every single detail in it is true, so this one is very special to me.



for a second

This song came out all in one piece. I have a tendency to be really hard on myself and forget how much nuance is involved when two people decide to part ways. So this song for me is the perfect way to end the project, with a bit of a question mark, because sometimes even when you need to, it’s hard to say goodbye.

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what happens when it hurts - Madeleine Mayi

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📸 © 2022

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