Raised in rural Ontario, Madison Kozak was surrounded by a mix of musical styles. At home her mom, a huge Motown fan, would be blasting Michael Jackson, and when at school the Black Eye Peas and Justin Bieber dominated her playlists. Her dad’s record collection, however, is where the story begins.
“He was constantly listening to 50s, 60s and 70s Country Music,” says Kozak. I like to call it Opry Country, all the rhinestone cowboys, Dolly Partons and Lorretta Lynns — she was my first concert. That was my idea of Country Music until I was 12, then turned on to CMT and blown away by the current state of country.”
The purity of vintage country comes soaring through in Kozak’s voice. At the same time, her tonality and phrasing rides on a fresh, rich groove of melodic pop. The 22-year-old’s new single, “Click,” captures the sweet spot in a blossoming romance somewhere between the first kiss and the not yet too serious. It’s a carefree, I want-it-now, catchy-as-hell love song that flows easy, then builds to a bursting breakdown with the punchline, “Click!”
“For a long time, I said, ‘I don’t write love songs, never been in love.’ Sure enough, this summer I meet someone and it completely changed my songwriter brain. So this my first take at explaining what this feeling is like. Here I am trying to pull words down from the sky and be all poetic, but sometimes it just clicks and there’s not much else to explain it.”
While “Click” is definitely a feel-good pop tune, Kozak is also a terrific storyteller capable of adding colourful sentiment to someone’s life in a few lyrical lines. Her first single, “First Last Name” pays homage to her father opening with the high praise, “He’s a sun-up to sun-downer, come home late with the flowers…”
Kozak moved to Nashville when only 14. Upon arrival she quickly began to cultivate her craft within the city’s percolating music scene.
“I dove into the community of songwriters there and realized here’s a whole group of people who are the heart and soul behind songs we sing at the top of our lungs on the radio. It’s not always artist who write the songs. Each week I’d go to a songwriters’ round and was just infatuated with the way you can colour up a song with words and detail. And that’s always been in the back of my mind when I tell my own stories, ‘How colourful can I make this? How can I make a person feel right there in the moment with me?”
Madison Kozak performs November 6 at Venue Nightclub (Vancouver), November 7 at OK Corral (Kelowna), November 8 at Cowboys Dance Hall (Calgary), and November 9 at Cook County Saloon (Edmonton)