Finding Inspiration

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When you listen to a song on a CD or stream it on your preferred device, you’re hearing a polished, finish product. When you’re listening to music you’re thinking about melody and hopefully feeling moved by the lyrics. Little thought is put into the mixing that went into making the sound come out just right, or the many revisions the artist made before finding juts the right words to get the feelings across, not to mention the hours of practice to perfect that awesome instrumental solo.

Music is a collaborative work that takes a lot of time, effort and practice. And the cool thing is, the influences come well before the artist starts talking with a producer about creating an album. Nobody lives in a vacuum, and today’s young musicians have grown up with a rich musical heritage that shapes their work. Just like Elvis Presley was influenced by the gospel and blues music of his youth when he changed the rock ’n roll scene in the 1950s, the artists of Madison Records have found inspiration in the work of musicians before them.

For Alex Tru, listening to Garth Brooks with her dad helped her fall in love with country music. She also listened to a wide variety of music growing up, including Frank Sinatra. “He made anything sound amazing, with or without music backing him,” Alex says.

But of all the artists she admires, the most influential musician is Prince. “I had been singing in church since I was four years old, and was writing songs of my own as a young teenager. But it was when my dad took me to see Purple Rain that I realized I wanted to perform my music,” Alex says. “Before that I had been behind the scenes, writing my music, but seeing Prince made me realize I wanted to be up on stage, performing.” It was more than just Prince’s music that inspired Alex. It was his success as a performer and how he was able to take what he loved and make it his life’s work that proved to be a big inspiration for her pursuing a career in music.

Hannah Zale tells a similar story but with a different person playing a major role influencing her career. “It might be surprising to people since I’m seen as a chick rocker, but I’ve always been obsessed with Eminem,” Zale says. “I admire how Marshall Mathers says whatever he wants and does it with unique style and utter command.” More than just his music, his back story is an inspiration to Zale. “He was able to build something out of nothing, and he overcame serious adversity just to be taken seriously. He made himself heard, and I find that extremely inspiring.”

Rounding out Zale’s influences are Amy Winehouse with her raw, honest lyrics, and Led Zeppelin’s ability to bring rock into the spotlight. “Zeppelin is everything I love about rock,” Zale says. “These guys changed the game for people like me, showing that heavy songs with raging riffs could make it to number one in the charts.”

Each artist and composer brings their own style and voice to the music industry. Alex Tru and Hannah Zale have allowed years of listening to jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n roll shape the artists they’ve become, and now they’re making their own mark on the music world. We’re all excited to watch to see how their music influences the next generation of artists.

Tanner Hendon