Three Florida Preteen Songstresses Talk Taylor Swift, Savannah's Soldiers, and the Grand Ole Opry
What were you doing in your early teenage years? Writing an album, playing shows all over Florida, and getting featured on the Today Show? Probably not. And that's just what makes the three featured artists at this Thursday's Songwriter's Showcase such inspiring talents.
At 12, 13, and 14-years old, respectively, Savannah Maddison, Maggie Baugh, and Emily Brooke will all ruling a circle of current and future fans with their beloved instruments at this week's Art After Dark, and sharing the stories behind their songs.
With so much talent in such young performers, we had no choice but to interview all three songstresses and discover how in the world they already have achieved so much at such an early age.
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New Times: When did you first realize that you wanted music to be an important part of your life?
Savannah Maddison: I always loved to sing and perform but I started to really take it seriously when I turned 10.
Maggie Baugh: When I was 2, I asked my mom for a violin. She said no. I kept asking, and she finally got me a violin and I started lessons at six. I loved it. Since then, I cannot imagine my life without music.
Emily Brooke: I probably realized that I wanted music to be an important part of my life when I was actually at a Taylor Swift concert and just heard everyone knowing all the words to all of her songs and just singing them at the top of their lungs! It just touched me that fans care so much about an artist and their songs just touched them so much that they felt connected in a way. So I looked to my mom and said, "This is what I really what I want to do."
What type of impact does living in South Florida have on your music?
Savannah: South Florida is super cool because I get to work with so many musicians and writers. They play and write all genres of music and I think that is really fun. My genre is country-pop, and the South Florida influence helps me keep my music fun.
Maggie: Nashville is the hub of country music, but we have been told Nashville is not a great performance town. South Florida has festivals, fairs, and events all year round, and that gives me the opportunity to perform, and meet new fans. I play regularly, from Miami, up to Jupiter. South Florida is a great place for local musicians!
Emily: The impact of living in Florida is that I think there aren't as many country fans as I believe there are of pop and rap music. So I don't really get involved with every single thing going on at my school, because not really a lot of kids like country, so I don't really put it out there (laughs).
Give us a peek into your personal songwriting process.
Savannah: When I first started trying to write music, a very accomplished songwriter told me to keep a pen and notebook with me everywhere I go. This was great advice, because you never know when a good idea is going to pop into your head. I personally enjoying co-writing. I think it is more fun.
I usually get together with another songwriter, and we start throwing out ideas, and before long, a song starts to develop. We usually go with it, and see where it takes us. It's always fun to find words that fit into the song that sound good. Sometimes songs happen quickly and sometimes they take days. I always get excited when I hear the finished product.
Maggie: Middle school, friends, boys, and my parents all are very emotional subjects and give me a lot of material for new songs. I write from my life, my thoughts, and my emotions. I usually get pretty obsessed when I start writing a song and cannot stop until I get it finished. My songs take a few hours, or a few days to write. I write both the lyrics and the music at the same time.
Emily: I usually get an idea in my head and I write down how I feel about what's going on and then I kind of put it in a sequence that makes it flow. I usually start with lyrics, then music, then melody.
Besides singing and writing songs, what other projects are you involved with and excited to take part in?
Savannah: I started an organization in January of 2012 called Savannah's Soldiers. It's a letter writing organization that sends letters to our deployed military. It started when my best friend's dad was going to be deployed. I wrote a song for her about deployment from a kid's point of view called "Wilson" (I named the song after my best friend.)
I decided I needed to do more, and Savannah's Soldiers was born. My goal was one letter a month for every soldier with Wilson'd dad. We received a call that Matt Laurer on the Today Show wanted to do a story on Savannah's Soldiers. It aired on Thanksgiving morning. We became a national organization overnight! Matt Laurer even did a follow up story on Christmas Day.
We have hundreds of schools, churches, and organizations in over 40 states participating. I have partnered with the Miami Marlins, Miami Heat, World Golf Championships, and the Miami Motor Speedway. Today, we've sent over 46,000 letters. My goal is 50,000 before summer is over, and I am excited to see what happens this next school year.
Maggie: I like scrapbooking as a hobby, and I really like raising money for charities. I have performed and help raise money for the over 10 charities. My favorite charity to raise money for is GSD (Glycogen Storage Disease). My two brothers, CJ and Sammy, have GSD which is a genetic liver disease that causes extreme low blood sugar. I wrote the song "Run by the Clock" to raise awareness and talk about how people with diseases are not really different from everybody else. I hope I can help raise money, and make a difference to my brothers lives, and other peoples lives.
Where do you see your music career in 10 years?
Savannah: A: I hope my music is being played around the world. I can't wait for the day that people all over the world know my music and sing along. I'm looking forward to that world tour!
Maggie: I really hope to sing in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville because I think the very best of the best sing there. I hope people like my music enough for me to get there!
Emily: In 10 years, I would like to see myself traveling the world touring and playing my music for the world, and meeting new and amazing fans every day.
See Savannah, Maggie and Emily perform this Thursday, July 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Art After Dark at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. Admission is free for Florida residents. There will also be a Blue Bell Ice Cream truck giving out free samples all night, just in cause you needed to sweeten the deal. Visit the Norton Art After Dark Facebook page for more information.
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