Conquering the big stages: An Interview with Madeleine Rauch

German singer and songwriter Madeleine Rauch has performed at some of the biggest festivals and venues all over Europe – making her musical dreams come true. About one and a half years ago the Berklee College of Music alum joined the band of Marteria – one of Germany’s most renowned rappers – and she has been on and off the road ever since. Besides singing and touring with high profile artists she also writes and performs her own music which is a unique mix of R&B, Soul and Jazz and is characterized by her slightly raspy voice. Her latest single “Stick to My Plan” reminds of Erykah Badu and tells an authentic story about the difficulty of staying true to oneself. We had the chance to talk to Rauch and ask about her life as a songwriter and as a touring musician.

You have performed all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the last two years. Were there any performances that were especially memorable?

I had a lot of very great and memorable performances these last two years, which I am very thankful for. The two shows that stood out for me the most were both with Marteria. Last year we played at the “Sziget Festival” in Budapest, Hungary. It’s one of the largest festivals in Europe with over 500,000 attendees and it lasts a whole week. The festival itself was such a special experience because the people were super peaceful and friendly and besides hundreds of performances in a variety of genres there were different activity areas for yoga, dance, relaxing, sports and games, plus all kinds of really good food. Our show was amazing because the audience gave us this great energy and we felt really connected as a band and with the audience.

This year, the highlight was definitely the concert in the “Ostsee” Stadium in Rostock, Germany in front of 33,000 people. We had worked towards this gig for a while because apart from festival shows this was the biggest concert we were going to have so far! The vibe was incredible and I was so excited during the whole show that even though it was 2,5 hours long it felt like 5 minutes. And the best thing is, we now have this unforgettable concert on DVD and Blu-ray!

You started singing with rapper Marteria about 1,5 years ago. How did you receive the opportunity to perform with him and what is it like?

I heard Marteria was looking for a new singer through a friend of mine who plays bass for the famous singer Miss Platnum. Being a close friend to Marteria she had taken over the job of choosing a new singer. So she called me up, I auditioned and got it. And I feel very lucky and grateful because working with Marteria has been a pleasure. The band and whole crew are like a family and everybody was very welcoming!

So what does tour life look like? Were you nervous on your first gig with Marteria?

During the summer when we play festivals we always have around 2-4 consecutive shows and come home in between. When we play arena tours we are on the road for a few weeks and have off days every 3-4 shows. We go to the next city overnight and sleep on the tour bus. Touring can be a lot of fun – sometimes it feels like a school trip so it’s definitely nicer if there’s a good vibe in the band and crew. But of course it can also be exhausting because you work a lot and don’t have a lot of privacy being on the tour bus or backstage.

My first gig with Marteria was at the “Sputnik Spring Break Festival” near Leipzig. It’s a pretty big festival with about 30,000 attendees and of course I was nervous. We had rehearsed very well but performing new material with a band you just joined in front of thousands of people is always a very exciting moment.

What other known artists and bands have you performed with?  

Besides Marteria I have also worked with Miss Platnum who is not only an amazing, platinum-selling singer, she is also an incredible and very humble person. I had the opportunity to be part of studio sessions and performances with her. Furthermore I performed with rapper 3Plusss and Soul singer Jeff Cascaro. The latter has been a great mentor that I learned a lot from so it was a great feeling sharing a stage with him.

Apart from these artists I also sing and manage a very successful event band that I had several high profile performances with at events such as the Porsche Golf Cup and “Innotrans” – the largest trade fair for rail transport industry.

Congratulations on the Gold Record Award. What is it for and what does it mean to you as a performer?

Thank you! As a singer in the Marteria band I received the Gold Record Award for over 100,000 sold copies of Marteria’s album “Roswell”. Our shows and tours helped promoting the album. So it meant a lot to me and I was very proud because as a performer you always hope people are inspired by the concerts and buy the music.

Before singing on some of the biggest stages you studied Voice at a music university in Germany and at Berklee College of Music. What were the different experiences in these schools and how did music college help you on your path to a professional singer?

I started studying Jazz Voice at the University of Music “Franz Liszt” in Weimar. The school has a small but renowned Jazz department and even though I came from R&B and Soul my focus there was obviously Jazz. I am very thankful for the education there especially because in Germany there is no school tuition, which is probably one of the reasons why the acceptance rate in German Jazz schools is around 7 %. So getting accepted and being able to study music for free with renowned professors was of course a very big deal to me. Before I earned my Bachelor’s Degree at that school I went abroad for a year and attended Berklee College of Music where I had an unforgettable time. I met some of the most amazing people and musicians and got to focus on R&B, Soul and Gospel more. The music college experience as a whole was certainly very helpful for my career because not only did I get to hone my skills but I also built a network of really great friends and musicians, which is very important in this job.

When did you first realize you could sing and at what point did you decide to become a professional singer?

I honestly cannot remember a moment where I realized I could sing. It was just always there. My mother probably noticed it early on and that’s why I sang in the children’s choir at church when I was little. Later in the school choir in 5th grade I realized I wanted to take solo parts and at 14 I started voice lessons. It kind of just happened organically. I think since high school it was my dream to become a singer but for a long time I was too scared to admit it. And when I graduated high school I could no longer hold it back and decided to audition for music colleges and actually follow that career path.

Besides being on the road and collaborating with other artists you also find the time to write and record your own music. What was that process like for your two latest singles “Hands Off” and “Stick to My Plan”?

I remember writing both songs during my time at college in Weimar. I didn’t record them until I was in Boston and that turned out to be a good thing because at Berklee I found the perfect musicians for this kind of style. I had created a demo production of the song in Logic Pro so everything was already there and we only needed one rehearsal. We then recorded the band on one day and took another day for my vocals. The band and the mixing engineers did an amazing job and I am really proud of the result. Since I am a bit of a perfectionist it took a little longer till the mixing was done. And when the songs were ready I was so busy with graduating from college, moving to Berlin and starting a new job that it took me a while to take care of the release. So all in all it was a pretty long process from writing the songs to releasing them but I am so happy with how they turned out.

What are the songs about and what inspired you to write them?

Both songs actually cover similar topics. In the verses of “Hands Off” I describe the situation of getting so caught up in self-doubt and worries, that you’re too scared to follow your dreams. And then in the chorus I try to give me – or the listener – encouragement to relax and trust intuition. “Stick to My Plan” also deals with insecurities but more from the ones caused by your environment for example people telling you what to do and what’s supposedly best for you. In that song as well it was important to me to include a positive message, which is to “stick to your own plan”, follow your own path and not be confused by other people’s opinions. The inspiration for these songs came from me being in those situations and needing a little encouragement so I wrote the songs to get everything off my chest and at the same time encourage myself. And since I know we all experience insecurities and doubt from time to time I hoped that other people could find some comfort in listening to my songs as well.

What are the plans for the near future? Can we expect new music soon?

There is not a definite time frame yet since I am involved in many projects with other artists. But I definitely want to release a few more singles in a few months and then work on an EP at some point. At the moment I am writing on new music and collaborate with different people to try new things in terms of style and sound. I want to keep evolving, move away a little from what I have done so far and try something new. And I am very excited about that.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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