Maddy Wood, an expert in revealing love's true colours with a rock and roll twist, takes us through her music firsts, from Taylor Swift CDs to The 1975.

Laying all her cards on the table, Maddy Wood’s punchy lyricism nods to the complex and didactic layers of emotion in love, exposing the vulnerable, guttural, and oh-so-relatable reality of romance. Ouch!


It may seem cliché to point out the 24-year-old’s candidly poetic, rock star vibe, from her vulnerable songwriting to her undulating melodies and indie-sleaze-inspired style, she holds her own as a promising rising artist. Maddy fuses the precise cocktail of influences that have shaped a generation—from Jeff Buckley to Taylor Swift—giving life to her poetic brand of punk rock.


The singer-songwriter lets her followers have a say in the music she makes using TikTok, releasing snippets of unreleased tracks and building an organic relationship with fans. But it’s not just this interaction that unveils her relatable nature; she expertly weaves depictions of love, lust, and confusion that resonate to a painfully understandable degree. Her latest single release, ‘King of the Ashtray’, perfectly encapsulates this. It delves into the conflicting reality of relationships falling apart and trying to grasp the emotions still caught in the web of passion and the pain of watching it perish. Hooked together with a warm electric edge, the song captures a hopeful tone despite its melancholy.


With the world at her feet, Maddy is just getting started. Her natural ability to turn the trials and tribulations of life in your early 20s into poetic, wallowing rock ballads is set to take her far. We sit down with her, hot off the heels of her single release, to find out her musical foundations.

First song you ever made?

I started writing songs when I started playing guitar around eight years old. I can’t remember exactly what the first was, but I remember writing many songs in middle school about how much I loved my friends. I also remember gaining some consciousness around 11 about the complexities and double standards faced by women in the music industry and writing a song that included lines like, “I’m not plastic I’m not your Barbie Doll.”


First time you fell in love with music?

There have been lots of different moments throughout my life where I have fallen in love with music. From when I was given my first guitar to the first time I went to Newport Folk Festival, and the first time I heard ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley to the first time I sang at the elementary school talent show. If I’m lucky, I’ll keep falling in love with music in new ways.  If I had to pinpoint a moment, I would probably say the first time I performed with my first band at the Girls Rock Rhode Island showcase when I was 11. Between the ages of 11-15 I went to an all-femme/nonbinary/girls band camp, where we were put in bands and spent a week writing a song to perform at a big showcase. I remember the feeling of the crowd reacting to us and the feedback I got about a song I had written, it was electric and I had never felt anything like it.

First CD or record you owned?

I believe the first CD I bought with my own money was Fearless by Taylor Swift. It was played nonstop on my little boombox. The first vinyl record I bought was An Awesome Wave by Alt J.

First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?

In 2010, my mum brought me to Taylor Swift’s Fearless tour. Around that time, I was getting really into my guitar and songwriting, and I was absolutely obsessed with Taylor Swift and the Fearless album, so this concert was basically the best thing that had ever happened to me. I remember feeling my entire body lighting up watching her perform and hearing her sing. The way the crowd was reacting to her and singing along made me feel completely in awe and jealous, and I think that was the first moment I realised this was what I wanted to do with my life.

First gig you went to?

My first concert was Demi Lovato at the then-named Dunkin Donuts centre in Providence. David Archuleta, fresh off American Idol, opened for her. I think it was 2009. I was so excited, I don’t think I stopped jumping up and down for two hours.

First time you faced an obstacle in your career?

I’m not sure if I would classify this as a career obstacle, but when I was a senior in high school, I was applying to music schools, specifically rigorous conservatory-type music schools, because I thought that was where I had to be if I wanted to be successful. Long story short, I ended up getting rejected by most of them and not being able to afford the others. I was completely devastated. Three weeks before graduation I got off the waitlist for Bennington College, which I graduated from. It ended up being probably the best thing I have ever done. The experiences I had, the people I met and worked with, and the growth I went through at Bennington were unparalleled to probably anything I will ever go through again. I am so grateful. The whole experience showed me that I will always end up where I need to be; I just need to trust myself and the work that I am doing.

First instrument you owned?

I had a little kid’s sized acoustic guitar that my dad got me when I was eight.

First thing on your rider?

Lavender sachets and earl grey tea.

First person you’d recruit if you had a band?

I do have a band! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to play music with my friends. Everyone in my band is not only an exceptional musician but a very close friend who supports me, sees my vision and is happy to be there. It is so important to feel seen and understood by your collaborators and I truly could not ask for more. I have such a superstar band and we have so much fun playing together. Shoutout to my bandmate besties Emma Corbin, Liam Hopkins, and Tyler Faria.

First time you felt starstruck?

When I was 14, I saw the 1975 at Lupos in Providence and I got up to the front row. I could not believe Matty Healy was so close to me. At some point,  he fell into the crowd and I caught his head in one of my hands and I remember thinking this is one of the coolest things that has happened to me. I told everyone I knew.

First time you felt like giving up?

I am honestly so stubborn that I don’t think I am capable of feeling like giving up when it comes to my music. Since I can remember I have felt so deeply that this is what I am meant to do; I see everything in my life through the lens of someone making art and connecting with other people through music. It is also such a big part of how I process events in my life and emotions, more often than not I will write a song about something I am going through and only when it’s done do I understand how I feel.

First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?

Recording and releasing my first single felt like a really big thing to be able to tick off my bucket list. I had spent my entire adolescence fantasising about people hearing my music and reaching a worldwide audience and it felt like such a dream come true to be able to go into a real studio with a producer and flesh out my vision, and then be able to share it on a big platform.

Listen to King of the Ashtray now: