Madison Beer And Mako Talk Hit Collaboration “I Won’t Let You Walk Away” & Their Songs Of The Summer: Idolator Interview
After dropping a pair of pure-pop singles with “Melodies” and “Unbreakable,” Madison Beer switched it up by lending her voice to Mako’s club anthem “I Won’t Let You Walk Away.” Originally an instrumental called “Sunburst,” the sugary sweet floorfiller was begging for a topline and the 16-year-old starlet was the duo’s first choice. With an attention-grabbing video racking up YouTube views and an encouraging response from radio, the cute collaboration now has a real shot at crossing over.
I recently caught up with Madison and Mako (Logan Light and Alex Seaver) to ask them about the evolution of “I Won’t Let You Walk Away.” They spoke about hearing the song in public for the first time, filming the video and the possibly of collaborating again in the future. The rising pop diva also opened up about the new music she’s working on with A-List producers like Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, and her personal approach to social media. Find out more below.
Did you always imagine “Sunburst” having a top line?
Alex: No, not at all. I had bought this $45 Fender guitar in Glendale and just started tracking some stuff, and that turned into “Sunburst” — the instrumental. We put that up just as a nice, fun summer tune and everybody was just like we want to hear a vocal over it. We had never considered it. The second they said it, it seemed like, “Oh, this would be a great idea. Why not?”
We knew what kind of song we wanted at that point, because the track sounds a certain way. As soon as we got Madison on it, it came to life really easily because the sound is perfect for her voice, for the style, the writing and the track. It was just a great fit.
How did you get connected with Madison?
Alex: I knew her manager and I think I reached out to him asking for a female vocalist for the song. It was so exciting for us the second he said Madison, because to get a voice like hers and to get her on the track was just really cool for us. That’s how it came together. Then actually doing it together was very quick, super easy. It was just a couple fast sessions in North Hollywood.
Were you a fan of hers before the collaboration?
Logan: I was her number one fan in fact.
Madison: Yeah. He runs all my fan pages and Instagram. He is @MadisonUpdates.
Logan: I had this shirt.
Madison: With my face on it. I’ve seen it before. It’s weird.
How exciting for you.
Logan: It’s great. It’s an exciting time for me.
How did you guys feel when you heard the finished record for the first time?
Alex: With her vocal I was blown away. I actually recorded a little version of me pretending to be a girl. I just sent it to our manager and was like, “Here’s what we’re going to work on.” Somehow it made its way up to the label and they were all like, “I don’t know about this one.” I’m like, “Guys, just trust me on this. I know what I want it to sound like.” It’s weird, but my background’s orchestral music and I used to write music for orchestra.
That moment when you envision what all of the instruments sound like playing your thing, then hearing it is one of the greatest things about writing music and that was the same experience with Madison because I’m just imagining her voice and then she gets in there and tracks it. I’m just so excited. I’m like, “Yeah, this is going to work.”
And Madison, were you into dance music before working on the record?
Madison: I love dance music. I love the whole Jack U album, I love Skrillex and Diplo. I love all that kind of music, it’s really great, but I never really stumbled across Mako’s stuff before, but once they approached me, I looked at all their stuff and I was immediately intrigued. It was really excited to get to work with people who made music like that.
What attracted you to “Sunburst”?
Madison: I liked how happy it was. I like songs that make you feel something. It’s such a feel-good record and it’s really captivating.
Have you heard it in a club yet? I know you’re only 16…
Madison: Yeah, I actually did hear it in a club… but I wasn’t in a club, I was with them performing! I also went to an event that was held in a club and they played it at the party and it was really weird because as I was walking in like the last 30 seconds were playing. I was like, “Oh my god that’s my song. It’s just finishing.” It was really cool.
Logan: Whenever it comes on at the gym, I stop whatever I’m doing and just lay down and say, “We worked hard enough to get this song here that I’m not going to work out anymore.”
Madison: I’ve heard it before. I heard it in CVS the other day. Yeah, and I was just like, “Oh my gosh.” I was like, “Guys, this is me. This is me. Everybody listen, this is me. Everybody be quiet!”
Alex: I have that same reaction. You have this weird moment where you’re like, “Everybody around me needs to know.”
Madison: Yeah, everybody needs to know this is me. Lorde tweeted that she was in a car once and “Royals” came on the radio. She was in a taxi in New York City. The taxi driver turned it up a little bit. Lorde was like, “That’s so funny like, this is my song.” He goes, “Me too.” That is the funniest thing. That’s a goal for what I want to have happen to me. It’s just so funny. It’s such a surreal moment. I’m like, “Who knows that I’m in here and is playing this on purpose.” I think it’s a joke.
Who’s EP is the song going to be on — Madison’s or Mako’s?
Alex: We’re putting all that stuff together now too. I think, at least for us in the dance world, it’s a little easier because you can compile and rearrange the things to fit. We’re all figuring that stuff out this summer right now. That’s a good question but we’re not totally sure.
Madison: Yeah, that is a good question. I am not sure. Probably we’ll make it onto my EP just because I love it and since it already has that push on radio I definitely want to keep promoting it and pushing it as far as I can. Yeah, possibly.
I think dance music really suits you. Will you pursue it more in the future?
Madison: A hundred percent. I would love to explore that whole side of music. I remember when I first got signed with my manager, my mom was like, “Oh. Madison should do a song with Skrillex.” He was like, “She is 13 years old. Skrillex is not about to do a song with her.” Now that I’m sixteen I would love to do that kind of stuff with those kind of people. I love that kind of music.
I’m releasing a ton of songs really soon. Those have a different vibe on them as well. I’m still definitely trying to figure out my sound. I’m just figuring out what my fans like. That’s my main priority is just to see what they’re like, “Oh, this is really cool. Keep doing this.” You know what I mean?
Which producers are you working with?
Madison: I’ve been working with so many people. I’ve just had a session with Sean Garrett, with Tricky Stewart and The-Dream. Also Diane Warren. Just a bunch of writers, a bunch of producers. Also Harmony Samuels. Just a ton of people. I’ve been talking to people about collabs. I’m also really into rap music. I’ve been dying to meet and do a song with Nicki Minaj. People have asked me who is the one person I want to collab with and I’d definitely pick Nicki Minaj.
That would be awesome.
Logan: When we were on the video set, I’ve never seen someone switch the music back to Rihanna more.
Madison: Well yes, I do want to collab with Rihanna, but it’s hard because we both sing. You know what I mean? It would be cool to do a duo kind of song, but as far as doing a feature, that’s going to be with Nicki Minaj. I like the whole girl-power thing.
What do you think of doing another collaboration with these guys?
Madison: A hundred percent. I love to experiment.
Alex: Yeah. It would be super fun. I feel so much joy and appreciation for having voices like Madison’s on our music. Whenever she has another project she’s working on, I would just love to get involved. It’s great to work with people that are good and that you like.
Madison: Yeah. We had such a fun time doing it. It’s crazy. I never saw them perform or anything until I performed with them. But I got to see their whole set when they were rehearsing. They have a really unique set. I would love to be a part of it.
The video is crazy. My head was spinning.
Madison: It seriously was such a process. Basically, it was… have you seen the movie The Matrix?
Madison: Okay. The Matrix, you know how if he jumps or kicks, they do the whole spin-around while he’s still in the air? That’s the vibe that we were going for. They had all of these cameras set up. Basically when we walked on set there were like 30 cameras just set up in a circle and when I was in the middle I would throw something, or I would hit something, or stab something and they would freeze-frame it on that moment. It was really awesome.
My personal favorite part of the video is the lights. When the lights turn off and everything is glowing. I think that part’s really, really awesome. Yeah. It was such a fun video. People really weren’t expecting it to be like that at all. A lot of people were like, “This is crazy.” I just love how unique it is and how it’s something people really haven’t seen yet.
Was it fun to do?
Madison: So fun.
Logan: Oh yeah. It was really fun.
Alex: That stuff is always just super silly and really fun to do. Because it’s not stuff, at least me and Logan, we don’t do stuff like that too often. When we get to just spend a day out in a film studio like that and just do whatever we feel like especially in that format. It was cool and it was cool to see it come to life too because, at the time you’re just staring at 24 cameras and you’re like, “I hope this works.”
Madison: Yeah. It was really great though. We’re happy with the way it turned out. It’s so awesome.
As DJs, was it strange to be in a video with a pop star? Are you starting to get recognized?
Alex: I’d say it’s cool. It’s not strange, I don’t think. I can go to the grocery store and nobody’s going to be like, “Oh my god. Alex was buying broccoli.” It’s not anything like that.
Logan: Yeah. It’s fun for us because it’s just another way you can get involved in your music and putting yourself out there. I think these days it’s so important to really appear to your audience in any way that you can or any way you feel comfortable. It’s fun for us to be able to get involved and be on the camera and it’s cool, I wouldn’t say it’s weird.
What about social media? Has the Madison connection had an impact on your timeline?
Alex: There was that fateful day when we got Madison and Justin Bieber love on Twitter. Then all of a sudden, my Twitter feed’s just unusable for like a week.
Logan: We still get notifications of people favoriting those tweets.
That’s normal life for you, Madison. How do you deal with your phone blowing up all the time?
Madison: My phone doesn’t necessarily blow up because I have my notifications off, but I love how engaged my fans are and stuff. If I tweet something, it’ll have over a thousand retweets within a minute. They’re so engaged with anything that I post. For me that just means so much to me. I could literally just tweet like anything and they’ll retweet it and show me love and stuff.
I always read their responses, I read their tweets and I always am looking at what they’re saying and how they’re feeling and stuff. I like to DM my fans a lot also. Even though I get 10 DM’s per minute I still look through them. I’ll still go in and read them and once in a while I’ll pop into a group chat that people are in. I love to engage. Yeah, you can do group chats on DMs and I’ll just go in there and be like, “Hey guys.” All of a sudden, they’re like, “Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.” It’s really funny to do that. I love that.
I like to talk to them about the problems that they’re having. If I respond to them on Twitter, that’s just in the public and everyone can see that. Every once in a while I like to… if I stumble onto somebody’s feed and they’re like, “Oh, I’m feeling upset or I’m feeling insecure.” I’ll go and DM them and be like, “Hey, what’s wrong?” I like to just engage with them in as many ways as possible and just make them feel good and just let them know that I’m thankful for them.
That’s really sweet.
Madison: I do it all the time because I know that it makes a huge difference for them. If they’re like, “Oh, I feel like no one cares about me.” I’ll just be like, “Hey, I love you.”
Do you have like a full-time person that does social media for you?
Madison: I have nobody who does it for me because I refuse to allow that. It’s not happening. I’m controlling my Twitter. I’m controlling my Instagram. Because they can tell, they know if it’s not me. I just don’t like it because I feel bad, I don’t want them to think that I’m too busy for them. I control my social media 150 percent. I never want people to think like, “Oh, the person who followed me is Madison’s account but it’s not actually Madison.” I want everyone to know that. It’s always me.
“I Won’t Let You Walk Away” is picking up steam on radio.
Alex: I think the target for this kind of a song was always radio so we definitely were gearing up for that, but when you see something really lift off like that…
Madison: It’s the best.
Alex: It’s just so great. You never expect. At least I would never expect it, but it’s really a pleasure when you do it. Especially the experience from having all your friends say, “Oh my god. I just heard the song in the most random place.” and it’s just like, “Wow. This is so cool.” That whole thing is so much fun and it lasts a while. We put this song out about three months ago and it’s just still picking up steam. I love the strategies of it and just witnessing something like that take effect. It’s a pleasing experience for sure.
Madison: Even if we were expecting it to be a number one hit, it still is so surprising to hear something go on the radio. We weren’t expecting it to be like this. We’re just really grateful about it. We’re just pushing it and trying our best to get it going.
Ok, I want each of you to give me your Song Of The Summer pick.
Madison: Here, I’ll just get my phone out and you can see what I’ve been listening to. I love A$AP Rocky. He just released an album called At.Long.Last.A$AP and I love a lot of the songs on it. I love the song “Get Low” by Dillon Francis and DJ Snake, even though it’s an old song at this point, I still love it. I’m trying to see what else I recently purchased. “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift is an amazing song. It’s really, really good. I liked Taylor Swift before, of course, because who doesn’t like Taylor Swift? I did. But I wasn’t like a huge fan. Then when I saw the video I was just like, a mega-Taylor Swift fan. I love her and I love that song. I think it’s really great. I think that’s definitely going to be the Song Of The Summer.
Alex: We’ve been listening to a lot of Galantis recently. They’re a Swedish duo. They’ve got some really cool summery sounding stuff. They just put out a song called “Peanut Butter Jelly” that we played out at our last show. It was fun. That song’s super summery.
Logan: Mumford and Sons’ “Tompkins Square Park” is really well written. Then there’s a new song by Nero which hasn’t come out yet called “Into The Night.” It probably will come out by the end of the summer. I think it’s really good.
Mako and Madison Beer’s “I Won’t Let You Walk Away” video:
Do you want to hear more music from Mako and Madison? Let us know in the comments below.
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