It's easy to forget how young some of our favorite performers are when they enter the music world. From Michael Jackson's Jack 5 debut at the age of 11, to Lorde's chart-topping single "Royals" at the age of 16, it doesn't take much life experience to make a splash in the music industry. Tuesdays Under 21 is a Music Times feature dedicated to bringing attention to talented musicians and performers under the age of 21. Who knows? They just might be the next big thing. This week we introduce you to...
WHERE: Nantes, France
Madeon (born Hugo Leclercq) began composing music at age 11 after watching a documentary on Daft Punk. He gained international recognition in July 2011 for his "Pop Culture" mashup, which received millions of views within the first few days of him posting it. He has been featured on BBC Radio 1's 15 Minutes of Fame with both his debut single "Icarus" and his remix of Deadmau5's "Raise Your Weapon." In 2012, he released his debut EP The City and recently released his second EP, Japan Only. He has played at major festivals such as Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Electric Daisy Festival, Electric Zoo and more. He opened up for Lady Gaga on her Born This Way Ball and helped produce her recent ARTPOP singles "Gyspy," "Mary Jane Holland," and "Gyspy."
What makes him so interesting is his theories behind music and how it relates to the masses as well as his perfectionism at such a young age. He has a clear idea of the disconnect between being a producer and a live performer but is able to draw from influences such as Daft Punk to make live mixing into an organic experience. His improvisation on stage allows him to play live sets that connect with the audience despite the variables that make the live quality intrinsically less "perfect" than studio quality.
Unlike most teenagers who often argue that "pop music sucks," he isn't afraid of it as a format. In an interview with OohBrilliant, he talks about his theory of pop music, which involves denying ego and self-expression and finding the "ultimate chord, an ultimate melody" that allows everyone to relate to your music.
"There's all sorts of beauty to pop music," he told them. "It needs to connect with everyone. A loose definition would be that you don't make it to express yourself, you make it to express everyone else. It's both the ultimate music and the least arty."
After working with Lady Gaga, he is looking to make a transition into pop music while maintaining his roots in EDM. In a recent interview with MTV, he said that he will spend the majority of 2014 working on a new album. He explained his vision for it saying, "It's a nice toe in the water to see what the other side of the world beyond electronic music is like, 'cause ultimately I just want to do an album that people listen to at home and enjoy, not just in the club."
Keep an eye on this young producer. He knows exactly what he wants and sees a pathway that will lead him there all while testing boundaries along the way. Check out the "Pop Culture" mashup that made him famous here, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!