If you’ve lived in Portage County for the past few years, you might already be aware of Maddie Finn. While Maddie Finn the girl is getting ready to be a Kent State student in the fall, Maddie Finn the band has just released a new EP and has opened for bands including Paramore, Tegan and Sara and Incubus.
“We’ve opened for a lot of bands,” Maddie says. “And a lot were side stages, but that’s better than no stage!”
Maddie Finn herself is one of the most eager, pleasant people you’ll ever talk to. She gets excited just talking about her music, but she also has a game plan for life more structured than most college students about to graduate.
“I want to be a tour manager if the performing doesn’t work out,” she says. “I figure I have to be around the music somehow.”
This means that when she arrives at Kent State in the fall, she’ll be a hospitality management major with a minor in public relations. Over the summer, when not performing with Maddie Finn and attending Destination Kent State, Maddie will be a LiveNation intern.
“If you’re not doing what you love, why do it?”
This philosophy is the backbone of her music.
“I try to have a message of hope in my songs,” she says.
Maddie says that found hope in music starting at a very young age, and she wants to continue to give people that same hope she found.
“Some people need to be around music, as far as listening to it, in order to function,” she says. “I have to play it. I will go insane if I don’t play guitar or piano or sing for a week. [Music has] been the biggest coping mechanism I’ve had since a very young age.”
Maddie first turned to music when she started dealing with the departure of her father from her family, who left before Maddie was born. Since then, she has also used music as one way to handle coming out. Not only has Maddie used music, but she is already an active member of PRIDE Kent, a membership that will continue once she attends school here.
“I figure it’s a great way to get acclimated on campus,” Maddie says. “I also enjoy the group, and it’s very educational. It’s helpful for me with coping with the things I’ve been going through.”
She also adds that it’s even more helpful because there are so few LGBT artists, especially in this area. Maddie says that being an LGBT artist has been an additional challenge for her. Her first band was actually a Christian rock band.
“I was twelve, and I was in a Christian rock band, and we did that for two to three years or so,” she says. “That was the worst experience of my life. I’m still a very firm believer, but it’s hard to really expand on that any.”
Since then, Maddie has gone on to better things, especially with Maddie Finn the band. Maddie Finn won the Tri-C Rock-Off when she was still a sophomore two years ago, and they were the first female-fronted band to win. They were also among the youngest.
“We went through the finals, and we didn’t hear our name called first or second,” she says. “And then they called our name, and I was just like, holy crap!”
Since then, Maddie Finn has been on the rise. They opened on the Honda Civic Tour for Paramore and New Found Glory as well as Tegan and Sarah. In addition, they opened for Incubus and Hawthorne Heights. Maddie Finn have played numerous venues in the area, everything from the Outpost to Musica to Tower City Amphitheatre, which is no longer around.
Yet Maddie Finn herself stays humble, admitting that “making it” and rolling in the dough aren’t her final goals – at all.
“I’m not interested in making it,” she says. “My thing is that I love music, and I love inspiring other people to do what they love.”
Maddie even says that this goes for her.
“As long as I’m doing something I love, I’m happy.”
Maddie Finn photo copyright JWatson Photography.