Meet Bassist Madi O’Brien by Allee Futterer
For most thirteen year old girls, weekend plans consist of a trip to the movies or a soccer game. For bassist Madi O’Brien however, weekends are packed with songwriting or rehearsing with her band for Lollapalooza….but not until she finishes her homework!
Purple Apple consists of three 13 year old girls- Olivia, Nonie and Madi- and their 25 year old baby sitter, Devin. While this seems like it could be a bizarre dynamic in a band, the girls say they don’t see Devin as an adult figure but as a member and friend. “We all can be crazy and have fun together” Madi says. This relationship is extremely important, as it allows the girls to open up and be comfortable as a group.
Madi O’Brien was inspired to play music at the age of six when she first heard the Beatles. “They changed my view on music, and inspired me to start playing instruments.” Her first instrument was the piano – in fact, she didn’t start playing bass until much later, at the suggestion of Purple Apple’s producer Mike Willison. “I don’t think I ever would have picked up the bass if it wasn’t for him,” Madi admits. After playing for about a year, she takes the instrument very seriously and can see it becoming her career.
Like most other bands, Purple Apple’s songwriting process varies. Some days their songs come together in 20 minutes, while other days the musicians have to pack and cram until they have the product they want. The band’s songs are mostly written by Madi and Liv, who have completely different songwriting styles. “Liv likes to take words and sentences that sound really cool together and mix them up into lyrics.” When Madi writes she likes a more theatrical approach, “I like to write stories,” she says. Although Madi’s first love may have been music, she says she is equally dedicated to writing. As of right now, she plans to combine both of her passions with a career in songwriting.
This past year, Madi and Purple Apple got the once in a life time chance to play at Chicago’s largest music festival, Lollapalooza – a festival that many professionals never get the chance to play. “Playing Lollapalooza was an experience I will take with me forever,” Madi says. At the festival, many of the bands commended her for being so serious about music at such a young age. Not surprisingly, many adults were impressed to see these young girls at such a large scale event. Madi’s response to this acclaim was, “We’re thirteen! We’re not babies!” With such a confident approach, it is clear that Madi and her bandmates have great potential for success.
Young female bassists are hard to come by and the music industry is lucky to have the ambitious Madi O’Brien on the forefront. After speaking with Madi, I can definitely say I’m looking forward to following her success!
For More information on Purple Apple visit www.myspace.com/purpleapplemusic