B.C.-raised country singer Madeline Merlo is headlining Party in the Park at Beban Park sports field on Saturday, June 23. (Photo courtesy Margaret Malandruccolo)

Maple Ridge singer has been hard at work in country music capital

Madeline Merlo back in Canada for festivals taking place across the country

Madeline Merlo says she’s become a better, more hard-working artist since moving to the capital of country music.

The Maple Ridge-raised country singer relocated from Toronto to Nashville late last year. She said it was an adjustment going from Canada’s largest metropolis to a smaller southern berg, but her new surroundings have given her a jolt of inspiration and motivation.

“I’m able to work on my craft seven days a week. I’ve been writing like crazy,” she said.

“You’re surrounded by music and musicians and I just wanted to be in a place where I could grow and learn the most and for country music, that’s Nashville.”

As a new arrival, Merlo said she was struck by the highly competitive environment that awaited her, but she said she’s settling in.

“It’s equally inspiring and terrifying because it’s so saturated with incredible talent, so you really get a glimpse of just how good people are and the work ethic as well,” Merlo said.

“Everybody there is working their butts off, so it kind of makes you push [yourself] a little bit more to be more diligent.”

That diligence appears to be paying off. On May 2 Merlo’s newest single, the party jam Neon Love, hit Canadian country radio and she said she’s “floored” and humbled by the positive attention it’s received.

“When I wrote it, I felt like I had done something special that day, but you just never know. It was a bit of a boundary pushing I felt – sonically, at least – and you’re just never sure if people are going to like what you do,” she said.

Starting this month Merlo is back in Canada and has dates set for summer music festivals from B.C. to Ottawa. On June 23 she’ll be headlining Nanaimo’s Party in the Park. Merlo said she’s excited to come to the Island to play for a British Columbian crowd.

Like last year’s festival, Party in the Park is a showcase of current Canadian country. Aside from Merlo, the show features Calgary’s JJ Shiplett, Andrew Hyatt from Sudbury, Ont., Vancouverites Me and Mae, Victoria’s Eagle Eyes and Nanaimo’s Moonshine Mollys.

“We look for relevancy, who’s current, who’s hot right now sort of thing,” said Pacific Island Entertainment president Teri Smith, who is organizing the event.

“We kept with the country theme this year because country music in Canada is really, really popular right now. Some of the biggest names in North America are coming out of Canada.”

After tour season winds down, songwriting season starts back up as Merlo continues work on her sophomore album. She said there’s pressure to follow-up her successful 2016 debut Free Soul, a record that earned her a B.C. Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Award and a pile of other nominations.

“I just want it to be perfect,” she said of her next release.

“I just want this next record to really be the best it can be. And they always say you have your entire life to write your first one and it feels like five minutes to write your second one.”

WHAT’S ON … Party in the Park at Beban Park sports field on Saturday, June 23. Gates open at 1 p.m., beer garden stage starts at 2 p.m. and main stage starts at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $48 to $79. More information and to order visit www.partyintheparknanaimo.com.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Hammond Cedar workers can access retraining funds

Maple Ridge mill workers to be laid off by end of October

Global Climate Strike comes to Maple Ridge

Small group pickets outside city hall

Maple Ridge has new top administrator

Council names new CAO on Thursday

Petition says pot-grow stench led to ‘Summer of Stink’ in Fraser Valley

Province urged to ‘Stop the Smell’ in the Fraser Valley

Maple Ridge Ale Trail combines craft beer and the outdoors

The community launch takes place September 21 at the Haney Farmers Market

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Student arrested at South Delta Secondary for alleged assault

The alleged assault occurred between two SDSS students on Wednesday, Sept. 18

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Most Read