She may be in the midst of demanding university degrees, but musician Madeleine Lezon is still chasing her childhood dream.
The 20-year-old from Sugarloaf Creek is studying a double degree in law and international security studies in Canberra, but still finds time to write and perform.
And she’s never too busy for a live, local performance, like the one she did at Seymour FM 103.9 last week.
Madeleine wanted to be a member of Hi-5 when she was in prep and although her ambitions have changed, music is still what she plans to spend her life doing.
She began performing in 2014, busking at local markets.
‘‘I started to teach myself guitar in 2013 and was trained in piano for five or so years prior to that,’’ Madeleine said.
‘‘I received a few years of classical vocal training for my music studies in 2016 and 2017, in which I was very fortunate to work with Adam Przewlocki.
‘‘I didn’t expect it to improve my control and confidence as much as it did and I’m very thankful for that opportunity.’’
Madeleine said it was hard to put her music in a genre or category as her style changed depending on her audience and who she was inspired by.
‘‘The beautiful thing about music is it resonates differently with every person you play for and starting out as a busker has meant I have a reasonably large set list that covers a variety of genres,’’ she said.
‘‘In terms of style, I tend to aim for clean, pure and stripped back sound and lyrics. Much of the time, this lends me to look at more ‘classic’ hits, because they’re often very complex and it is always a challenge to bring them back to just me and my guitar.
‘‘Sometimes the results are very raw and I try very hard to single out the emotion of the song.
‘‘My own music falls into the country/folk genre, and when I sing I feel my voice lends itself towards the detailed storytelling and depth that often comes out of folk. My main inspirations at the moment are Missy Higgins, Lindi Ortega and Patsy Cline.’’
Despite the idea scaring her a little, Madeleine said she would love to perform professionally and make a name for herself.
‘‘The intensive nature of the industry and the uncertainty of its future are a bit scary,’’ she said.
‘‘We see opportunities diminish even locally with more and more booking agents monopolising the gigs and venues previously available to individual artists.
‘‘As I’m living between two states, I’ve always preferred to work independently and develop personal relationships with venues.’’
Madeleine said it was tough splitting her time between building a music career, full-time study and part-time work.
‘‘I was always told throughout school that I should be ‘‘keeping options open’’, and so having to make a decision about study was incredibly difficult,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m glad I decided the way I did, however I do very much regret the intensive nature of my degree and part-time work steals some time away from music.
‘‘In saying that, my parents, in particular my mum, have been so supportive and always make sure I have gigs and open mics and busks lined up for my trips back home.
‘‘Seymour and district are really supportive of live music, which is fantastic. I plan on returning there after my degree, so it’s nice to be able to envisage myself playing music as more than a temporary thing.
‘‘I’ve spent a lot of weekends at open mics in Lancefield and Clombinane. Peter Murphy and Bruce Sedawie have been remarkably supportive and it doesn’t hurt that you get to watch, learn and ask for advice from other talented musicians.’’
Having performed at more open mics, markets, pubs and parties than she can count, Madeleine said nerves about going on stage had been replaced by adrenaline.
‘‘The most nerve-wracking times are when I play unusual performances, for example, my first gig back after a break, when I’m playing at a new venue or a new genre or when the place I’m supposed to set up isn’t clear,’’ she said.
‘‘But at the moment I feel I have the balance of things right and know that I’ll continue performing as a significant part of my life.’’
Madeleine’s music is available on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud and Youtube and can be found by searching @maddylezonmusic