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Genres: Folk

Additional information - releases number

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When music historians look back on the artists who adolescent females were listening to in the late '90s and early 2000s, they often point to teen popsters like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore as some of the major Top 40 stars of that era. But not every American female who was growing up during that period and pursued a career in popular music chose Aguilera, Spears, Moore, or Hilary Duff as her musical role models; there were also plenty of Generation Y/Echo Boomer girls whose musical inspirations came not from teen pop, but from the folk-rock, adult alternative, and singer/songwriter worlds. One of them was Madeline Adams, who was in her mid-teens when she started singing and writing songs in the early 2000s. Stylistically, Adams' material has never inspired comparisons to Aguilera, Spears, Moore, Duff, or any other teen popsters. The Georgia native (who plays guitar and piano in addition to singing) was obviously raised on singer/songwriters, folk-rockers, and adult alternative artists, and her direct or indirect influences have ranged from Sarah McLachlan, Jenny Lewis, and Natalie Merchant to Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian. The fact that Mitchell and Ian have greatly affected Adams' work underscores their longevity and staying power; Mitchell and Ian recorded their first albums in the '60s, and Adams wasn't even old enough to vote until the 2000s. Clearly, the fact that Mitchell and Ian's '60s and '70s output was well before Adams' time hasn't prevented her from being influenced and inspired by it. And the singer/songwriter boom of the '90s -- a decade that saw the emergence of Ani DiFranco, Jewel, Shawn Colvin, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, and many other well-known singer/songwriters -- was obviously a source of inspiration for Adams as well.

Born in Athens, GA (the city that gave us R.E.M. and the B-52's) in the late '80s, Adams was 15 when she started writing songs and performing them live. Adams (who has been using only her first name professionally) was 17 when she put out her debut album, Kissing & Dancing, in 2002. Kissing & Dancing had been available for a few months when it was picked up for distribution by Plan-It-X Records, a small indie label that was punk-friendly but was open to singer/songwriters in Adams' case. Subsequently, Adams signed with the Athens, GA-based Orange Twin label, recording her second full-length album, The Slow Bang, in 2005 and 2006. An intimate, minimalist acoustic effort, The Slow Bang was produced by indie rocker Mathew Houck (of Phosphorescent fame) and was recorded in his home in Athens and released by Orange Twin in early 2007. For her next album, White Flag, Adams didn't go the minimalist route -- she had a whole band backing her that time -- and the producer was Jason Robira, who is known in Athens circles for his contributions to the folk-rock band the Ginger Envelope and is a former member of a Louisiana outfit called the Urbosleeks. Orange Twin released White Flag in 2009.