It’s hard to believe that Maddi Jane, an 11 year old singer from Chicago, Illinois, was born the same year that I was sporting those ridiculous flared jeans and begging my parents for Backstreet Boys‘ tickets. Self-deprecation aside, Maddi has, by a long stretch of a mile, one of the most dynamic, mature, and downright soulful voices I’ve heard in a long while. While listening to one her YouTube covers, I actually forgot I was listening to a kid.
You might be thinking: “Oh great. Another totally amazing child singer. Just what the world needs.” At least, that’s what cynical me thought. Today, it really doesn’t take long to find the next big child prodigy, from 2010′s “Paparazzi”-belting Greyson Chance to any audition round of America’s Got Talent. And then you have Rebecca Black, who, even months after the odd success of “Friday,” remains in a category, good and bad, all her own. YouTube has given us a barrage of young singers and acts, and throughout time, society has loved nothing more than putting people on pedestals and tearing them down. Let’s face it, the child star-making factory isn’t a new thing to “Hollywood” or the industry, itself. Anyone remember Danny Bonaduce? Yeah, we all saw how that turned out.
Underneath all that “child star” allure, however, is a talented singer. To make a long story short, she’s worth a listen… or two, or three, or four. I can’t help but picture her voice in fifteen, ten — hell, even five years from now. In a sea of cute and impressive child acts, she’s got the chops and even the emotional resonance to not fade from the spotlight. Let’s just hope that spotlight doesn’t chew her up and spit her back out.