Story and Photos by Jennifer Gray 

Maddi Mae Hicks is living this vintage kind of lifestyle in a romantic way: dressing in a collection of thrifted pieces, doing her part to preserve the planet, living on an old farm, and singing tunes inspired by musicians of the past at local venues.

I met Maddi this summer during her show at Johnny Monarchs, the vintage 1962 British double decker bus restaurant in Marshall. Last month, I caught up with this up and coming musician for a photoshoot around Marshall.

Jennifer Gray How did you get started in music?

Maddie Mae The story goes that I arrived as a musician and begged for a guitar as soon as I could form the words. I studied with an instructor from age four until I was 13. Wrote my first full song in first grade. 

JG What genre do you fit into?

MM Genre is always such a funny topic with musicians. It’d be nice if we’d all fit nicely in the molds. I’d say I’ve settled somewhere around “indie-folk.” I’ve got a southern accent and a penchant for bouncy rhythm guitar though, so it may very well evolve into full-on “cosmic country” in the studio – we’ll see. 

JG Where do you get your sense of style?

MM A few factors contributed to my fashion sensibility: 1) Growing up resourceful, I learned to make the most of hand-me-downs, thrift/yard- sale finds, and store-bought basics; 2) Developing Earth-consciousness – volunteering at a clothing donation center, learning about fashion’s atrocious impact on the Earth’s health, embracing the eco-friendly gentleness of second-hand clothing, and; 3) Treating my body as a temple – I want to cloak it in comfort and give folks a sense of what’s dwelling inside.

I only shop every couple of months, primarily at thrift stores. My go-to local spots are White Elephant and Deja Vu in Warrenton, Virginia but I love Buffalo Exchange in Nashville and found some of my current favorite pieces there on my last visit. 

JG Where is home for you?

MM I rent a mid-century modern house with a big wrap-around screened porch in Remington, situated on a hill overlooking a quiet, 300-acre farm surrounded by the Rappahannock River. 

JG Is music your main source of income?

MM Yes. For the past eight years, I’ve supported myself with music – writing, performing, and teaching it. I’m tempted to deem this a small miracle, but it’s the result of hard work, persistence, and dedication to my craft. 

JG What artists inspire you?

MM Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Joni Mitchell. I’m a big fan of bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chicago, and everyone who played on Soul Train. Of course, I’m also heavily influenced by indie artists/bands like Fleet Foxes, Feist, Andy Shauf, Mac Demarco, and Tennis. 

JG Have you found it easy to find venues and people who connect with your work?

MM I play throughout NoVA and D.C., but the Fauquier County scene has been my comfort zone. The music scene in Fauquier is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because the angels who own and run the local venues (wineries, breweries, and restaurants) pay local musicians fair rates on a consistent basis. Because the gig economy is alive and well, the quality of musicianship and the diversity of sound is ever- growing. It’s a curse because it’s like the poppy fields in Wizard of Oz; this is a nice place to be, but there’s more out there for me, and I want to keep working toward it. 

JG What’s next for Maddi Mae?

MM I’m currently recording an EP with Lore Audio in Flagstaff, Arizona. I met Kyle Miller of Lore when I played a couple of tour dates with his band, Tow’rs, back in April. He and his wife Gretta just felt right to me. My partner and I drove across the U.S. for five weeks in July and spent about a week of that time with Kyle and Gretta, recording my songs “Here Right Now” and “Little House.” Our time in the studio was exactly what I’ve been searching for, so I’ll be out there recording again in October. I’ve also been working to assemble my dream team. I’ve learned that to take my music to the next level, I need help. I’m expecting the unexpected right now, and I believe that I am worth believing in. ML

This article first appeared in the November 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.