Sponsored link
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sponsored link

Arts + CultureMusicMadison McFerrin reveals 5 albums that inspire her uncrowded...

Madison McFerrin reveals 5 albums that inspire her uncrowded artistry

Thrilling to the singer-songwriter's tonal references in advance of her June 2 gig at The Independent.

In 1956, composer John Cage predicted that “in the future, records will be made from records.”

I came to that philosophy via bassist, producer, and theorist of-sorts Bill Laswell in 2016, and it’s changed the way I listen to music. The thought can be used and perceived in terms of sampling or repurposing an idea, sound, or concept—or simply falling in love with a particular production style or arrangement.

I am still moved by the way Prince, an artist who certainly made records from records, ruled over all the possibilities associated with the Linn LM-1 drum machine. Nobody has been able to replicate his mastery of that tool, evident in the cold blip of “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” to the rhythmic tap-bang of “The Beautiful Ones.”

Let’s add that people who like records make great records.

Madison McFerrin is one of them.

The San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based, singer-songwriter McFerrin released her debut album I Hope You Can Forgive Me a couple of weeks back. She will be performing here in SF at The Independent on June 2. The LP represents an evolution in her career, a moment in which she has stepped up and taken the reins to self-produce, ultimately doubling down on her own ideas, and trusting her impulses. That’s her arranging, playing bass, and synth.

She produced 70 percent of the album, and it shows her talents at their peak. Made during the pandemic, the project is a showcase for her at-times tender and uncrowded vocal intonations, looping refrains, and sophisticated charts.

Her father, the jazz-folk vocalist Gawd who is Bobby McFerrin, is the only feature on the project. Their collaboration “Run” makes a symphonic blend of two inventive vocalists from different generations, joining to form a stylish bumper of jazz, funk, electronic, and soul.

A low-key bop—family-friendly too, it goes. Stuff of legends.

She took time out of her busy tour schedule to talk with 48hills about five albums that inspired her. We are forever grateful.


“I heard this the day it dropped and listened to nothing else for a week straight. I instantly fell in love with the production blended with Nai’s vocals.”


“Some of my all-time favorite musical moments are on this record. The last minute of ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing’ alone is unbeatable.”


“The sound design on this record is incredible; it is equally simple and complex. I find something new with every listen.”


“Flawless album from start to finish. The string arrangements are definitely some of my favorites—they make me feel like I’m on the beach in Rio.”


“The songwriting on this album is amazing. Erykah has a way of painting such vivid pictures with her lyrics. It’s good every time.”

MADISON MCFERRIN with Lalin St. Juste and DJ Wonway Posibul. June 2, doors 8:30pm, show 9pm. The Independent, SF. Tickets and more info here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

Sponsored link

Top reads

SF continues to violate court order on sweeps of homeless people, filing says

Cops and clean-up teams offer no shelter, destroy belongings, and ignore a federal judge's ruling, advocates and unhoused people report.

New City College Board rescinds layoffs, sets plan for rebuilding the school

Turns out the union's budget numbers were more accurate than the administration's.

Good Taste: SF’s Ramen Bae gives love to sad instant noodle bowls

A new local company solves an international problem.

More by this author

Under the Stars: Still swooning for Roísin Murphy’s Portola Music Fest booking

Plus: Black Artist Database drops a compilation that predicts the future.

How Aretha Franklin came to The Fillmore and conquered rock ‘n’ roll

It was 1971 and the Queen of Soul even bested The Beatles at their game.

Under the Stars: Legendary Fanny rocked hard in the ’70s, even harder today

Ground-breaking women's group playing free outside gig, check. New music? Got that too.
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED