Maddie Morris is an artist who strives to make a difference in the world. Bold, insightful and refreshingly unique, she takes traditional song in new directions to shine a light on contemporary issues, offering new perspectives about the world we live in today. After graduating with a first-class honours degree from Leeds Conservatoire, Maddie soon made waves by winning the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, as well as landing a grant from the Alan Surtees Trust. From these firm foundations, her career has gone from strength to strength, with recent performances including Cropredy and Cambridge Folk Festival.
Folk songs have always told stories, but how Maddie makes her mark is by turning this storytelling into action. Described by Jim Moray as “leading the next generation of socially conscious songwriters”, she uses her work to highlight inequality, challenge viewpoints and provide an inclusive space for shared experiences. She was recently commissioned by Rural Arts to explore LGBTQIA+ experiences through traditional music, and has also been proud to collaborate with organisations such as Queer Folk, Esperance and Trans Pride Brighton.
Whether she’s turning a centuries-old ballad on its head or writing something completely new, Maddie places her focus on drawing out true meaning rather than being true to tradition. From tweaking tunings to adding ornamentation, she’s never afraid to put her own stamp on things and create something distinctively her own.
Maddie released her debut EP, Purgatory, in 2020 – a reflection on the experiences of lockdown, which was recorded at home. Two years on, she’s following this up with her first studio release, Upstream, a beautifully crafted collection of songs which amplifies the stories of those often marginalised by society. Passionately political, yet gently understated, this is music that deftly treads the path between art and activism.