Maddie Poppe’s “Whirlwind” Paints Personal Post American Idol Portrait

Maddie Poppe Whirlwind Album Cover Art

The new album from singer/songwriter Maddie Poppe, Whirlwind is an up-close-and-personal portrait of the American Idol winner’s past year–all the magic and joy and occasional hurt that comes from chasing your dreams. The 21-year-old Iowa native co-wrote six of the album’s 10 tracks.

In her debut release for Hollywood Records, Maddie joins forces with producer/songwriters like Johan Carlsson (Ariana Grande, Charlie Puth, Demi Lovato) and Drew Pearson (Kesha, Pentatonix, Michelle Branch), building off her Americana roots. 

“Making the album felt like one big experiment, where I kept learning so much and getting so many new ideas,” says Maddie in a press statement. “Instead of just limiting myself to any one genre, I wanted to try out whatever styles and sounds felt right for the song.”

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Throughout Whirlwind, Maddie showcases the vocal work she first began honing growing up in Clarksville. “My dad was in a band, and sometimes I’d get up and sing a Janis Joplin song or ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ with them,” she remembers. In seventh grade she learned to play guitar, and within a year started playing shows locally. She began writing starting in third grade, but it wasn’t until age 15 that Maddie engaged songwriting in earnest, with inspiration from artists such as  Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. “My best songs usually came together when my emotions were really high, like if I’d gone through a breakup, or if I was on top of the world with happiness about something,” says Maddie

Co-writing for the first time on Whirlwind, Maddie admits, “At first I was so scared to lay all my emotions out on the table like that.” She adds, “But now that I’ve gotten used to it, I don’t have that fear anymore. These days I’d much rather write with other people, because I love that feeling of everyone sharing their ideas and creating something you’d never come up with on your own.”

Writing for Whirlwind has helped her evolve as a songwriter. “Two years ago, I never would’ve imagined I’d be where I am today,” she says. “I never would’ve thought I’d get out of small-town Iowa and play shows all over the country, or meet somebody so perfect for me—I never thought I could make my dreams come true like that. Making this album, I was really honest about everything that’s happened in my life during that time. I didn’t hold anything back, and I hope that people can feel how real the songs are, and connect with each of them in their own individual way.”

Track List

Notably, Whirlwind does not include her American Idol coronation song “Going, Going Gone” and first single “Keep on Movin’ On” among its tracks.

1. “Not Losing You”
Written by Johan Carlsson, Sam Roman, Maddie Poppe

“‘Not Losing You’ came from a conversation I’d had with Caleb the night before,” says Maddie, referring to her fellow Idol star and boyfriend, Caleb Lee Hutchinson. “He was having an off night and telling me how he felt, and talking to him ended up inspiring the lyrics. One of the coolest things is that it started with these random piano chords my producer was playing when I got to the studio the next day—it was just something he’d made up right on the spot, but I loved it so much that we turned it into a song.”

Producer – Johan Carlsson, Vocal Producer – Johan Carlsson, Vocal Producer – Peter Karlsson, Programming – Johan Carlsson, Piano – Johan Carlsson, Arranger – Mattias Bylund, Violin – Mattias Johansson, Cello – David Bukovinszky, Synthesizer – Mattias Bylund, Recording Engineer – Mattias Bylund, Music Editor – Mattias Bylund, Mixer – Serban Ghenea, Engineer – John Hanes, Mastering – Chris Gehringer, Assistant Engineer – Will Quinnell

2. “First Aid Kit”
Written by Connor Pledger, Asia Whitacre
Producer – Connor Pledger, Bass – Connor Pledger,  Synthesizer – Connor Pledger, Electric Guitar – Connor Pledger, Acoustic Guitar – Connor Pledger, Programming – Connor Pledger, Background vocals – Connor Pledger, Background vocals – Maddie Poppe, Vocal Producer – Scott Robinson

3. “Nothing Good Comes Out of California”
Written by Maddie Poppe, Tom Douglas, Tofer Brown

“I’ve found that people often have negative ideas about what people are like in California, even if they’ve never actually been there.”

Producer – Tofer Brown, Engineer – Tofer Brown, Recording Engineer – Tofer Brown, Piano – Tofer Brown, Guitar – Tofer Brown, Bass – Tofer Brown, Programming – Tofer Brown, Background vocals – Maddie Poppe, Background vocals – Tofer Brown, Vocal Producer 

4. “Wild Flowers”
Written by Maria Jane Smith, Victor Thell, Chelsea Lena, Adam Sample
Producer – Victor Thell, Vocal Producer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Engineer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Background vocals – Scott Thomas Robinson

5. “Made You Miss”
Written by Ross Golan, Johan Carlsson, Sam Roman, Maddie Poppe

“The guitar part to that song was actually recorded on an iPhone. It seems crazy considering we were in this studio with all this amazing equipment—but it sounded so good, so we kept it.”

Johan Carlsson, Vocal Producer – Johan Carlsson, Vocal Producer – Peter Karlsson, Programming – Johan Carlsson, Tambourine – Johan Carlsson, Hand Claps – Johan Carlsson, Acoustic Guitar – Johan Carlsson, Electric Guitar – Johan Carlsson, Bass Guitar – Johan Carlsson, Piano – Johan Carlsson, Synthesizer – Johan Carlsson, Hand Claps – Colette Carlsson, Arranger – Mattias Bylund, Trumpet – Magnus Johansson, Trumpet – Janne Bjerger, Sax – Tomas Jonsson, Sax – Wojtek Goral, Trombone – Peter Noos Johansson, Horns

6. “Take It Out on You”
Written by Johan Carlsson, Ross Golan, Maddie Poppe
Johan Carlsson, Engineer – Sam Holland, Engineer – Cory Bice, Engineer – Jeremy Lertola, Vocal Producer – Peter Karlsson, Vocal Producer – Johan Carlsson, Programming – Johan Carlsson, Piano – Johan Carlsson, Synthesizer – Johan Carlsson, Electric Bass – Johan Carlsson, Guitar – Johan Carlsson, Background vocals – Maddie Poppe, Background vocals – Johan Carlsson, Background vocals – Ross Golan

7. “Skeletons”
Written by Mike Mac, Jordan Baum, David Frank
Mike Mac, Producer – Jordan Baum, Guitar – Jordan Baum, Bass – Jordan Baum, Keyboard – Mike Mac, Synthesizer – Mike Mac, Drums – Mike Mac, Vocal Producer – Jordan Baum, Background vocals – Mike Mac, Background vocals – Jordan Baum, Background vocals – Maddie Poppe

8. “Postcard”
Written by Andrew Pearson, Amy Kuney, Maddie Poppe
Producer – Drew Pearson, Vocal Producer – Scott Thomas Robinson,

9. “Little Things”
Written by Jordan Miller, Jason Bell, Roland Spreckley, Jordan Topf
Producer – HEAVY, Programming – HEAVY, Guitar – Jordan Topf, Guitar – Jason Merris Bell, Bass – Jason Merris Bell, Piano – Jordan Rand Miller, Background vocals – Jordan Topf, Background vocals – Jordan Rand Miller, Background vocals – Roland “Rollo” Spreckley, Background vocals – Jason Merris Bell, 

10. “Roses”
Written by Connor Pledger, Maddie Poppe

“When we wrote ‘Roses,’ I’d been feeling a little off for the past few days, but I didn’t want to tell anyone about that and come across ungrateful for how lucky I am. I wanted to write a song about how you can’t control things like depression or anxiety—sometimes it just happens for no reason, and the world outside doesn’t match up with what’s happening in your head.”

Producer – Connor Pledger, Producer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Vocal Producer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Engineer – JB Bruington, Engineer – Connor Pledger, Engineer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Background vocals – Maddie Poppe, Background vocals – Connor Pledger, Ukulele – Connor Pledger, Bass – Connor Pledger, Acoustic Guitar – Connor Pledger, Piano – Scott Thomas Robinson, Percussion – Scott Thomas Robinson, Electric Guitar – Scott Thomas Robinson, Programming – Scott Thomas Robinson, Synthesizer – Scott Thomas Robinson, Electric Guitar – Connor Pledger, Programming – Connor Pledger, Synthesizer

About mj santilli 29453 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!