By Léo Azambuja

Madison with her grandma/manager Tonni Riley

Madison with her grandma/manager Tonni Riley

In the summer of 2011, Madison started singing at venues around the island, captivating hearts with a smooth voice and a musical maturity seldom seen in 13-year-old children.

Now, at 16 years old and about to release her second album, Madison has matured quite a bit.

“My voice has gotten a lot different, my range is a lot broader, I can hit lower notes and higher notes — and stronger,” she said.

Madison’s first album, “I’m Just a Girl,” was released in September 2012. Local radio stations played her songs and made the young North Shore resident a household name on Kaua‘i.

With her next album, “Dandelion,” to be released in a couple months, Madison is dreaming much bigger.

“I really want to take my music worldwide,” she said. “I’m very excited.”

Her dreams are backed by her raw talent and a lot of hard work, but also by the support of some of the best names in the music industry. In May, Madison came back from a six-month stay on the Mainland producing her latest album.

While on the Mainland, she teamed up with well-known producers, including Mike Bolenbach, John Tyree, Josh Eagan and John Fields, who have worked with stars such as Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, Mariah Carey, Fiona Apple, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Pink, No Doubt, Joni Mitchel, Dr. Dre and others.

Madison’s key producer on the album was Kaua‘i’s Reno Powers, who has worked with the likes of U2, Prince, Joe Cochran and Blondie.

She also put in work with local talents Will Lydgate, Andrew Vastola, Phil Jones and Kirk Smart.

“The musical side of her has just growing amazingly,” said Tonni Riley, Madison’s grandmother and executive producer.

Riley is an award-winning lyricist herself, usually working behind the scenes with artists.

Lately, Riley has been devoting herself full-time to her granddaughter’s career — she pretty much co-wrote every song in Madison’s albums, sometimes in partnership with other artists, but mostly teaming up with the young musician.

“I definitely have a great team behind me,” Madison said.

Bringing all those talented people together was all about networking, according to Riley.

“You work with someone and it opens the door to another producer,” Riley said.

Madison has really invested in her career in the last few years. When she was 14 and 15 years old, she would do gigs around the island five or six times a week, sometimes twice a day. She performed in bars, restaurants, weddings, concerts, you name it.

And she is savvy about building her future. She has turned away offers that might have given her 15 minutes of fame, such as reality TV, and instead has concentrated solely on music.

“I love music, I’ve always been connected to music, even as a kid,” she said. “I love to put a smile on people’s faces. It gives something to people.”

For the near future, we may see Madison opening concerts on Kaua‘i and perhaps O‘ahu. She said she is excited with the opportunity of bringing her new songs to a broader audience, and possibly teaming up with a bigger record label for her third album.

“It’s crazy how many songs I already have for the next album,” she said.

While we’re still waiting for her second album, the last copies of her first one are still available at, her official website. Her music is also available at iTunes.