Meet Maddie Jones, a singer, guitarist and songwriter, originally from the Valleys, now living in Cardiff. She’s one of those people I’ve wanted to get on We Are Cardiff for ages, and ended up doing an online interview with … and then bumped into her in person at BBC Radio Wales while Hana and I were there to talk about The 42b (We Are Cardiff Press’ first book). She’s every bit as smart and funny in real life as she was to interview online – and I sat about three feet away from her while she sang on the radio. What a voice!
Anyway, enough of me … meet Maddie! Helia x
I’m originally from just outside Ystrad Mynach, which isn’t far from Caerphilly. You have to make your own fun up there, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes you crazy and creative. Cardiff seemed like such a big city to us, I’ve learnt since that it’s not that huge!
I wrote a song for the Cardiff Songs project about Cardiff from a Valleys person’s perspective. The project came out of the book called Cardiff Songs, by Mike Johnson – who wanted to create a legacy of songs about our city, in the way that so many other cities have. We had the option to cover one of his songs, but I wanted to make mine more personal to me, so wrote Pretty City. It’s one of the things that outsiders say about Cardiff, and I find it to be true, but also hilarious when you look at the place on a matchday, or a hen and stag filled Friday night. So, my song was about the experience of coming down on the train, to a big place, trying to cram in as much fun as possible in a few hours, and then convincing a taxi driver to take you all the way home. It’s from my Valleys perspective, but I’ve lived in Cardiff itself for over four years now, and this is my home.
When I came home from Nottingham Uni, after the standard ‘stint at your parents, wondering what to do with your life’, myself and some friends moved here to Cardiff. For me, it was to be in a good location to build my career on the music scene, be able to go to loads of gigs, and meet as many people as possible. To be near the action, in short!
I moved to, and still live in Pontcanna. It’s a completely amazing place to live, but we were very lucky to find somewhere we could afford on our artsy incomes. Pontcanna is amazing, I actually wrote a whole article about it once! My favourite cafe is Brava – amazing food, and milkshakes, and rugby player spotting! There are loads of great restaurants too, my favourites are Cinnamon Tree, The Smoke House and Cibo. Pipes Brewery is just round the corner from me, and there’s a butcher, baker (no candlesitck maker), grocer, and a few delis too. Also right by Bute Park/ Taff Trail, and plenty of good pubs too.
Cardiff’s creative scene has been building in the four years I’ve lived in the city. The music scene particularly is coming into its own, with venues like the Moon, and Gwdihw, and more recently the Tramshed, and new festivals too, like HUB and Free for All. A lot of great artistic stuff goes on, especially around Womanby St, Chapter, and the Abacus. I’m mostly involved in music, obviously, but I enjoy art, film, theatre, dance and all sorts! I try to incorporate it into what I do – designing my own CD covers for example, the most recent one people have to colour in themselves!
Thanks Maddie! Check our the video for her most recent single, Could You Be My Rock and Roll? taken from the Colour Me In EP, which was crowdfunded on Pledge Music, and is available in any format under the sun from her Maddie Jones Bandcamp page.
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