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Maddie Zahm Releases New EP with Aching Honesty

In "You Might Not Like Her," Maddie releases our favorite EP of the year so far, an introspective glimpse into the beauty of coming of age and embracing who you are.

Photo: Gus Black

With a very full heart, I can only describe Maddie Zahm’s new EP "You Might Not Like Her" as praise for the human experience.

With such a strong foundation in Christian contemporary music, the EP reimagines the genre with a different message, one that feels authentic to Maddie. In the five songs, she tells the story of the disconnect between what felt honest and what was being taught to her growing up, and her escape from that mindset.

Sitting down with such a powerful artist, I was nervous. For me, Maddie is the kind of songwriter I was afraid to meet because of the viciously high expectations I held for her, which she met and exceeded. Not only is Maddie kind and warm and funny, but speaks as eloquently as one would expect from her lyrics. But this is just me gushing.

We opened our conversation with the video for "You Might Not Like Her," which she had just released. In both the short film and the song, Maddie works through all the things her younger self would be struggling with if she met her today, depicted with lyrics like, “My younger self would laugh, would never believe that it's against everything that we stood for."

The music video is crafted as a time capsule. Through young actress and Maddie-look-alike, Wynter, Maddie reflects on all the ways to make amends with her past while revisiting places that are connected to her childhood. This visual conveyance was an important part of the story for her own healing and for the healing of all her listeners. If Maddie was able to invoke all those emotions, then she could envision this conversation happening, which then might clear a path for others to do so as well. And this discussion becomes so important when we look at all the themes this one song breaks down, working as an umbrella for the entire EP.

“I worked backwards. So the song that's at the conclusion is actually the first song that I wrote, and then I wrote a lot of the songs that deconstructed the stuff that I was going through, so it became this kind of cathartic coming around. I can't believe what I had written that weekend," Maddie said.

"Fat Funny Friend" came out and was held so dearly and tightly by every person who had struggled when looking at themselves in the mirror.

“There was just this beautiful community of plus size women, and just body positive women. That was me. And I think that in some ways that community really is a big part of the reason that I felt comfortable coming out because I was like, if this community of people that I didn't even know existed were able to love me and vice versa...that gave me permission to also want to connect with the queer community,” Maddie said.