Artist Profile: Maddy O’Neal

Be Mind Over Matter with Maddy O'Neal at the Ogden Theatre - Party Guru  Productions

Cait Falc

As we usher in 2024, the electronic dance music (EDM) scene continues to buzz with its usual fervor, and at the heart of this increasingly crowded space is an artist who caught my attention throughout 2023: Maddy O’Neal. Her story, performances, and extraordinary music make her a name you need to know if you’re a fan of EDM.

Maddy O’Neal, a Denver-based DJ, producer, and unapologetic feminist, is redefining the electronic music landscape with her unique blend of soulful beats and bass-heavy rhythms. Her journey in the EDM scene is as vibrant and dynamic as her music. Growing up in a musical family, with her father touring the West Coast and her brother playing in indie bands, Maddy was surrounded by diverse musical influences. She dabbled with various instruments but never settled on one until she discovered her true passion: electronic music production.

In 2010, a pivotal moment arrived when she received an Ableton trial, a byproduct of a gift she had given her brother, unlocking her true potential in music production. After moving to Denver for college, she immersed herself in the city’s thriving electronic scene. Through years of YouTube tutorials, collaborations with local music friends, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge in music technology and theory, Maddy honed her craft.INTERVIEW] Maddy O'Neal Discusses Her Mesmerizing New EP, 'Mind Over  Matter' | iEDM

My first encounter with her music was at Bonnaroo 2023, where her set was a revelation. The way she weaved through tracks, maintaining an electrifying energy while showcasing her depth and versatility, was nothing short of mesmerizing. Her music is a cocktail of influences – imagine the sampling genius of Pretty Lights mixed with the lush, organic soundscapes of Of The Trees. It’s a blend that keeps you on your toes, always excited for what’s next.

One of Maddy’s first major break came with her debut at Red Rocks, a rite of passage for any artist in the EDM scene – especially one with such strong ties to Denver. From there, she took the industry by storm, playing 88 shows over four major tours with notable artists like The Floozies, Lettuce, Sunsquabi, and of course my personal favorite – Pretty Lights. Her ascent in the male-dominated industry is not just a testament to her talent but also her resilience and determination to pave the way for other women in the scene.

One of her standout performances of 2023 was at Cascade Equinox, where her set was a journey through atmospheric instrumentals, hip-hop infused beats, and layers of trap production. Her ability to move the crowd through a sonic range was awe-inspiring.

Maddy O’Neal at Cascade Equinox; Photo: Carolina Nascimento

But it wasn’t only the music festivals where Maddy O’Neal made her indelible mark. Her performances at Burning Man stand out as a personal highlight for me and many others. There’s one specific bass-heavy set from Burning Man that’s been on my playlist for the last three months. It’s a perfect example of her versatility and ability to captivate an audience. In the transient, otherworldly setting of Burning Man, Maddy’s music resonated powerfully, echoing the festival’s spirit of creativity and self-expression. Her set from Camp Question Mark pulsated with her signature bass intensity, while her set from Camp Ego Trip showcased a different flavor, delving into the realms of house music. Both performances highlight her range and adaptability as an artist. Listen below to experience the magic of her sets from both Camp Question Mark and Camp Ego Trip.

Maddy’s versatility as an artist is evident in her sublime remix of Sublime’s “What I Got,” a track that showcases her eclectic music taste and her production prowess even early in her career.  This remix is a perfect example of her skill in blending genres and eras, creating something both nostalgic and refreshingly new. Listen on Soundcloud

In 2023, Maddy O’Neal’s presence was unmistakable in the EDM scene, with her packed schedule reflecting her soaring popularity and demand. I had the good fortune of experiencing her electrifying performances three times – at Bonnaroo, Cascade Equinox, and Following Pretty Lights at the Caverns. Each show offered a distinct experience, showcasing her versatility and her profound ability to engage with the audience. Adding to the spectacle, the renowned Lazer Shark and Derek himself operated the lighting for portions of her Caverns performance, further elevating what a unique experience it was for everyone involved.

Maddy Performing in The Caverns; Photo: Keithgriner_photo (Instagram)

Her latest EP, “Mind over Matter,” released in 2023, is a testament to her growth and exploration as an artist. It contains some of the most innovative and captivating music I’ve heard in recent times, proving that she is not just following trends but is a trendsetter in her own right.

As we look ahead to 2024, the anticipation for what Maddy O’Neal will bring to the table is palpable. She is already lined up for some major festivals, including Electric Forest, Gem & Jam, Solshine Reviere, Resonate Suwannee, and Sol Fest. If 2023 was any indication, her performances this year are bound to be even more electrifying and memorable.

Maddy O’Neal’s journey in the EDM scene is a compelling narrative of talent, perseverance, and innovation. Her music, a harmonious blend of electronic finesse and organic warmth, is a refreshing change in an often monotonous landscape. As a fan and a follower of the EDM scene, I am eagerly awaiting what she has in store for us in 2024. Her trajectory is not just an exciting prospect for her fans but a beacon of inspiration for aspiring artists, especially women, in the electronic music industry.

Maddy O’Neal – Instagram

In conclusion, I’m calling it now: Maddy O’Neal is set to be one of the biggest breakout stars of 2024 in the EDM world. To those who have been tracking her meteoric rise over the past five years, this might not come as a surprise. But mark my words, her trajectory is only going upward from here. Her music isn’t just something you casually listen to; it’s an experience that takes you on a journey through sound, emotion, and energy. Maddy stands out in today’s EDM scene, and I’m eagerly anticipating being part of this exhilarating ride into her future, which, by all accounts, is shaping up to be nothing short of spectacular.

– Scene Kid

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