P>Madison McKenzie is the latest ingenue with a debut record. The raven-haired beauty grew up in farm country in small town Illinois, but that's where the similarity with the typical starlet ends. She had to overcome "Phonological Processing Disorder" (a communicative disorder that lengthens processing and relaying information and sound) at an elementary age. "A Part Of Me" is a very personal collection from a 17 year old's perspective. She had a hand in writing about half of the songs - she even wrote one with her sister - and none of them required significant changes from heavyweight producer and engineer Bob Bullock (Reba McEntire, Shania Twain and Tanya Tucker, among others). Bullock has more than 50 gold and platinum albums to his credit.
"I used to be hesitant and less confident, but my music has helped me to grow in so many ways," she said. "I want to be able to use my music to make a lasting impression on others, to help them overcome obstacles when they might feel helpless or alone and be an artist people can look up to."
The tone ranges from playful and up-tempo portrait of a friendship soon to grow distant, (My Friend) to the haunting (Give Me A Reason).
The subject matter encompasses friends, family, love, death and faith. The autobiographical This Is My Life and the more somber Gone But Not Forgotten bookend the heart of the album, which is oversaturated with love and relationship ballads. It is poignantly innocent and somewhat cliched, reflective of a young teenage songwriter. The straightforward lyrics are commensurate with her life experience to this point. Many of the songs feature infectious hooks. And we all know how that formula turned out for Ms. Swift.