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‘American Idol’ Alum Haven Madison Is Entering Her ‘Reputation’ Era With New EP (Exclusive)

American Idol Alum Haven Madison Is Entering Her Reputation Era With New EP
Haven Madison Robby Klein

Haven Madison and Taylor Swift are connected by more than one invisible string.

The American Idol alum and recent high school graduate shares Swift’s blonde locks and Nashville origins, and both singers have an original song titled “15.” Just like Swift, Madison, 18, is allowing her music and image to evolve along with her as she grows and matures.

“Coming off American Idol, I definitely had some grit and I had some blood on my knees because I had to deal with social media and I had to work like a 35-year-old and grow up practically overnight,” Madison told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting her new EP, Turn Off All the Lights. “I felt no reason to try to remain the person I was when I knew I’d grown and I wanted to take people with me in that.”

After an emotional audition in front of Idol judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry with her father, Jason, accompanying her on guitar, a then-16-year-old Madison earned her way into season 21. She went on to sing in front of guest judges Ed Sheeran and Alanis Morissette (earning the latter’s approval of Madison’s rendition of “You Learn”), and she generated buzz online after a clip of her emotional duet with Perry went viral.

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After finishing in the top 8 and moving to Nashville to pursue music professionally, Madison knew it was time to reinvent herself.

“I came off the show and I felt this pressure to write more songs like ‘15’ and write more songs like ‘Still Need You.’ And I needed to stay in this bubblegum, sweet, girl-next-door persona, which I definitely was,” Madison told Us. “I go on my social media and a lot of the comments are, ‘I wish she would just go back to who she was when she was on American Idol.’ But what people are neglecting to realize is that I was 16 and I’m actually a normal human being who’s growing and changing.”

American Idol Alum Haven Madison Is Entering Her Reputation Era With New EP
Haven Madison, Taylor Swift Robby Klein;Don Arnold/TAS18/Getty Images

Turn Off All The Lights, Madison’s latest EP, embraces an edgier, more mature sound, with songs like “Monster” and “Kiss the Ground” reminiscent of Swift’s confident and revenge-focused album Reputation. That’s no accident. Madison considers Swift’s angry, left-turn of an album to be her favorite.

“I think that my roots are always gonna take me back to Reputation,” Madison tells Us, noting that she is also “obsessed” with Swift’s recent release, The Tortured Poets Department, especially since attending The Eras Tour in Paris.

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Madison cites other musical influences like Morisette, Hayley Williams, Billie Eilish and Conan Gray, as well as Christian acts like the Newsboys and her father’s band, which she listened to growing up.

“When the American Idol lights were turned off, I stepped away from my high school and all the pressure of who people wanted me to be,” Madison told Us, explaining how she came up with the title of her EP. “I’m gonna be who I am in the dark when it’s just me.”

Turn Off All The Lights is out now.

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