Singer-songwriter Maude Desjardins, musically known as Matilda Dae, moved from Canada to Charleston four years ago to pursue at PhD in voice therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina. Not long after moving to Charleston, she released her 2016 EP We Never Talked About It, a collection of jazzy folk songs, and now that she’s completed her PhD, she’s gearing up to release a second EP. The two songs that you’ll hear this morning in the form of some B-Side Sessions, “Just as Free” and “Time”, are a taste of what’s to come from Matilda Dae.
Maude started playing guitar when she was just 10 years old, and started singing not long after that. She remembers spending hours practicing in her childhood bedroom, playing songs and doing vocal exercises. Her early interest in the human voice was inspired by her vocal teacher from those days, and it eventually led her to an undergraduate and master’s degree in speech therapy, and after that she went back to school to study vocal performance. From there, she developed her songwriting and began exploring different styles of music.
“Our brains and creative centers are always working even when we are not fully aware of it, and when I feel even the slightest spark coming up to the surface I stop everything I am doing to sit down at the piano and allow it to grow into something,” Maude says of her songwriting process. “I try to never miss out on a spark because they’re just the tip of the iceberg and I’m always curious to uncover the rest of it. It’s also very therapeutic and I never judge what comes out of it, I just let it be. If writing the song hurts it’s a good sign, it means it’s healing something and it’s real.”
As for her PhD, Maude says that when she was attending music school she noticed that her teachers weren’t well-versed enough in human anatomy and physiology to really understand and help students maintain vocal health. She notes that many of the breathing exercises that voice teachers use are not necessarily proven to be effective, and she realized that there is an important gap between the scientific community and the singing community that can be bridged to benefit vocalists everywhere. Her research focused on age-related changes to the human respiratory system and the voice, and she has worked on developing a voice therapy program for people experiencing vocal difficulties as a result of getting older.
Maude just defended her PhD two weeks ago, and now that she’s finally finished with school she has more time to devote to music and focus on her songwriting. She is working with electronic music producer Corey Webb, whom you might know as Billie Fountain, and the second Matilda Dae EP is about halfway through the recording process.
“While the first one was recorded live in one weekend, I am really taking my time for this second one, and the style is also different,” Maude explains. “Mixing the folk and jazz sides of my songwriting to his electronic production creates a hybrid that I’m really happy with.”
Matilda Dae will be performing with a full band this Saturday night, July 27th, at The Royal American alongside Billie Fountain and Argot, and Maude says that they’ll be performing new material in a style that is more consistent with what we’ll hear from the upcoming EP. Check out the B-Side Sessions filmed by Taylor Hickman at the Harbinger Cafe below, and head out to Royal on Saturday night to see this stuff live. Facebook event here.