Tag Archives: Madelyn Spera

Madelyn Spera Plays The Bitter End

When the world closed down during the pandemic, some people ate. Others grew anxious, or bored.

Madelyn Spera wrote songs.

The rising Staples High School senior was always drawn to music. She took classes beginning in preschool; sang at Sweet Frog at age 10;  joined Music Theatre of Connecticut for shows like “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” then performed with Bedford Middle School and Staples Players in “Mamma Mia!,” “Grease” “The Descendants” and “Into the Woods.”

Madelyn Spera

COVID slammed the curtain shut. Isolated at home starting in March 2020 — Staples Players’ “Seussical: The Musical” was canceled 2 days before opening night — Madelyn studied songwriters like Taylor Swift.

She figured out her own process. She thinks of a title or creative first line; plays with it on piano or guitar, then crafts the rest of her lyrics.

Madelyn calls her all-acoustic style “indie-ish. It’s mellow pop, relaxed.” She is not into techno.

She writes about what she knows: family, friends, growing up in Westport, experiences she’s going through.

She recorded 6 original songs at Bridgeport’s Tarquin Studios. Working with a member of the Alternate Roots band, she learned the ins and outs of recording. Right now she’s editing those songs, and figuring out the best marketing strategy.

Earlier this month, Madelyn performed at New York’s Bitter End. The famed Greenwich Village club has hosted Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, James Taylor and Neil Young, among many others.

More recent performers include Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. “I was playing on their piano!” Madelyn says.

Madelyn Spera, at The Bitter End.

Like Gaga, Madelyn sang about loving yourself, and “embracing who you are.” Audience members told Madelyn that her lyrics resonated.

This summer, she’s interning at MTC. She’s teaching music choreographing children’s shows, and giving back some of what she got growing up there.

Soon, she’ll audition for Staples Players’ fall production: “Guys and Dolls.”

She hopes too to return to The Bitter End. Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga’s piano is waiting.

Madelyn Spera And The Bitter End

The Bitter End calls itself “the oldest rock and roll club in New York City.” Since 1961, the classic red brick stage in the heart of Greenwich Village has hosted Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Jackson Browne, Neil Diamond, Gavin DeGraw, Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, Randy Newman, Billy Crystal, Tommy James, Norah Jones, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield and thousands more.

Including Madelyn Spera.

The Westporter has already played there twice, during Saturday open mic sessions. The first was last year, as a Bedford Middle School 8th grader. Now a Staples High School freshman, she performed again last month. It was a fundraiser to support music and art in underfunded schools.

Surrounded by School of Rock-type bands, Madelyn stood out as an acoustic guitarist. She also plays piano.

Madelyn Spera at the Bitter End.

Madelyn’s route to the Bitter End began in Westport. She started playing at Sweet Frog — the now-shuttered frozen yogurt shop next to Fresh Market.

Her repertoire includes ’80s pop songs, and originals. She wrote one of those songs — “Underneath It All” — about an issue she cares deeply about: positive body image.

Before she headed to the Bitter End, Madelyn knew little about the iconic club. But she looked it up online.

She learned that her idol Taylor Swift had played there. That was good enough for Madelyn.

The first time, she was nervous. But one of her songs made an audience member cry. She knew she belonged.

Bitter End bookers agreed. Madelyn will play there again, in late winter.

Taylor Swift, eat your heart out.

(Can’t wait until then to see Madelyn Spera? She’s part of the Bjorn ensemble in Staples Players’ upcoming production of “Mamma Mia!” Click here for information.)

Music On Main Street

Annette Norton has a full-time job. She owns Savvy + Grace, the fun, funky gifts-and-more store underneath Tavern on Main.

But she spends plenty of time on a related project: bringing excitement back to all of Main Street.

Last month she brought an outdoor market to the parking lot behind her place. It rained — but the vendors and shoppers had a blast.

Madelyn Spera

Tomorrow, she’s arranged for live music out in front. Madelyn Spera is a young singer-songwriter who plays piano and guitar, acts in musical theater, and — though just a rising Staples High School freshman — has already performed at New York’s Bitter End.

She’ll be on Main Street from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Annette is working with the Youth Arts Forum — of which Madelyn is a member — to bring young talent downtown every Saturday.

Her landlord — Phil Teuscher — is very supportive. Like Annette, he understands the importance of fun — and music — on Main Street.