Culture

Sophomore Maddi T releases pop single on Spotify

Maddi Tuccillo was only 3-years-old when she asked her mom to give her voice lessons. It was
an odd request from a toddler, but in retrospect, it all makes sense.

“I made her wait seven years,” said her mom, Dara Minkin-Tuccillo, with a laugh. “I was like.
‘Are you kidding me! You’re a baby!’ But I knew she would remember. When she wants
something, she doesn’t forget.” Tuccillo started her vocal training when she was 10 – but the
drive was there all along.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Tuccillo, now 19, who grew up in the Hamptons. “I just knew
I was meant to do this.”

A sophomore at Hunter, Tuccillo now has a single coming out — as Maddi T — on online music platforms that
she wrote and recorded. And she is also trying to find the balance between keeping music in her
life while contemplating taking on a double major. “I’m currently undecided, but I definitely am
very ambitious, I think I could do it.” Tuccillo searched out musical groups at Hunter upon
arriving here her freshman year and found Hawkapella, an acapella group that relies solely on
vocals rather than instruments. After one year in Hawkapella, Tuccillo was chosen as the
assistant music director of the group.

Tuccillo, 12, performing at Hampton Idol. Photo credit to Dara Minkin-Tuccillo

Her first performance, at 12 years old, was at a local talent show called Hampton Idol, that
attracts performers through the age of 17. She sang “Rumor Has It” by Adele to hundreds in the crowd. “Oh my God, at that point it was the most terrifying things I had done! My palms were sweating and my voice shook a lot,” she admitted. “It’s crazy to look back on that and see how much progression my voice has gone through. I feel like I’m a different singer.”
Though she didn’t win the competition, Tuccillo was spotted by a manager in the audience who thought she had potential, and went on to record some covers that year with her new manager’s help.

“It was the first taste of studio life,” said Tuccillo, “and it was the coolest feeling in the world.”

Starting then, Tuccillo continuously trained her voice, recorded covers, and repeated the
process, eventually posting covers on social media. When she turned 15, she was contacted by a talent agent from American Idol who asked her to audition for the show privately. In the years
following, Tuccillo would go on to audition for the X Factor, America’s Got Talent and the newest
singing competition, The Four. Tuccillo quickly learned that performing on reality shows don’t
necessarily equal talent.

“It was devastating getting rejected that first time,” she said. “Hearing a ‘no’ from a producer
disappoints you at first, but you come to the realization that, hey, I’m talented and I know it. This
is my motivation to keep going further and prove them wrong.”

At 19, she was given the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Red Bull Arena ahead of a
Major League Soccer event. It was the biggest performance of her life to date, as it was
broadcast on television as well.

“My friends hit me up on social media later saying, ‘I just saw you on TV!’ It honestly felt like a
dream,” Tuccillo said.

“Bad Habit,” a new single that she wrote and recorded, was released on Oct. 26 and took
months of studio time recording verses in separate sections, editing, and going through the
copyright process. It all started, however, with a simple instruction from her producer.
“He said, ‘Bad habit. Now write a song,’” she said with a laugh. “So I started brainstorming, and
it came to me very quickly. Writing in the studio is much different than writing anywhere else.
You feel more in the zone.”

The song has many different layers of instruments and gives off a pop vibe. Tuccillo’s voice
comes in smooth and controlled as she shows off her talents through vocal runs and riffs.
The link to the song on Spotify is here.

“If you’re listening to the song from an outside perspective, it sounds like it’s about one person.
But there’s about six different stories that I’m referencing,” said Tuccillo. “That’s what I love.
There’s so much mystery in the lyrics and the meaning of the song. There’s so much that goes
behind, ‘you’re my bad, bad, bad, bad habit.’”

Tuccillo hopes to be signed by a label, but in the meantime, is continuing to write her own songs
while focusing on getting her education.

“I’m going to work at this so hard until it happens,” she said. “Anything is possible. I’m living by
that.”

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