The very first time I heard the name “Madison Beer,” I assumed it was some cheesehead lager, rented only by people who thought Pabst Blue Ribbon was too exotic. This is, of course, right up there with the story of Ariana Grande being the name of a font.
Anyway, Madison Beer is a singer, seventeen years old as of this month; she has a career because for several years she was singing cover versions on YouTube, and apparently Justin Bieber, always on the lookout for younger women, was sufficiently fond of her take on Etta James’ “At Last.” This eventually got her a record deal and a few singles, though no Hot 100 hits as yet.
Weirdly, my own introduction to her contains none of her singing at all. Apparently she’s released the instrumental track from her upcoming single “Out Loud,” designated as “Official Audio.” It’s frightfully catchy. Then again, I come from a time when the instrumental track could just as easily have been the single itself; Barbara Acklin’s limpid vocal was scrubbed off the master for “Am I the Same Girl,” and the remainder, billed as “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited, soared into the Top Ten in 1968. Brunswick, Acklin’s label, eventually got around to releasing the vocal version, which didn’t do so well; most people who remember “Am I the Same Girl” are remembering the 1992 cover by Swing Out Sister.
So I don’t yet know what Madison Beer sounds like on the “Out Loud” single. (There exists a version on which she sings, backed up by piano, which we’re not supposed to know exists.) If instrumentals could chart in this day and age — well, I’d certainly contribute my dollar twenty-nine to the cause for this tune:
And heck, if she’s covered Etta James, I have to figure that she’s okay with, or at least familiar with the concept of, being Barbara Acklin-ed off her record, at least at first.