Gem And Jam Preview: Maddy O'Neal

Gem And Jam Preview: Maddy O'Neal

I caught up with Maddy O'Neal after her tour with Lettuce to ask her a few questions!
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In less than two months Gem and Jam will be upon us featuring rare mineral vendors, live art installations, various workshops and of course, beautiful music. I got the opportunity to interview Maddy O’Neal to talk about her recent music endeavors and her start with Gem and Jam. Maddy O’Neal is a powerful and melodic artist who combines a lot of different elements from different genres including hip-hop, jazz, and indie, all of which provide her with an intricate sound.

Maddy grew up in a very musical family with both her dad and brother being in a band at one point in their lives. She played piano and cello for a bit but never stuck with it, but in 2010 she was gifted her first ever sound production software by her brother. Maddy pulls inspiration from a lot of different genres, I grew up on rock and roll, blues and indie rock... discovered and dove deeper into electronic music when I moved to Boulder for school back in 2008. Dug deeper into the hip-hop and sampling and digging for vinyl records from the 60's and 70's and discovered new music every day.” The Parallels EP is a Maddy O'Neal's first sample free EP which means all the sounds used were made by her and not samples from a catalog.

Maddy has been a busy woman this year not only going on tour with Lettuce but she also dropped her Parallels EP a few months ago, she played at Lightning in a Bottle and she just played at Red Rocks with Big Gigantic, Big Wild, and Whethan. I asked Maddy O’Neal about her two-week tour with the always funky Lettuce and she said it was, “One of the coolest things about touring with them too was to see how diverse their fan base is. Anywhere from young kids to older couples my parents' age and everyone in between. Was really really cool to open up the show every night and feel the love from all angles.”


Before her tour with Lettuce, Maddy O’Neal performed at Lightning in a Bottle which is similar to Gem and Jam in that it features many different genres of music, workshops, motivational talks, and even cooking lessons. “Lighting in a bottle was such a rad festival. I had heard such amazing things about it over the years and it was amazing to be able to experience it for myself this year. The festival is beautifully put together and has such a unique vibe. Was really awesome to be a part of such an eclectic lineup of music.” I believe that festival exposure will be a big boost to Maddy O’Neals already large fan base in these next few months. It is no doubt that we don’t see large amounts of females in mainstream EDM right now, but Maddy O’Neal is a quickly rising star when it comes to female electronic artists and producers.

Artists such as Anna Lunoe, Mija, Alison Wonderland and Rezz have been leading the forefront of female producers but so much more is coming up each day. “I think we all just continue to push that envelope and support one another. Those ladies are definitely huge inspirations to me and the way that they have dominated in such a big way. Change never happens overnight but it's so cool to see more and more females crushing it out there and inspiring others.” Seeing female artists perform on their stage is an empowering thing knowing how harsh and cutthroat the industry can be. Maddy O’Neal used to be a part of Krooked Drivers but left to do her own thing which has worked out well for her. When I asked what it was like being a solo female musician and she responded in an amazing way.


“Well, my mentality approaching anything in my life is the more knowledge you have the better off you'll be. and If you show up, be professional and know what you're doing, people will treat you no difference whether you are a male or female etc. I don't necessarily categorize myself as being a "Female producer" or try not to at least. I wanted to be respected as an artist in general for the same reasons everyone else is. I definitely have felt this urge that I have to prove myself more everywhere I go because people aren't used to seeing nearly as many female DJ's - and with that, I also feel a responsibility to be a role model to younger women and artists as well. But at the end of the day - respect is earned regardless of who you are and I always approach everything in this industry with that mentality.”


There is no argument to the fact that Gem and Jam is a different breed of a festival. It doesn't adhere to a single genre and music is only one of the many enticing aspects of the festival. Maddy O’Neal first heard about Gem and Jam through a friend and she played for the first time in 2013 and every year since. One of the most exciting parts of Gem and Jam for Maddy is, “a great escape from living in Colorado in the winter and getting to go the sunny Arizona in the middle of the cold. I don't always stick around for full festivals when I play them but Gem and Jam have always been one that I wanted to. Such family vibes.” Although Gem and Jam is awhile away Maddy O’Neal claims to be working on a lot of new music mixed with old-school vibes guaranteeing a great time, and hopefully she will bring out her drummer, Colby Buckler.\

Check out Maddy O'Neal on Facebook , Soundcloud , Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on new music, tour locations and more!

Cover Image Credit: Maddy O'Neal

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Elliot Stabler, We Miss You

Not all heroes wear capes.
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In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. The victims of these vicious felonies are saved by two heroes who do not wear capes: Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson.

The King and Queen of New York, Detectives Benson and Stabler not only save the day but entertain me through weekends and procrastination. If you are a fan of the show you know Elliot Stabler leaves "Law and Order: SVU" after 12 wonderful seasons. It shall go down as one of the saddest days of the 21st century.

Elliot Stabler was not one for easy hearts. He was violent and angry but he cared about the people he loved. You couldn't help but love his many kids and wife at home even though you would never stop hoping that he and Olivia Benson would get together. One of the great things and something I miss most is how Olivia and Elliot worked so well together and their chemistry was bouncing more than Cardi B at Coachella. And although at times it may seem as if maybe there might be a chance you know deep down the greatest love was that of a partner.



I mean, come on. Look how cute. The banter, the sly eye contact, be still my beating heart.

Detective Stabler, I miss your violent outbursts. You were a hot-headed detective who sometimes didn't know your limits. That's why you were such a great character to watch. We never knew how far you would go to help a victim. You were interesting. You loved your job yet struggled with it. You cared about your co-workers yet you were selfish. You wanted to help the victims who had been hurt yet you would hurt others to help them.

You tell em' Stabler!

Can we all take a moment to appreciate a shirtless Elliot Stabler? Although the show is still going strong, you are missed, detective. How could we forget all the good and bad times together?

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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