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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 7 months ago

Foundation graduate fulfills longtime dream

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Foundation Academy alumna Maddie Conover will be going on her second tour this spring with contemporary Christian band Beautiful Mess.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Since Maddie Conover was a little girl, she’s always wanted to be famous. Today, the 19-year-old Foundation Academy alumna is on her way to making that dream come true as she gears up for an upcoming tour with contemporary Christian band Beautiful Mess. 

The two-month tour will run from late March to early June. Conover will be singing lead female vocals during the tour alongside lead male vocalist Tim Erhart. She said the band has about 20 shows booked around the northeast United States, with performances in Massachusetts, New York and more. 

“Syracuse, New York, is like the home base of the tour, so we’re (going to be) in Syracuse a lot,” Conover said. 

Although she’s on her way to making her aspirations of fame a reality, she didn’t take the idea of pursuing a career in music seriously until she took choir at Foundation Academy with Mark Goff, the school’s praise band and vocal director.

“He has such a high standard for kids,” she said. “He pushed me to be the best singer I could be and the best person I could be. (He) just made feel like I could accomplish that, like I could be a singer one day if I wanted to do it as a career.”

Goff said Conover was timid at first and unsure of her abilities.

“After hearing her voice though, I was encouraged to push her forward,” he said. “It took some time, patience, guidance and a lot of different performance experiences for her to gain the confidence she needed. She became a good part singer first and then a strong soloist. 

“However, once she discovered she could really sing, she certainly ‘got the singing bug,’” Goff said. “She had always been a big fan of professional singers, both secular and Christian, so when these things came together, her motivation to sing and learn music was never again an issue.”

Prior to taking the stage, Conover said she struggles with a little stage fright.

“I used to get violently ill,” she said. “I still do, before I perform in front of people. … I still get stage fright, but I just push through it. It’s pretty bad anxiety, but as soon as I get on stage, I get over it. I keep doing it to try and conquer that fear.” 

In addition to singing, Conover also plays piano. Although she’ll be singing in a Christian band this spring, she said she prefers writing secular music.

“I don’t write Christian music,” she said. “I try to, but I’m not very good at it. It’s very hard to do. Adele is kind of like my inspiration for music, so I kind of write the sad love songs. … That’s what I’m good at.

“She’s (Adele) very different; I like that she wasn’t like the norm,” Conover said. “She had her style. She dressed for her body. I loved that she wasn’t like your average pop star. She had her own style, and she totally rocked it.”

Further down the road, Conover hopes to release her own song. She said her biggest dream is to tour the world performing her own music.

“I would like to be the next Adele,” she said.

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