At age 18, reluctant songbird Skeldon of Burrillville makes strides as a songwriter

Maddie Skeldon will be at Elayna's on Saturday

BURRILLVILLE – Maddie Skeldon, 18, began taking piano lessons at age five after ballet classes turned out to be a bust.

“My parents signed me up for ballet, and that was probably not one of their best decisions,” she recalled, laughing.

She didn’t enjoy the dancing, but she loved the music and asked her parents, Michael and Sonia Skeldon, for lessons. Then at age 13, she started to play the guitar.

During the Covid quarantine, she started writing original songs and singing. She has written over a dozen original songs, she said.

Now, the Pascoag resident is releasing three new songs while balancing playing live gigs, working 30 hours-a-week and playing in the All-State Senior Classical Guitar Ensemble with the RI Music Education Association. The Beacon Charter High School for the Arts student is also spending her senior year of high school taking classes at CCRI.

“I’m getting my gen eds done at CCRI so I can graduate college in three years,” she said. “Tuition is expensive.”

Skeldon describes her music as, “acoustic, personal, a little bit sad but not depressing, more mellow.” She lists The Beatles and Queen as influences, and says her current favorites include Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.

Skeldon writes songs about, “friends and family, and when I was 15, 16 and hadn’t really gone through anything, I got ideas from TV and media.” One of her favorite songs is “Asleep,” which she wrote for a school English project that she had been putting off, she said. The day before it was due, she asked for and received permission to write a song instead of a paper.

“The theme was revenge,” she said. “I wrote it about a murder based on Hamlet.”

In January, Skeldon released a song called, “I’ll Stay,” that she wrote over the summer, and on Friday, March 10, she will release an original song called, “Lost.” The tunes are among more than a dozen single she’s released in the past year.

But before “Lost,” on Friday, Feb. 10, she said she’ll release a song she said has special meaning to her called, “A Dream.”

“My dad’s best friend wrote the lyrics a couple of years ago,” she said.

He gave the song to Skeldon to write the music.

“He recently passed away,” she said.

Skeldon has some upcoming live performances, the next one of which is February 18 at The Broken Crust in Putnam, Conn. She admits she still gets nervous playing live shows.

“Singing is a little new for me. I don’t have the confidence yet,” she said. “It’s not easy, but I just tell myself once I get up there I’ll be okay. My friends and family support me, and I’ve been doing recitals since I was little.”

That’s partly why you won’t see her auditioning for The Voice anytime soon, she said.

“I would enter a songwriting contest, but I don’t consider myself a singer,” she said. “I’m more into writing [music].”

Skeldon plans to attend Hofstra University, where she received a scholarship, and to study music business.

“I want to manage and market other artists because I’m good at math,” she said. “Even though I write [songs] I’m more of a math person.”

But she does have a dream job too.

“The, ‘dream dream,’ is just writing music all of the time,” she said.

Skeldon’s music can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, social media or her website

Editor’s note: An original version of this article stated that the artist’s recent releases were her first – due to a misinterpretation between the writer and editor. We apologize for the error.

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