The Power Girls: Big songs from petite musicians
by Cait Auer
Creativity is brightest, fullest, and truest during adolescence. While most school kids fill their days playing games and make believe, eight-year-olds Madeline McGregor and Harmony Smith are pursuing their dreams by composing and performing their own songs in their band, The Power Girls. Sweet, bubbly, and extremely welcoming, the two best friends are just as unique and delightful as their debut 7-track album, Level Up! The duets are free from adulthood’s negative, suppressive influences, and instead entice listeners to revisit their own adventurous, imaginative mentalities. This project’s most poignant statement is uplifting, as the community is invited to listen to young girls singing about having confidence and being fearless young women who value strong friendships, hard work, and the beauty of everyday life.
Both Maddie and Harmony grew up surrounded by music. Harmony received her first pink guitar for Christmas at four years old. Maddie’s stepfather, Tyson Ballew, has been performing music for over a decade and self releases punk, pop, and noise music with his label, Tummy Rock Records. “When Maddie turned eight,” Ballew stated, “she was dedicated to starting a band. I guess that’s the time to start a band!”
The pair met during a play date, and in the midst of getting to know each other they composed their very first song. The girls completely control all aspects of their band, from composing songs to practicing their performances while maintaining their weekly Friday play dates. Although Ballew has a knowledgeable history with the craft, he emphasizes that the girls have full freedom over their project. “I’m taking a backseat approach. This is more of its own thing,” he said. “I just try to help them with getting to things and having opportunities, but as far as the creative process goes, I want them to be more in charge of that. Kids think of things so differently than adults-”
“We do?!” Maddie interjected in awe.
Ballew continued, “They have a great potential of doing something different. They can come up with things in a way that an adult wouldn’t because it’s not a ‘practical’ idea.”
Together, Maddie and Harmony pour their time and effort into their band. Having already performed a live concert, they are excited for their appearance at the upcoming Tummy Fest, a 3-day, all-ages music festival the first weekend of June. When asked about their favorite aspect of making music, Harmony exclaimed, “You can make up a whole new story and adventure in a song! I listen to adventure songs, and I take parts of the songs that I like and come up with new stuff.”
“I like writing about our friendship,” Maddie added, “and I like to think about putting songs together. I usually think about the middle or the end of the song, and Harmony thinks about the beginning of the song. It’s okay if you start in the middle of the song!”
The Power Girls’ songs are very pop influenced; the group draws inspiration and ideas from one aspect of a song and create a fresh, fun rendition from a certain melody or theme. Their story easily encourages musicians of all ages to continue to create music while staying true to their own preferences. “Write songs, but just be yourself!” Harmony said.
Maddie added, “What do you like? Write about that!”