In long, sheer brown-green pants, a white tank top draped with layers of gold necklaces, and worn-in sneakers, Matilda Marigolds excitedly enters the lounge area just minutes after opening up the stage Saturday, Sept. 17, at Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her cheeks are flushed in the nearly 90-degree heat, but her eyes and attitude are beaming with positivity. She just wrapped up her first festival performance ever—a festival in which Jack White and Kings Of Leon played on the same stage the night before.
“I’m like not even in my body right now,” Marigolds says. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Marigolds has been drumming since she was 5 years old. It wasn’t long after that she picked up a guitar, teaching herself chords and rhythm. Now at 19 years old and as a sophomore at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Marigolds is diving headfirst into an independent music career—her debut EP Union was released just last year.
Her dad, and best friend, Josh Margolis is a New York-based drummer, producer and engineer, and her earliest memories are of helping him set up before shows and falling asleep backstage. Music is ingrained in her, but it was never forced upon her.
“I would be sitting there and I would feel the kick drum in my chest, and it was and still is comforting for me,” Marigolds says.
In many ways, her dad is the reason she got so involved with music. It was always around or even in her DNA. She recalls hearing The Beatles almost daily and having the urge to create sound in her own way.
Marigolds, who’s known as NYC’s No. 1 Cowgirl, has a sound that reflects today’s music. It blends her love for classic rock and a bit of modern bedroom pop, and it even hints at country-inspired chords. In short, her music is a melting pot of genres—and she’s even learned to produce and mix the music herself.
In the midst of the pandemic, Marigolds’ dad took the time to teach her to make her music truly her own. Despite that, her EP Union was a culmination of working with friends and family. Marigolds says it’s rewarding to do everything on her own, but it’s a humbling experience to create something so vulnerable with the people she loves.
She doesn’t write about anyone but herself, though, making her songs an excruciatingly personal endeavor. Before releasing Union, she had a rational fear of being misunderstood but has come to realize that however someone might perceive her truth is beautiful in its own way.
“The most beautiful thing about music is the way that consumers view it and what they personally take away from it,” Marigolds says. “I felt a sense of release once the music was out, after holding it so close to my chest. Because I no longer had this responsibility. It’s gone. It’s no longer mine.”
With her first festival performance under her belt, Marigolds says she’s working on new music, while also being a full-time student. For her, the studio is a sacred place, and the process of working on an album this time feels different. She knows more on the production side, and has a better understanding of how she wants her music to sound. It’s been quite empowering, she says.
Giving in to the vulnerability of being a musician in the limelight of social media, Marigolds hopes her music can help others the way it’s helped her. She’d also like to break the barriers of the power complex in the music industry—hoping to display that musicians are humans too.
“For me, that would just be more self aware,” Marigolds says. “I’m not perfect.”
Start with Marigolds’ song Leroy, and you might hear poppy rhythms backed by instrumental layers.
Pay attention to how she uses her voice to add her own touch of alternative twang. She doesn’t seem to stay in the same octave for too long.
Keep up with Matilda Marigolds and her music here.
Kendall Polidori is The Rockhound, Luckbox’s resident rock critic. Follow her reviews on Instagram and Twitter @rockhoundlb.