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Student Spotlight: Piper Madison

From Louisville to Los Angeles to Danville, Piper Madison is making her mark on the music world.

Centre student Piper Keesee, known onstage as Piper Madison, has been saturated in music her entire life. Originally from Louisville, Piper and her family moved to Los Angeles in 2011, where she worked as an actress while going to school. In 2020, they moved back to Kentucky.

Piper grew up surrounded by music. Her mother, a banjo player, and her father, a guitar and piano player, encouraged her to pick up an instrument as a child. Years later and with multiple album releases under her belt, Piper is crooning to crowds while working toward a degree in Creative Entrepreneurship.

She first began taking piano lessons in elementary school, and picked up guitar a few years later. But it wasn’t until she began writing songs that she realized music was a passion she was going to pursue for the rest of her life.

When Piper was only 12 years old, one of her friends passed away. She turned to songwriting to help process her grief.

“It was my way of dealing with the emotions of it all, and I found it very therapeutic,” Piper shared. “I kept writing after that.”

Eventually, Piper had enough songs for an album, and brought the idea of recording to her parents. Her father’s support was instant, and he began interning at a music studio to learn sound engineering and production. Soon, a makeshift studio was built in the family’s living room, which eventually became the fully-fledged studio where Piper finished recording her debut album “Who’s Running Your Mind?”

This first album was inspired largely by alt-rock female powerhouse singers, such as Hayley Williams from Paramore. As her music evolved, Piper found herself returning to her earlier musical influences.

“My mom used to play Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and The Judds all the time in the car,” she said. “I was exposed to a lot of bluegrass and country music early on. I find myself circling back to those early influences as my music is shifting into Americana, indie folk and country.”

Piper’s goal is to be a touring artist and performing songwriter, and Centre College is helping her achieve that dream. She is designing her own major at Centre: Creative Entrepreneurship, which is focused on a combination of music and business courses, with supplemental classes in theatre, psychology and creative writing.

Along with her academic pursuits, Piper has also been showcased several times at the Norton Center- performing at pre-show events for audiences from all over Kentucky.

“The Norton Center has provided amazing performance opportunities for me that I am so grateful for,” she said. “You can really feel the passion for performing arts that is infused into each and every show here.”

These opportunities at the Norton Center have given Piper the chance to meet and connect with other people in the music industry, as well as perform pre-shows for big names such as Yo-Yo Ma, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Crystal Gayle.

“It’s a win-win-win,” said Norton Center Executive Director Steve Hoffman. “Piper and her music are showcased in a meaningful way, the Norton Center gets to work with an incredibly talented Centre student, and our community gets to experience Piper’s amazing voice and artistry.”

Piper Madison will be performing at the pre-show for Kathy Mattea and Suzy Boggus- coming to the Norton Center on March 10! The pre-show event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public, and tickets for Kathy & Suzy can be purchased here:

You can find Piper on social media @PiperMadison to keep up with her upcoming shows and new music.

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