A&E

Alumna Madalyn McHugh and sister form music duo


Music duo Madalyn (left) and Mackenzie (right) McHugh. Courtesy Photo | Madalyn McHugh

SVSU Alum Madalyn McHugh and her younger sister Mackenzie McHugh recently formed a pop duo called McHugh Girl.

Madalyn McHugh graduated in 2017 with a bachelor of art in music and Mackenzie McHugh graduated in the fall of 2020.

“We have been singing together since we were kids,” Madalyn said. “We all grew up singing and performing music.”

Their father and all their siblings were in a family band that performed Christian gospel music.

“Mackenzie and I have both had our individual goals and dreams, but our biggest one was been to be a duo together; it has been a dream forever,” Madalyn said. “We figured it was a good time in both of our lives since we both have finished school, and after we have pursued our own personal dreams, it was the time to start.”

After the release of their first single, “Ex- Boyfriend,” last summer, the sisters have been working on more music.

“In the future we are going to continue to put out music,” Madalyn said. “We have a couple of bands lined up that we’re going to open for.”

The sisters said they are very close and have been there for each other through everything.

They both have different strengths that make it effortless to work together, Madalyn explained.

“We are very similar yet very different,” she said. “Mackenzie has a very good business mind … and she’s also the writer.”

Mackenzie McHugh has been writing music since she was 12–years–old.

“She has hundreds of songs and we’re just starting to put them out,” Madalyn said. “The songs are very personal, but she has a very unique way of making it so anyone can hear and relate to it.”

McHugh Girl has performed locally and at smaller events.

“The biggest thing we have done this far has been that we have opened for Kevin Bacon and his brother in Bay City,” Madalyn said.

She has had about 10 years of experience in the music industry but said she still learns more and more each day.

“You just learn so much over the years and make connections and you ask questions,” she said. “Fortunately, I have met a lot of people who connect me to the right people. I have a lot of help and support to lead me in the right direction.”

The song recording process was very unconventional, since they could not do in-person sessions due to the pandemic.

Recording entailed a lot of back and forth communication via demos recorded on voice memos and phone calls.

“It was kind of a long process, but we’re really happy with how it turned out,” Madalyn said.

She advised that anyone who wants to pursue a career they’re passionate about to never give up.

“Take every opportunity you can, perform as often as possible, create your own opportunities, continue to learn and expand your own knowledge,” she said. “Learn new skills; things that challenge you to grow are always beneficial. Trust yourself.”

Madalyn also recommended asking mentors for help.

“I was fortunate enough at SVSU to have amazing mentors and amazing professors throughout my college experience,” she said. “They’re willing to chat and willing to sit down with you.”

Her notable mentors included professors David Rzeszutek and Kevin Simons.

“Madalyn’s first theatrical SVSU mainstage show was during the production of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ that I directed,” Rzeszutek said. “I’m happy to see that she is still pursuing her music career. She has a gift that truly needs to be shared.”

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