Exclusive: Haven Madison on Forging Her Own Path on ‘American Idol’

Haven Madison


Haven Madison accomplished a major achievement on May 1. That was when the 16-year-old heard her name read off by Ryan Seacrest and earned her spot inside the Top 8.

Haven tells Heavy.com that she went into this entire “American Idol” process not expecting much. She said that the opportunity came her way but “I didn’t think I was going to make it.” When saying “it” she was actually referring to the online audition, not even the point that gets aired when singing in front of Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. That’s how little expectations she had going into this journey. Now she finds herself with just seven other singers vying for the season 21 crown.

Haven Madison Has a Famous Dad in Jason Roy

When Haven did get that shot in front of the three judges, she had a familiar face beside her in her father, Jason. With her Dad on the guitar, the Tennessee native stepped into an original of hers called “Fifteen.” The performance won over all of the judges with Richie even blurting out, “Let’s go to the studio right now, let’s go cut that song right now.” Her father looked on in tears before getting up and telling her, “You did so good.”

It was a moment that was far more significant than originally met the eye. Haven says this experience, which began with that performance, is her forging her own path. Her father, Jason Roy, is the lead vocalist for the American Christian band, Building 429. The band has released nine albums and received the Gospel Music Association Dove Award for New Artist of the Year in 2005.

Before “American Idol,” Haven only recalls one other time when she had the chance to become her own performer, and not in the shadow of her father. This occurred last summer during the Hillfest Worship Festival in Southern New Hampshire on July 18, 2022, which she said was “my first time being Haven Madison and not Jason’s daughter.”

Speaking about this shift, Haven said her father is experiencing the change firsthand. She tells Heavy.com that her Dad has been traveling back and forth to watch her each round on the show. He has been getting noticed at the airport, but not in a way he is accustomed to.

“My Dad has been flying in and out of LA and getting stopped at airports as being Haven Madison’s Dad and it’s just so funny,” she said over the phone.

Haven Madison is “Grateful” That She Can Forge Own Path

Haven is the youngest contestant remaining in the Top 8 of “American Idol.” She tells Heavy.com that she has seen major developments vocally and with self-confidence.

“I’ve always felt at home on stage but just being able to take control and being confident in my own choices,” she said. “I think I’ve grown a lot in just learning who Haven is on and off the stage.”

As she has said on the show, there isn’t one particular genre she boxes herself into. Haven classifies herself as a singer-songwriter along the lines of a Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo, two names she mentioned in the interview. Like that pair, she wants to leave listeners feeling something with her “vulnerable songs.”

“I think where I connect most with people is that vulnerability so I think as an artist I like to go in those deep spaces,” she said. “I’ve never claimed to be the greatest singer but I do think I can invoke emotion in my voice so that’s something I prioritize.”

Haven said that her Top 10 performance of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” was her favorite one to date because she “never pictured” herself doing a song like that. She mentioned “The Middle” by Maren Morris and Zedd as another one that was “different” then where she normally goes. With whatever song she goes with, Haven has a goal of “pulling some type of emotion from my voice.”

“That’s the continuity of my music,” she said.

The Top 8 will return to the “American Idol” stage on May 7, which also will see two judges filling in for Perry and Richie. The two will be in England performing at the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla. In their place will be Alannis Morissette and Ed Sheeran.

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