Written by: Amber Sampson, Staff Writer for Las Vegas Weekly. Original Article can be found here.
Published: Thursday, Mar 9, 2023 at 2:00am
Who: The daughter of two performers, Mecca Madison carries the torch of her family’s musical legacy through song. On Saturday nights, she’s the headlining force behind Virgin Hotels’ swanky ultralounge the Shag Room, a gig she landed after performing at an open mic for fun. M3cca, as she’s known onstage these days, toured with Strip entertainer Matt Goss, playing big rooms like London’s Royal Albert Hall, and between sets at the Shag, she performs at Delilah at the Wynn.
Backstory: M3cca embraced her calling early, eclipsing gospel musicians at talent showcases and debuting on American Idol at 18. On nights when her mother wasn’t onstage, performing Billie Holiday standards, she’d introduce M3cca to her favorite records. “A lot of great music was played in that household,” she remembers. “It was The Isley Brothers. It was Chaka Khan. It was Stevie Wonder.” Those legends and many others built the foundation upon which the singer now stands.
Sound: Onstage, M3cca indulges all of her influences, delivering heady whiffs of jazz one moment and kicking off her heels to the searing riffs of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” the next. “My show consists of live horn, drums, bass and keys ,and we don’t like to do anything like the record. We like to be very particular in arrangements,” she says. That much could also be said about “Stars and Moons,” a Latin pop ballad she wrote and incorporates into her sets.
Life after Idol: M3cca’s brief-but-powerful rendition of Shirley Bassey’s “Big Spender” earned her a ticket to Hollywood on Season 5 of American Idol. “It was such a huge deal,” she remembers, “but being so young, being so raw at that time and invulnerable, I don’t think I was fully prepared and ready for that opportunity.”The singer took a break from music, prioritizing self-care. “I had to learn a lot about self-compassion, self-love, because you’re rejected all the time in this business. But we do it for the love of music,” she says.
Next up: M3cca recently released a cover of The Isley Brothers classic “Footsteps in the Dark.” Catch her at the Shag Room, Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.