The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘You Might Not Like Her’ but Nashville adores Maddie Zahm

Maddie Zahm created a safe, social atmosphere during trying times with her LGBTQ+ inspired lyrics.
Sara West
Maddie Zahm belts into a microphone, as photographed on March 27, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Usually, when I get ready for a concert, there is excitement and anticipation, but Monday was a heavy day for Nashville. As the country was praying and mourning the lives that were lost at The Covenant School, Maddie Zahm showed up for her fans with emotional support and a safe atmosphere filled with compassion and acceptance. 

Corinne Savage, better known as corook, began the show with a techno sound and a microphone that added a squeaky effect to their voice. They performed all original songs with many instruments, like a kazoo, and amusing sound effects, including bird noises. The simple arrangements and cute atmosphere blended seamlessly with the banter between the drummer and the guitarist. Corook was actively engaging with the audience in between songs, especially during their song “Snakes.” The song’s premise is about not liking snakes, and no deeper meaning was mentioned. When asking the crowd if anyone was a snake lover, the lyrics were changed to “I love snakes.” Corook broke down the audience and artist barrier during their set with shining charisma and hysterical lyrics.

Corook and their band members perform together, as photographed on March 27, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
(Sara West)

After the stage set-up was adjusted for Zahm’s set, “Pocket Bible” was the first song played over the speakers while the band slowly trickled onto the stage. When Zahm took the stage, the crowd belted out the rest of the song. After an introduction, Zahm acknowledged the shooting by taking a moment of silence for those affected by the tragedy. She was very respectful and made her concert a safe space for everyone in attendance. 

Maddie Zahm originally rose to fame on TikTok with her next song, “Fat Funny Friend,” which gives representation to anyone that has ever disliked or criticized their own body. Personally, it was the song I was most excited to belt to and Zahm’s vocals were strong throughout the song and the entire set. Zahm compared herself to that one girl on the plane that doesn’t stop talking and tells her whole life to any and everyone. Zahm then announced that she is releasing an album soon, which the crowd was overjoyed to hear.

Maddie Zahm sings into a microphone, as photographed on March 27, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
(Sara West)

During the small breaks between songs, Zahm explained the meanings of the songs she was about to sing. A predominant theme of her recent music was her coming out to her family and how that affected her life and love for herself. When describing the song “Inevitable,” she related the lyrics to the over-romanticizing of relationships and friendships. Zahm joked about the dramatic lyrics of the songs, but sometimes people need a little dramatic belting in their lives. For the next song “Blindspot,” Zahm was honest about her struggle to remember the second verse and joked about messing up the lyrics throughout the tour. Although she may have missed a few words, her vocals and the acoustic guitar rendition had all the emotions the song needed. With her next song “Dani,” Zahm explained how her friendship in high school was more than just a friendship, and she performed the song with just her voice and the keyboardist. 

The small moments in the concert with just one instrument and storytelling aspects of the lyrics were intimate and personal. The audience was constantly involved and it felt like she was talking to the crowd like they were all old friends catching up — not complete strangers. 

Three years ago, Zahm was not an artist but a worship leader in Idaho. When accepting the truth about her sexuality, Zahm was faced with backlash from her community. For her, it was a really difficult transition from being a trusted worship leader to being questioned about her love for God. Her song “If It’s Not God” beautifully touched upon that experience. 

The next song, “Bedroom,” revolved around her current partner and how they broke up before they even started dating. 

The second to last song of the night was “Where Do All The Good Kids Go” which was about Zahm moving from a religion-focused community to the huge world of Los Angeles. 

The concert ended with “STEP ON ME,” Zahm’s newest single that dropped this year. After Zahm and the band left the stage, the crowd chanted Zahm’s name. Usually, encores are expected in concerts, so normally people just wait, but this audience screamed Zahm’s name. “You Might Not Like Her” rang throughout the room and everyone was belting and crying — even Zahm was emotional during the final song. 

Maddie Zahm was the perfect example of humility and humbleness during the show, continuing to thank the crowd for its love and support. She created a safe space for everyone which was needed on such a tragic day. Her music was able to bring a room of strangers together and represent the LGBTQ+ community in an honest way. Her sweet personality was a breath of fresh air and her ability to connect with an audience is unmatched. This concert provided healing and no matter an individual’s background, Zahm’s lyrics applied to everyone.

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About the Contributors
Chloe Pryor
Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Pryor (‘26) is from Fort Smith, Ark., and is double majoring in psychology and communications studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can fund her reading, drawing or running late for class. You can reach her at [email protected].
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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