Small Town Girl Goes To Nashville

Annie Rhomberg

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Maddy Steen/ Photo by Reed Photography

By Annie Rhomberg

Two hundred coveted spots. Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, has one of the most prestigious songwriting programs in the country, guiding creative young talent in songwriting principles and music theory. Hopeful songwriters from all over the country send in audition videos of two original songs and Belmont exclusively selects only 200 students each year. Statistically, it is highly improbable that an incoming freshman would get into the program at all. However, small-town Iowa girl, Maddy Steen, conquered the odds and was selected for the songwriting program. This is an outstanding accomplishment and it proves that Steen’s hard work and determination throughout the years has paid off. Get her autograph while you can, because Maddy Steen is starting her dream in Nashville.

Ever since she was a kid, Steen has loved music and has incorporated it into her life. She is enrolled in band, orchestra, and choir, and she can also play six different instruments. She writes her songs with guitar accompaniment and plays along as she sings. Steen began writing songs about four years ago and describes songwriting as a way to become much closer with her family and friends. “I portray things in my music that I have trouble saying out loud. Music makes it easier for everyone to understand and connect with each other and I love how it brings people together,” said Steen.

Steen has had many people in her life that have been her inspiration. Her mom, dad, friends, and other family have given her the support and encouragement she needed to chase this big dream. She says, “My biggest inspiration would have to be my grandma, Sue Bader, who passed away recently from lung cancer. She was such a huge part of my life.”  Every day Steen strives to make her grandma proud. “It was actually for her that I wrote my first song, right after she was diagnosed with cancer. She really enjoyed listening to me sing and was my biggest fan. She had a very interesting life, so a lot of my ideas for songs came from stories she told me about her younger years.”

After her grandma’s diagnosis, Steen channeled her pain and grief into her songwriting. “I wrote ‘Unending Love’ and pulled in some stories she had told me about other hard times in her life, and how God had been with her the whole time.”


“My strength will lift you up above the clouds
 My spirit guides you through unholy crowds
 I’ll never leave you this I swear, I vow
 My unending love won’t fail you now”


When visiting, Steen would often pull out her guitar and just sing her to grandma. Her songs became an inseparable link between the two of them. She described that writing songs for her grandma and then singing those songs to her became a therapy session for both of them. It really helped Steen to get through the tough times and learn to see the silver lining of every situation.

Steen is enrolled at Belmont University, and this fall will begin her journey in their prestigious songwriting program. She is a great example of someone who dreamed big and worked so hard to achieve her dream.


Maddy Steen/ Photo by Reed Photography

“Unending Love”

By Maddy Steen

Nowhere else to turn
No place left to hide
I’m standing on the edge
Unable to fly
You take my hand and say
Do not be afraid
Spread your wings and fly
Child follow me

My strength will lift you up above the clouds
My spirit guides you through unholy crowds
I’ll never leave you this I swear, I vow
My unending love won’t fail you now

One night it hit me hard
I fell to my knees
You simply smiled and said
There’s no need to plea
I will always be there
I am always with thee
So don’t look at the storm
Child look at me


Child look at me
Look at me
Don’t be afraid
Child look at me
Not the storm, oh no
Just look at me
Look at me


Listen to Maddy sing two of her original songs: