'Songland' Winner Madeline Merlo Becomes First Artist to Have Song Hit Radio After Lady Antebellum Release 'Champagne Night' (Exclusive)

Canadian artist Madeline Merlo became Songland's recent winner when her song "I'll Drink To That" was not only chosen by country music's A-lister trio Lady Antebellum, but has now gone to radio with "Champagne Night." On top of her success on the NBC series, she's also recently released three new songs that create a telling story. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Merlo expressed her gratitude for the national television experience, even saying that moving to Nashville, Tennessee was the "best decision" she's ever made.

"I think that the whole way it all went down was super serendipitous," Merlo explained to PopCulture. "And no, I really wasn't expecting to get on the show and then to get paired with Shane [McAnally] who's literally my hero and one of my favorite songwriters of all time — and then to win, I've just been feeling super grateful for the exposure and the knowledge that I obtained through the whole thing." The 26-year-old adds that she feels as if she also walked away a better writer from her time on the hit show, touting it an "amazing experience."

Is there any other way to describe it when you've become the first songwriter to have their lyrics chosen to go to radio? Absolutely not. When Merlo appeared on Songland, she presented the country music trio, along with McAnally, Ester Dean and Ryan Tedder, with her song "I'll Drink to That." After a little tweaking by adding in more of a reggae feel and switching up a few of the lyrics, it turned into something magical. "Recently they decided to take 'Champagne Night' to radio, which is insane because no song from Songland has done that. And the way they kind of announced that is they did it on Zoom with me and they allowed me to be a part of that. They didn't need to do that, but they really made me feel like such a part of the crew in that moment. It was one of the happiest, most beautiful moments in my life."

Something else Merlo is celebrating is the timely release of her three songs "Kiss Kiss," "If You Never Broke My Heart" and "It Didn't" calling the three tunes "a bit of a heartbreak kind of circle story" being told. Merlo says "Kiss Kiss" is the first part of her story "where you've got a broken heart, and you meet someone else with a broken heart" and then get through the hard times together. The second part of her story is "If You Never Broke My Heart" which is "somewhere in the middle [that's] about closure." She describes this song to carry a lot of emotion, but says that it's finally the place where laughter can break through so that lessons can be learned. As for her third song, "It Didn't" is the closure piece to her heartbreak story, calling it the "light at the end of the tunnel."

While Merlo has a lot to celebrate, her heart is still with her fans who have been struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. The young artist says she's been staying indoors like everyone else but has shockingly found herself rather busy day-to-day and is looking forward to hitting the stage again. For more on Merlo, click here to visit her website.