Merlo was discovered by Vancouver writer/producer Dan Swinimer at age 17. Swinimer signed Madeline to his production company "Manicdown Productions" and worked with her for close to 2 years before helping her secure a record contract with Open Road Recordings in February 2013. She released her debut single, "Sinking Like a Stone", produced and co-written by Swinimer in February 2014. It charted for twenty weeks on the BillboardCanada Country chart, peaking at number 32. A self-titled extended play was released via Open Road on July 22, 2014. Her single "Honey Jack" became a national hit across Canada, landing her the opening slot on The Road Trip Tour alongside Dean Brody and Paul Brandt. She starred in the feature film Country Crush and also did the singing voice of Sonata Dusk in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. Madeline Merlo is the 2015 CCMA Rising Star and BC CMA Female Vocalist Of The Year. Her debut album, Free Soul, was released on April 29, 2016. It includes the previously-released singles as well as two subsequent top-15 hits, "Whatcha Wanna Do About It" and "War Paint".