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Amy Macdonald PDF Print E-mail
Written by george   
28 10 2010
ImageAfter shooting to fame in 2007 with her debut album This is The Life alongside a string of singles hitting the charts such as Mr Rock and Roll, Amy McDonald is one the road again with her second album, A Curious Thing. We caught up with her before her Newcastle Academy show recently in a crappy little dressing room. Thankfully she looked resplendent in red tights and sported a cute smile, but before I talk anymore shit here's the Q&A...

How's the tour going?

Good! Good so far. We've had a few dates and they've all gone really well.

Have you been to Europe already?

In Europe the tour is on a much bigger scale, the venues are like 15,000 capacities because I've had so much support in Europe so it's like a whole different thing. So we just thought we may as well get all the guys over that we're going to be doing it with when we get to Europe next month and do it here so it's the same people throughout the whole thing

How old were you when you first decided to pick the guitar up? What was your driving force behind it?

Erm, I was about 12 and it was purely from going to the T In The Park festival, seeing all the bands play and thinking I'd love to be able to play the guitar myself, so I started to teach myself after that.

What was the first chord you mastered?

Oh, I can't remember!

Who were your local heroes?

Bands like Travis, good Scottish bands who had a lot of support back home, I liked all of them and they kind of inspired me to start writing songs.

There are quite a lot of female vocalists about now, how do you make sure you stand out?

I don't care about that side of things, it doesn't feel like a competition and I think there's totally room for everyone and out of everyone I think I'm probably one of the only people that writes my own songs, everyone else co-writes and even that makes you a bit different.

Yeah, you see loads of singers in interviews say "for this second album, I've written some of my own songs" and I'm always really sceptical about whether they actually have

Well when you actually look at the song writing credits it might be their name along with ten other names and you just think, knowing what the industry is like, were these people even involved at all.

It's sort of a PR spin, isn't? Like one of my mates wrote four songs for Mark Owen, and he (Mark) came out with this stuff saying he'd wrote this new album myself, but I knew he hadn't.

Yeah, it's the same with a lot of people, even with a lot of people the public would think had written their own songs that most of the time they haven't.

You shot to fame pretty quickly, but the music business is pretty fickle, have you thought about how you can make a long career out of it?

I don't think you can think about that, like you said it is fickle and in this industry you never know what's happening from one day to the next and so I don't think you can really plan for the future you know, you just need to take each day as it comes and try your best and nobody else can really ask anymore of you.

I don't know if you're a big football fan but you're from Glasgow, so Celtic or Rangers?

It's Rangers, but there are more teams in Glasgow then Celtic and Rangers! I have been a Rangers fan all my life, so I was very happy this afternoon as they beat Celtic!

Boo, I like Celtic! I was going to ask if you had the match on anywhere! I thought you might have said a diplomatic answer like St. Mirren

Well, there's Partick Thistle and loads of teams in the central belt, I think people just see the big two and think that's it, but there are loads of teams in Glasgow.

Who's your best mate in the music industry?

I don't really have any to be honest. I think a lot of people think that you know everyone and everyone's out partying and whatever together, but that doesn't really happen. I never cross pass with any other artists at all because everyone is always busy doing their own thing and you meet loads of people through support bands and things like that, but you never really have any sort of lasting relationships with anyone because everyone is so busy and all over the place. So my best mate is probably my band and my crew and the people I tour with day in and day out.

That's another thing I was going to ask, is it the band you've always had?

We changed slightly with this album purely because people have to go and take work, when I'm away writing songs they can't just sit and not be earning any money. So a few of them the last time round they had a project, they were in their own band and they started to do something with that, but everyone's come through someone else, we're all very close and we all know each other.


How do you write your songs? Do you go hiding anywhere or...?

I don't have time to be honest! I wrote the whole of this album in two months and then recorded it at the same time. So I'd love to have time to go to the middle of nowhere and do nothing but there's no such luxury, I've just got to get on and do it, and I do it mainly when I'm at home.

Where would you go if you could choose somewhere?

The problem is I'd go somewhere and not write songs! I'd just treat it like a holiday! Somewhere like Dubai, where it's nice and hot and I can relax.

So not the Highlands then?

No, way too cold! (laughs)

Do you generally pick up your guitar when you're emotional and that's when the best songs come out? Or do you think "I'm going to spend this time writing songs"?

Never. I could never section time off to write songs because it feels completely unnatural to me, I need to have something that inspires me, being emotional can inspire you, being upset can make you think and can make you come up with a good song and that kinda happens to me sometimes but I would never sit down and say "I am going to write songs" because it just doesn't work for me. For some people it can, but for me it just doesn't, I just need to have the inspiration.

So it's just you and the acoustic guitar? You don't need the whole band together?

No, I write everything just by myself on a guitar.

It's quite portable then?

Yeah, but I would never write when I'm on tour, it's something that, it's not particularly bad, but you travel on a bus all night and then you see a dressing room and all venues tend to look the same, there's nothing that's really that inspiring, so I do tend to wait till I'm at home.

Do you prefer studio work to live then?

No, live is the best. It's good when you write a song and feel excited by it and then when you record it in the studio and get the band to add all their bits it's great hearing it come together, but nothing is ever 100% till you're on stage and you have everyone there and a great audience in front of you.

You must have a lot of acoustic guitars then, which is your favourite and why?

I have a love hate relationship with my guitars. The ones I use on stage are rubbish, and I wouldn't choose to use them but it's just what we've got. I never had an acoustic guitar and thought "wow", I'm not that kind of person, I think a guitar is a guitar, there's obviously ones that sound better than others and ones that are more expensive than others but the guitar I have at home is like a 50 piece of rubbish and I wrote my whole album on that and that's fine for me.

As an attractive, female singer, do you ever feel the pressure to come with the goods because you're the focus of the whole thing?

I think there's a lot more pressure doing it on your own because it is just you but I wouldn't let anyone put me under any pressure, I'm very strong and determined and fortunately nobody has ever put me under any pressure. I think that when you do everything yourself you need a bit of time and it would just be pointless to put me under pressure because I'm not going to come up with anything. I've been fortunate that the people I work with, my label, my managers, everyone, really respects the position I'm in and they just leave me to get on with things.

Brilliant. That's it thanks, have a great show.

No problem, thank you.


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