As we draw near to the end of 2020, many look for the light in the dark, the peace in the chaos. In times of uncertainty and unease, we hold on to music for comfort. As we sit back, relax and enjoy our favourite tunes, it is easy to forget just how much the music and creative industry have suffered during the pandemic. Releasing music often comes with much pressure, but recording and releasing music during a pandemic provides many more challenges. Talented Scottish singer and songwriter, Amy Macdonald, blessed us with her fifth studio album this October, followed by a powerful music video accompanying the heartfelt track Fire.
Six million album sales, 200+ million Spotify streams and world tours later, Amy Macdonald is back and on fire. Following fifteen years of continued international success, her latest album The Human Demands, is said to be her best album yet. Produced by Jim Abbiss of the Arctic Monkeys/Kasabian fame, Amy reconnects with her alternative roots. The Human Demands displays Amy’s growth as an artist, discussing arduous themes of falling in love, burning bridges, battling depression and growing up.
“Writing songs can be a really cathartic process – it’s a good way to get your emotions out but also in a really productive way, you can turn your bad feelings into a great song, and it can be really helpful because it can help you get over the bad experiences. On the other hand it can be a great way of shouting out about positive experiences and turning it into a nice moment, with a song to celebrate it.”
Transforming her pain to passion, Amy details many emotions we are struggling with. Since emerging with her debut album This Is The Life back in 2007, she felt like a breath of fresh air, a no-nonsense Scottish singer, unafraid to speak her mind. Staying true to who she is, Amy wrote from the heart and presented us with a down-to-earth and honest album, shining a light on struggles many of us face, wrapped up in her catchy pop-rock style. Human Demands marks Amy’s first album in three years, since 2017’s Under The Stars. As it stands, all four of Amy’s previous albums have charted in the Top 10 of the Official Albums Chart.
“I get inspiration from everywhere, everyday life, things that happen to me, my thoughts, my fears, my emotions, stories that my friends tell me, literally anything can be a source of inspiration for me.”
Since her initial record signing aged just 18, Amy Macdonald reflects on her journey of life. Amy has since got married, signed with Ignition Management (home to Oasis, Noel Gallagher and Catfish & the Bottlemen), left Universal for Infectious/BMG and hooked up in the studio with Jim Abbiss (producer of classical records by her childhood heroes Kasabian and the Arctic Monkeys). After all of this, Amy has found herself back to the beginning, back to where it all started. Albeit, with a sense of maturity and understanding.
“I’ve definitely noticed my voice evolve, it is way stronger than it was. A big part of that is actually exercise, I feel that since I’ve got way more physically fit, my voice has got better – it’s stronger, it’s more powerful, it’s easier to sing. With my songwriting I’ve had way more life experience now being in this crazy industry for my entire adult life! It’s given me loads of experiences to draw upon, so I think my writing and voice has grown with me and I’ve gone from strength to strength.”
From heartache to happiness and culled from experience, Amy’s latest album relates to us all. Not usually one for soppy love songs, the opening song and her latest music video drop, Fire, unveils a softer side to Amy Macdonald. Melted by marriage, the track is a heartfelt homage to her husband and remains one of the most romantic pieces ever written by the acoustic guitar-playing indie rocker. Displaying her impressive vocals and impeccable talents, staccato guitar riffs elevate the love song for a pleasant pop-rock feel.
“Every single corner of the industry, there is an agenda, a story or how we can sell this. For me it should just be about the music and the music should sell itself. That’s what I wish for the industry.”
Weathered by the industry’s challenging and demanding environment for fifteen years, it is encouraging to witness an artist remain true to who she is. Now, all these years later, Amy Macdonald is back where she began: with an album that captures the essence of who she is. Turning a new chapter of life, Amy Macdonald channels life’s ups and downs into candid yet catchy records.
Achieving millions of sales, streams and shows, Amy Macdonald is certainly an established industry veteran. At just 33 years old, Amy has enjoyed a decade long career many artists can only dream of. Reflecting on the music industry’s ups and downs, we were eager for her to share some words of advice to all the budding musicians and creative out there.
“Get out and perform live as much as you can – it can be open mic nights, empty pubs when nobody is listening….”