Emerging solo artist, Angie McMahon, has taken Australian airwaves by storm and is starting to build similar momentum on British soil. Having lived and breathed music since she was a child – playing the piano and trumpet, and singing at school – Angie honed down her skills from a young age. Winning a music competition at just 19, she opened for Bon Jovi in 2013 and has since gone from strength to strength.
Featuring on Spotify’s ‘Women of Fresh Finds’ and crowned the ‘Most Played’ on Australia’s leading music station, this Australian singer-songwriter is fresh from the release of her latest single ‘Keeping Time’. The success of this track is no mean feat, particularly for a self-releaser. We can’t wait to hear more!
Ahead of playing the Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen Of The Road show in New Zealand and amidst working on her debut album we chatted to Angie McMahon about everything from performing at the Royal Albert Hall and the best piece of advice she’d been given.
You won a music competition when you were 19 and opened for Bon Jovi in 2013, what an opportunity! What was that like?
Baptism of fire! Actually, it was pretty relaxed because everything was taken care of by other people, I was just a little baby getting up at the beginning of the evening and playing some of my songs to a slowly filling stadium…it was pretty unreal to be involved in something of that size, I was such a tiny piece of the tour, but it made me feel like my dreams were within reach.
Can you tell us a bit about your recent single ‘Keeping Time’, what is this song about? And what was the creative process behind it?
Similar to ‘Pasta’, I wrote ‘Keeping Time’ coming out of a tricky head space. I wanted to stop being afraid of writing and performing music, and the process of writing this song helped me get there. It was like writing an anthem for myself, a confidence booster. I had some lyrics floating around, I didn’t know where to place them, and then started playing this guitar riff that was different to the other songs I had been writing at the time. It felt fresh and a bit scary to play. Now it feels natural, like the song is a part of me.
Can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from your debut album?
Well, it’s a collection of songs from the last few years, the best ones that I’ve written so far, the stories that came out of my late teens/early twenties. It’s 11 songs, and I have spent a long time on them in the studio with Alex O’Gorman (co-producer) to try to represent myself as best as possible. I’m really proud of what we’ve made. It’s going to be released in early 2019.
Who has inspired your musical career?
So many people along the way…it’s been my family and friends, the music that we’ve listened to together, the artists who I’ve come to idolise (there’s a lot of them), the records that have helped me when I don’t feel okay, the people that I play with and work with…I’m inspired by a lot.
Talking of inspirations, dead or alive, who would be your dream person to collaborate with, and why?
If I could have met and written something with Leonard Cohen, I’d have jumped at that opportunity. I probably wouldn’t have said anything for the whole time over fear of sounding like a nugget brain, but I feel like he had such a powerful grasp on meaning and passion in life, and I would’ve love to have some chats with him.
How was performing at the Royal Albert Hall for your first ever UK show?
Um…terrifying. I have never played in such a grand room. It is so beautiful, but walking onto that stage felt really daunting. I hadn’t played a solo show in months, and I sort of forgot that until I got on stage. I’m really glad I didn’t freeze…I just gave it everything. I’m so grateful that I got to play there and experience that, it was definitely challenging…I think it went okay.
Do you have any other UK show plans for the near future?
Yes… when we release the album I’d love to come and play some more shows, and have a record to give to people! I think it’ll be next year some time. I’ve made some really lovely friends in the UK, both audience and industry, I can’t wait to come back.
And finally, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think lots of different advice has helped me at different times. I definitely needed my dad to tell me, over and over again, that it’s my responsibility to work hard. Also, about a year ago I was playing my first gig with my band, about to go on stage and I told my friend Liv that I was scared of what people would think of me. She said, “f**k that”. I think about that moment a lot. Is that advice? I don’t know….it helped!