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Interview with Brian Mackey

Interview with Brian Mackey

Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about
you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music
you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
I think this is a good question. Usually asking someone to describe
themselves is like asking a plate of food how they taste. However
there could be plenty of critics who will taste the food and tell you
their feelings on it, but since my music is not food and you can’t
taste it, from what I hear it’s a semi melancholy mix of honest
musicianship and organic farm raised optimism.
What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Latest CD is called “Broken Heartstrings” which has the track
“Are You Listening” on it. It seems to be doing really well
in the States as well as here in Europe. The album has a slightly
sharper departure from my earlier work but still somehow ties into it
in an ethereal manner.
How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind
the name?
The title of the CD was brought about by the old phrase “Tugging
at your heartstrings” which means that someone is trying to
persuade your heart to go in a direction which may or may not be in
your best interest. I felt that it would be fitting to name it
“Broken Heartstrings” because I was confident in the fact
of, here’s my album, this is what I do, hence breaking ties with
convention and steering into invention.
Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding
the songs for your CD?
Yes, the songs are written and composed by myself unless otherwise
stated. A lot of the compositions are thought out on either piano or
guitar and shown to my session players who are close friends also.
Sometimes rewrites are necessary because there are so many additional
great ideas from the guys.
Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is
special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
The current single “Are You Listening” has taken on a life
of its own. When I wrote the song it was during a very dark time for
me and by playing it, it was a release. Until recently the song was
not known to Europe but due to “Let’s Player”, Gronkh, who used
it in the Sony PS4 “Until Dawn” game review, people were asking
“Who is the guy singing the song at the end?” So I really have
Gronkh to thank for introducing the song to an audience who probably
should never have heard it. And for that I’m truly grateful.
What is your favourite song among all the songs you have recorded
and what’s the story behind it?
That’s a hard one to answer because each one had its monument during
the process of recording to be a favourite. However in terms of a
song that had the most emotional currency going into the studio I
would say that “Florida” comes out on top. The song describes my
life in Florida, the desperation of family circumstances and my
overall feeling. Not only the state of mind, but also the state in
which I was living, and I feel it was recorded to express these
feelings perfectly.
How much creative control do you have over your music?
I try to maintain total control over the creative process but also
leave plenty of room for musicians that play with me. There are
always great sources of ideas, and they really help shape the vision.
Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been
affected by your music?
Yes, there was a woman in Iowa whose son had passed away suddenly
and tragically, and she always finds comfort in the song “Sunshower”
off of the “Honest Love People”. And every now and then she will
message me on Facebook or tag me on her page and will recite some of
the lyrics from it. It makes me feel sad that this happened to her
but a little more comforted that she finds comfort in something that
I made. It’s like if you were to make a quilt and give it to someone
who really needed to get warm. I hope the quilt make can keep her
Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
I’m inspired by so many artists of different genres and time periods
so I’ll name I few: Billy Joel, Elton John, Queen, Jim Croce, Roberta
Flack, the Beatles & Marvin Gaye.
As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring,
interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favourite activity?
I’d have to say that all of these but at different times. They could
be either really great or ridiculously hard, but to put into context
with other occupations it’s not all that difficult. I feel really
grateful to have the opportunity to do it.
When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
I like to hang out with my dog and cat. My dog is the perfect eating
partner he’s six months old, a cocker spaniel and he eats like a
piranha and so do I.
Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International

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