Spotlight Interview With Mary McGuinness
Mary McGuinness has been releasing a series of singles throughout 2020 and the most recent is a gorgeous Americana ballad with in incredibly passionate showcase of vocals and an array of tasteful southern instrumentation.
"If" is is like floating through a dream and watching everything roll by you just underneath your feet.
The song features some amazing lap steel and guitar work along with a full atmosphere that encompasses the air around you as you get whisked away into the songs sound.
An emotional and personal feeling track, "If" is a cover of a song by Bread but it seems like it was pulled from her own life experience.
Of course, this is not her first rodeo. Mary McGuinness has been releasing several singles leading up to her full length album dropped earlier this year called Prodigal. The album displays a multitude of sides and songwriting styles from McGuinness and most have the ability to tug at your heart strings with the greatest of ease.
"If" is the latest and one of the most impactful singles from the songwriter and we wanted to have a chat with her about where this came from and more.
RAG: Okay let's start with "If". This song feels very personal and was very beautifully done and passionately performed. Where did this song come from?
Mary: Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it. I think I've been waiting my whole life to cover this track!
This is a cover of the Bread song "IF" written by David Gates in 1971. He said he wrote it at the kitchen table one night after dinner, after his family went to bed. When he was done, he thought to himself that it was the best song he'd ever written or would ever write.
I remember sitting in the back seat of my Grandma's green Nova and hearing this on the radio. It's just one of those songs I always had to stop what I was doing and listen. It's so beautiful.
RAG: I hear Americana and Country styles undertones in this track. What bands or artists really influenced you? Who changed you?
Mary: So many bands and artists have influenced me, we all stand on the shoulders of those musicians who have been such innovators. The Beatles, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, The Eagles, Gram Parsons....But the artist who influenced me the most vocally, who I've listened to a million times to say the least, is Linda Ronstadt. I never tire of her. I think she is finally getting the credit she deserves for being such a groundbreaker-bringing folk, rock, and country together and later other genres. Linda makes it all look effortless. She was incredible at spotting unknown, talented songwriters and championed and helped the careers of many.
RAG: How did all of this start for you?
Mary: My high school music teacher, called the house and "blackmailed" me , along with my Grandparents, into being in the school musical. If I wasn't in the school musical I couldn't run track. It worked! Though the last thing I wanted to do was sing on stage in public, it turned out to be a real turning point in my life. I had grown up singing in my church choir and that was about it. After that, she also helped me get a scholarship to study in NY on saturdays. Then I wound up going to Manhattan School of Music and studying classical music. I stayed in touch with her, and will always be incredibly grateful for how she changed my life and believed in me.
RAG: Will you be focusing on performing live when the time comes? Did you used to perform a lot?
Mary: Yes I can't wait to perform live again. This has been a difficult time for everyone, in different ways. The connection with the audience is what musicians all live for!
I've performed first as a classical singer, then I was on Broadway for a year and half in NY, and I've toured many times supporting other artists under another project. This year I released my record, "Prodigal" in May. Looking forward to being with other musicians, and audiences again!
RAG: What does someone like you do when you're NOT working on music?
Mary: I love to bake and cook, I make macramé so I have macramé plant hangers all over the house-especially after this quarantine! I think I made over 25 of them during this time and sent to friends. I've also studied astrology for many years, and practice yoga. I love hiking with my two rescue dogs and being in nature as much as possible.
RAG: What kind of advice would you give other aspiring artists out there just trying to get heard?
Mary: Don't equate whatever product you're putting out there as an artist with your self worth as a person. It takes a lot of courage to put art out into the world.
RAG: What's next for you as an artist?
Mary: I'm writing, writing, writing...and looking forward to being on the other side of this thing!
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to your fans?
Mary: Hang in there, we are all in this together...Stay safe, happy, and well!
Happy Holidays and I'm excited to have a lot of new music coming for you in 2021!