Discovering new music is very easy these days. However, discovering new music that immediately hits you like a pile of bricks and leaves a long-lasting impression is not as simple. I was recently introduced to a singer/songwriter named Brian Mackey, who just had an incredible year with the success of his single “Are You Listening,” and more. Although he is new to me, he is a very established artist, having massive radio success, iHeartRadio performances, and has even been on a major billboard in Times Square (goals, to say the least).
With a new single and a breakout career on the horizon, I am glad I got to learn a little bit more about Brian during this artist spotlight feature. Check this out!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Brian! Looking through your accomplishments, it seems this past year has been an awesome one for you!
It’s great to be included on here, thanks for having me! Yeah, it’s been lots of changes, and rearranging. Shooting videos, and recording songs, so as long as it’s busy, I’m fine with that. J
Let’s talk about the major success of your last single “Are You Listening.” I absolutely love this song. Although I am new to it, I keep putting it back on. Can you tell us a little bit about the motivation behind this track?
Thanks! The motivation for it was really a sad one. Someone close to me in my life was in the process of dying of cancer, and I had just gotten back from the hospital, I sat on the couch, the moon came through the window, and these are all just questions I had for the person that I knew was going to pass…
So it was sort of therapy for me. And each time I sing it live, it brings me back to that place, and sometimes I have to snap out of it, as I don’t want to get too emotional…
Wow, I had no idea it was so deep. I am sorry you went through that, but I am sure that the message can really help others in the process. Of course, we need to fast forward to your newest single, “Learn To Be.” I saw your performance on Good Day New York, and you sounded amazing. How has the reaction to the new song been thus far?
You were up that early? I thought I was the only one up. J
It was a lot of fun, the reaction has been really positive. It’s quite a different vibe than my previous stuff, and it’s definitely more electronic oriented, which I like. All styles of music are in my head, so it’s good to explore and let things out—it makes things interesting and you never really know what is going to come of it.
New York is obviously a huge place for music; was it hard adapting to the Big Apple after being born in the South?
Actually no, the people are really receptive and really honest in what they like and dislike. I like that. And it’s more of a state of mind than character differences between the North and South. One is always in a hurry because it’s crowded and someone will take your spot, and the other is more laid back because it’s a slower pace. And if someone tries to take your spot, chances are they will give it back to you anyway because hey—they aren’t really in a rush, so it’s all good!
I am glad to hear that! From an artist standpoint, would you say you enjoy the studio or live performances more?
It depends on how the sound is on stage. If you got a really great sound, then a live performance is always more energetic and fun. The studio can be sterile and lacks the spilled beer smell, unless the producer is a slob, then it feels like a live performance…
But I would definitely say from a creative standpoint, the studio allows you the time to sit with things more, but a live performance doesn’t give you that time and forces you into doing things you wouldn’t normally do, like coming up with parts on the fly because you want to keep things interesting. (Or totally take a left turn and piss every member in the band off which is always fun… Just kidding. J)
Ha, love that. If you had to describe your music to a new listener, how would you do so?
I’ve always been bad at describing something that I’m doing, because it puts me in the position of doing someone’s thinking for them or telling them how to feel about it. Or advertising it in a way where I’m trying to sell myself to someone. But for the sake of the question (which they are great questions by the way), I would have to say it’s electro-pop-folk with a tinge of alternative indie.
Great description. What are your plans for the summer? Can we catch you on the road, more singles, what gives?
I have a video for the single “Learn To Be,” which was filmed in Argentina, so that will be dropping in about a week or so. I have a few local shows—I’ll be at the City Winery on July 9, and in the studio this summer finishing up some singles. Then off to Europe in October/November on a 10-city tour opening for Ron Pope—that should be fun, since I’m jonesing to drive on the Autobahn again! Also, another single will be coming out around that time with another awesome video, with portions of it shot underwater, which is cool.
You can see Brian Mackey at City Winery in New York City on July 9. To learn more about him and his blossoming career, be sure to check out his official website at brianmackeymusic.com.