DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Beth Macari | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists that we have right here in the north east. This time, soulful singer-songwriter Beth Macari tells us about her plans and influences.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

I’m Beth Macari, I’m 22 years old, and I’m a soul singer-songwriter from Newcastle.

What inspired you to first start making music?

It may sound a little cliché, but from as far back as I can remember I was writing lyrics and melodies, even in the playground. It goes without saying that my five or six year old song-writing skills never quite made it on to an EP! I have always wanted to sing and make music. My Mum was always playing CDs in the house and in the car, and I believe that influenced me. I remember she used to play Alanis Morisette and Cheryl Crow a lot. I guess as I got older I explored music a lot more and took to soul as soon as I heard the likes of Aretha and Eva Cassidy! I think the voice is a beautiful and powerful thing, and hearing those big soulful sounds just made me really want to be able sing like that and express myself through music the same way.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

As vocalists, definitely the women of soul, Aretha, Nina Simone, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone… I went through a phase of being a little obsessed with Joss’s Voice; I won my first singing competition when I was 15 singing You Had Me. Outside of that, my family definitely influence and inspire me. Whenever I feel like giving up (not that I actually would!) they encourage and support me, they understand when I want to hibernate, writing music, they don’t question my belief or ability, they are amazing to me. My dad has always been my roadie and number one fan.

How would you describe your sound?

Deep and soulful I hope, but also pretty diverse. Some say it’s a flaw, others say it’s a gift but a lot of my songs are so different to the previous ones; my sound changes and develops regularly. Rather than trying to fit a mould or genre, I write what I feel and make the sounds that I like.

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?

To be honest, I don’t know. Locally, I think there is a great community of people who love music and support local artists of all genre, but personally I think there are not that many music venues for upcoming artists in the North East. It’s a good place to start but I think it’s a little tough reaching out to build a fan base, but I think Newcastle is a great place and all performers fit in!

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Beth Macari?

I have a band of five awesome local musicians, who are just stupidly talented, and we are all really good friends, which I think comes across on stage. I would say my shows are quite personal. I’m not someone that can hide who I am or what I’m feeling, and my music reflects that. We have some pretty sexy, funky numbers, some fun pop songs, and there’s a couple of moments in the set which are really intimate. For example my single Break Me Down is performed just me and my keys player James Clarke; it’s really delicate and the lyrics are pretty deep, so the set tends to go up and down. I hope it reflects the different sides to me as an artist. I like to have people dancing with me one minute, getting down, but then also hopefully hooked on a beautiful melody now and then.

“My dad has always been my roadie and number one fan”

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

I’m playing the Unlimited Festival on Sunday 14th June. I also sing for a really funky band called Nick Pride & The Pimptones we have lots of shows coming up both UK & Europe.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as an artist?

That’s so hard to answer. I am so blessed to have worked with Jane McDonald as her backing vocalist on tour; it’s a great show and I have learned so much from Jane! I think the first time I completed a full song; to me that was an achievement. In my teens I could never finish a song, I had loads of random sections, lyrics and hooks etc, but not a complete song. I don’t read music so I always write the instruments vocally (sounds a little weird but its starts with a vision and usually turns into it). I have to try and explain my weird little voice memos to musicians who probably think I’m a little crazy. It’s difficult, but it works for me.

For example, my song Drunk On Love started with me and my piano. I wrote the melody and the piano part but then had to take that to someone who knew what it was I was playing. Each musical part develops and like all songwriters, we chop and change things, get creative until the song is what you want it to be. My friend Phil Bell (who is also my drummer) really understands the weird little musical terms and sounds I have created; he is a big help. I like to think of him as the translator in the band.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Definitely. I think the music industry is challenging in general, and without management or a record deal, you have to really work hard as an independent artist to get people’s attention, create a fan base, try to expand it and keep their interest. Being a singer-songwriter isn’t just about the creativity and passion for writing, it involves never ending research. I’m learning every day. Two years ago I had 300 people on my Facebook music page and now I have over 2000.

However, it is a great privilege pursuing my dream. I love interacting with my fans through social media; it’s amazing how supportive people are with my progression and I love meeting people at my gigs, making sure they enjoy the Beth Macari show.

You have just got to keep going; don’t lose sight of your passion and why you’re doing it in the first place.

What else have you got planned for the future?

My band and I recently visited France to perform at a blues/soul festival called Le Blues Autour du Zinc, and it was insane! We were a little overwhelmed by the reception we got! Our aim is to definitely try and get more gigs in Europe as it was an incredible experience, and my music seemed to be really appreciated.

I also really want to try and get my music heard in London, there are some great venues down south that id love to experience.

I’m currently working on a new EP called The Girl With The Red Hair, which will be released this summer. There will be a single or two released from that EP, and I hope to do some little UK tours alongside the release of it.

Find out more about Beth Macari and keep up to date with her gigs on her Facebook page.

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