Amy MacDonald’s second album A Curious Thing came out earlier this year, and is a wonderful follow-up to her breakout 2007 record This is the Life. Amy is in town this weekend to appear on Saturday Night with Miriam, and I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat to her earlier today.
Her first album, This is the Life, was an extremely successful record, selling over a million copies and reaching #1 in many European countries. It entered the chart at number two in July 2007 and stayed around the high end for many months before finally reaching number one at the start of 2008. When she found out the album had at least reached the top, she was very much caught unaware: “It was Sunday morning, and I was driving in the car, and my manager rang. I thought it must be important, so I pulled over and took the call.”
Amy MacDonald has had many successful singles, her second, ‘Mr. Rock and Roll’ entered the UK charts at number 12. However, it was her fourth single, ‘This is the Life’, that she’s most attached to: “I’m proud of all my songs, but the one for me that stands out is ‘This is the Life’, that was my biggest hit, and the one that helped get me where I am today.” The follow-up, ‘Run’ was not as well received, but in my opinion it is every bit as good as anything else she has released. She admitted that she does pay attention to sales and chart positions: “Sales are very important, without them I wouldn’t get to do what I love, and it lets you know that you’re doing it right”.
She toured with Paul Weller, and he even worked on the album. Unfortunately, he did not have any sagely advice. “I never actually worked directly with him,” MacDonald admits, “he laid down the guitar tracks, and we put it all together later.” She says that unless artists are gigging together, their “paths rarely cross”, and feels that life on the road can sometimes be difficult. “I had to take two months off to write the new album. Being on the road all the time isn’t very inspiring. I knew I had to take time off if I wanted to write good material.” She does feel that she has learned a lot from the first record, and from touring, and that it has really helped in the process of writing and recording A Curious Thing. Luckily, she felt that “there wasn’t any pressure making this album”, she didn’t feel that she had to live up to anything, and the record label were very easygoing.
MacDonald has many influences: “The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, and the Beach Boys” and would have loved to have written “‘God Only Knows’ or ‘My Way’…two classics”, but feels that she doesn’t have a lot of time on the road to listen to new records. That said, she has “heard good things about the new Arcade Fire album…and will get it when it’s released”. She still has time for a personal life, and is engaged to Partick Thistle footballer Stevie Lovell. She says that in Scotland, “she does get called a WAG alright, but everything I’ve done is on my own merit.”
The rest of 2010 has a lot in store for MacDonald, she has a lot more gigs and press to do for the album, and has just released the third single from the record, ‘This Pretty Face’, which she will undoubtedly play on Saturday Night with Miriam this weekend. She’s also touring around Europe, so don’t rule out a Dublin date in the near future.
Watch Amy MacDonald ‘This Pretty Face’: