I have been following Beth McCarthy for a while…
and can see how she has blossomed as a songwriter! I have been talking with her about the track, Shame, and the story behind it; what it was like filming its video and whether more singles/material will come before the end of this year.
McCarthy talks about her music idols and albums that hit her hard; whether she has any gig plans coming up and how music arrived in her life in a child – she recommends some great artists we should get behind and support
Hi, Beth. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m really well, thank you! My week has been a little stressful but good - seems to be the description of most of my weeks these days.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
So. I’m a singer/songwriter from York and I’ve been on ‘the scene’ for around eight years now. People who follow me will know me for a more Country/Folk vibe but I’ve spent the last year working on a totally new Electronic/Pop sound that I’m super excited about.
Shame is out now. Is there a story behind the track?
I wrote Shame with a great songwriter and artist, Ben Earle (from The Shires). I went in to our session with a lyric idea that I’d been playing with for a while: “It’s a shame that your heart don’t want me the way that your hands do/Shame that your eyes wont love me the way that your words do”.
I wanted to write a song that told the story of a one-sided relationship where you would do anything for this person but they only see you as company when it suits them. Ben totally got the idea and we went on to create what is now Shame! This song was actually the turning point of my new sound. I went in to the session expecting to write a Country/Pop song and came out with something totally different to anything I’d ever written. It was the first time in a while that I’d felt really excited about something musically and everything just seemed to fit in to place after that.
What was it like shooting the music video? Do you get quite involved with video concepts?!
In a word – ‘cold’! I’m always really involved in all creative aspects of my music, partly because I love it and want everything I create to come from a real place inside me and partly because I’m a huge perfectionist! The first half of the video is set in a bedroom. I imagined the lyrics of the song coming from right in that moment where you are so close with someone physically but there’s a complete lack of emotion and I felt we needed to put that narrative into the video.
Then the concept for the beach part of the video came from the idea of how lonely this situation can be. We re-created the bedroom on the beach to represent the ‘headspace’ when with that person so, in reality, the person is there but in your head you are completely alone and isolated and it’s pretty miserable. All a bit deep, I know, but I didn’t want to over-complicate the video with the song being so simple so thought a slightly more hidden meaning would work best!
Might we expect some more material next year? How far ahead are you looking?
You can actually expect some more material in the next few weeks! My second single, Crazy for You, is already out; the third will be following soon and there will be a full E.P. by the end of 2018. I’m now back into writing mode for next year so there’s really no stopping me from now on!
You are a Yorkshire-based artist. Is it a great county to make music in? How important are the people and the vibe of Yorkshire regards your music?
I am so unbelievably proud to be from Yorkshire. I think we have some absolute gems when it comes to music and everyone just wants to help each other get to where they want to be which is amazing. Yorkshire supports Yorkshire. It’s magic.
Were you raised around a lot of great sounds? What sort of music were you raised on?
I was actually raised on Rock music! AC/DC, Meat Loaf and Deep Purple were all favourites of my dad so, ultimately, became the soundtrack to my childhood. The standout, though, was Queen and they remain one of my favourite bands of all time!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I try not to put time stamps on things as I’ve found it generally leads to disappointment! I’ve been in so many situations where things have been planned or promised and they’ve ended up taking far longer than expected or not happening at all which leaves this massive feeling of defeat.
These days, I just keep going ‘till I get to where I want to be and I don’t really keep track of the time. I know that, if I keep working hard, it’ll happen eventually so I just enjoy the ride!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Galtres Parklands Festival 2014 was one of my favourite ever gigs. I turned up for my set to a completely packed tent of people just waiting to hear me sing and I’d never experienced that before. There was just something so special about being in a space full of such kind, supportive people who all love music - it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Difficult one! Okay, so:
HAIM - Days Are Gone
It takes me back to the best summer of my life.
Antonio Lulic - Never or Tonight
He was the first artist to really inspire me to write and perform as a singer-songwriter and I listened to that album on-repeat!
Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf
It will always remind me of roadtrips with dad.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d love to support HAIM as they’re one of my favourite bands and I reckon they’d be a hoot to spend time with.
My rider would be a big ol’ box of Yorkshire Tea, milk and a kettle. I’m easily pleased.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
The best advice I ever got was from a doctor in London who I met during my time on The Voice. He’s a doctor to the stars and said that the three things you need to be successful in this industry are: talent, the skin of a rhinoceros and the ability to cope with extended periods of inactivity. Over the last couple of years, I’ve realised how true that is and it’s kept me going through some of the harder times.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I’m planning a big York show at the beginning of next year which will be pretty special but I’m holding off touring just for the minute as I want to wait until it’s the right time. If I’m going to do something, I want to do it well and I want to do it right!
IN THIS PHOTO: Lennon Stella
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m obsessed with Lennon Stella at the moment. She’s got a voice that I will never get tired of and I truly think she’s going to take over the music industry. Also; The Dunwells. Two insanely talented guys who I've had the pleasure of writing a few songs with.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Dunwells
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Honestly, the majority of my life is centred around music but I love it so it really doesn’t feel like ‘work’. The rest of the time I’m with my dog, or my friends and family (but mainly my dog).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Well. Seeing as I’ve just told you how ace she is, I’d love you to play Breakaway by Lennon Stella
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