Brian Mackey is an extremely talented singer-songwriter from New York and is starting to make waves in the East Coast music scene. When we first checked out Brian’s music we were impressed and were delighted, despite his hectic schedule, that he agreed to complete a feature interview with Song Revelation. Read on to learn about Brian’s musical background, his inspirations and what he’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
An honest, eclectic pop-infused rock, singer songwriter, with a twist of folkish Americana, heartfelt, witty and truly real.. Manic Romantic with anti social tendencies.
Q: What is your musical background?
I have no formal training, but plenty of the on the job experience. Basically I’ve learned from trial and error. I started playing the piano at age 5, moved onto the guitar, then drums, went back to the guitar, and now I’m a little better at each.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
Really hectic and great! A lot of planning for the new record release in January, coordinating photo shoots, playing shows, eating at roadside diners, hitting the bathroom soon after.. It’s been fun.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Believe it or not, some of the most inspiring people to me haven’t been musicians at all. Usually just everyday people in the world inspire me. Just sitting down and talking to somebody. ( I know this dispels my anti-social statement earlier, but let’s just go with this) It could be people in passing, the guy at the gas station, conversation with someone on Facebook, a family member, the girl at the bank, a lot could be said by people just saying the right thing to you. I think that spawns inspiration more than fish in the river at springtime. You never know what is going to set something off in your mind. Case in point, I was sitting in a car in NJ in the wintertime. So I opened up my car door, and I had snow to my knees, and I could see my breath. Then I walked into the grocery store, got a coconut bar to eat with palm trees on it and the girl smiled at me, rang it up, and said “these are really good”. Then went back into the car, wrote a song called Palm Trees, about the car I was sitting in, the location I was at and where I wanted to be…
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Well, I’m taller than most artists, so they are probably looking up to me, but the ones I most admire are the ones that lay it out. I really think Jason Mraz is cool. There are so many great writers like Pat Monahan, David Grey. I think as people become more popular, it makes them less cool because sometimes it feels like they are not your own anymore. You become a musical slut, like oh, I listened to that already, and oh, I heard that before, but sometimes sluts write good music, so keep going sluts!
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
I’ve never heard this question before!! wink wink.. Bob Dylan would be a fun venture. I really admire Dan Wilson too. Tom Petty is really great, Paul McCartney, there are just so many great writers out there.
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
Actually at the moment, I have Pandora on, and KC and the Sunshine Band is one, so do a little dance, make a little love, look down tonight, which is what I plan on doing tonight ironically enough. I listen to a lot of classical music for piano because it calms me down, there are just so many to list, I would not be paying homage to the ones that I missed. 80’s: The Clash, The Carrs, 70’s: Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, then there is always the one song you like from Kenny Loggins and Carol King was just a great writer and I like her stuff a lot.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Writing is a process where you have to rethink your process, sometimes it’s not about thinking, but just going with your feeling. Sometimes you can have a couple glasses of wine, or maybe a bottle a two, and your friends are over and your playing the guitar and you start making something up and you think its awesome, and you realize you just drank too much wine. The point I’m trying to make is, you never really know what is going to take until you try. And sometimes if you try nothing takes…
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
I think that depends on your mood. Let’s take the before mentioned KC and the Sunshine band lyric: That is a case when melody was really strong, but to some people that statement was strong. It’s in the eye of the beholder really, what it means to you. To me personally I’ve always been a balance guy. I like when they are married pretty nice. But then sometimes I’m in the mood for something more melody driven. Lyrics do mean everything to me though.
Q: Where are you based?
New York City, the Big Apple, but that constantly changes.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Where I’m originally from, Havana FL, it’s really poor and not that nice. Well, I shouldn’t say its not that nice, maybe my situation was bad. However, I still think it’s not nice from my memory. Makes you appreciate paved roads and indoor plumbing…
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my next album slated for January 2013 release.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I was eating breakfast at a restaurant the morning after a show, and I was eating eggs and sausage, really making a pig out of myself. The restaurant was about 30 miles from the venue and there was a group of people at the table next to me. A girl got up, came over and said, “You were really great at the show last night”. I had egg all over my face, and I had bed head, I looked like I just crawled out from under a rock. I said, “Thanks I’m glad you enjoyed it”… I was happy to know that the impression I made the night before lasted through the next morning and somebody came over to take the time away from their food to tell me about it.
Of course there have been other bigger publicity driven successes, like TV appearances and movie placements, but to me, that meant just a little bit more.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
World domination, or maybe just to get my credit cards back…
I really want to make impact with my next album, get over to the UK and play for ya’ll. Touch others with my music and make people laugh.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
I have bunch of stuff coming up soon. I have another Stage it show are coming up too. They are cool because you can do them from your living room and they simulcast worldwide. I was in my boxers the last time but I didn’t show anybody, maybe next time. It will give people something to look forward to I think.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Drink.. Yoga, Tai Chi, close combat training, play the piano, throw the ball to the cat, fly kites, surf, eat Chinese food, watch Netflix for hours on end, and meditate.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
See now I know this is a UK interview, because you used that cool way of spelling “favourite” and you used holiday to describe a vacation that I always thought was cool too, so in sake of fairness, I will answer for the US and the UK:
US: Christmas and Halloween because you get stuff for free and you give stuff too, it’s nice.
UK: Italy on the Adriatic Sea. It was beautiful, the people are so nice and warm, the water is beautiful and the food is magnifico!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Quit NOW! Save yourself a lot of heartache!
Just the opposite really. Never ever give up. It’s so tempting. People will always tell you, “you suck”, “get a real job”, and maybe there will be only 4 people in the audience, but it doesn’t matter. In the final analysis, you have to do what you love to do, what makes you feel happy inside, not what someone else wants you to do. Let them do what they want to do that makes them happy. Just be yourself, nobody likes a watered down version of someone.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
#1 I’d like to thank Kevin Allen at Song Revelation for taking the time out and composing these cool questions, and #2 If you’re reading this interview, I appreciate your time and support. I’m super grateful.
Editor’s Note: Brian Mackey’s eclectic rock has great energy and mainstream appeal. Definitely one of Song Revelation’s “Ones to Watch”.
If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Brian Mackey just follow the links below:
YouTube embeds: www.youtube.com/brianmackeymusic