Margot MacDonald's live performances have been described as "hypnotic. She lulls you into a meditative state from behind her keyboard, scorches you with dirty rock guitar and then layers scat over Siren call with a loop pedal." Her voice is what grabs you -- a "smoldering, cashmere-covered tone steeped in urgent, vulnerable expression." Her skill is what makes her extraordinary. She pens her own eclectic rock and makes everything in front of her sing, from teacups to strips of wire. She has also been known to roast individual marshmallows with a lighter, anytime, anywhere.
Margot is a bewitching vocal powerhouse -- she is Robert Plant's raw strength swept across four octaves and smoldering with a little Feist. Margot is a textbook case of "classically-trained-soprano-hijacked-by-Led-Zeppelin." She started her singing career with the Washington National Opera at age 10, and by 15 she was rocking a Strat, releasing a second album, and packing regional venues. Since then she has put out a third and fourth CD, opened for national acts, and played venues like DC’s legendary 9:30 Club, Kennedy Center, Wolftrap, Birchmere, BlackRock, Ram's Head Live, and The Bitter End in NYC. She was also a recent Artist-in-Residence at the Music Center at Strathmore, where she still regularly performs. Margot is the current recipient of the "Artist of the Year" Washington Area Music Award, her 11th Wammie win. The 21-yr old is in the midst of mastering the loop pedal and discovering the musical genius of half-filled glass bottles.
Washington Area Music Association 'Artist of the Year' 2012
Modern Rock Vocalist WAMA 2012
Artist of the Year WAMA 2011
Modern Rock Vocalist WAMA 2011
Artist of the Year WAMA 2010
Modern Rock Vocalist WAMA 2010
Power 30 Under 30 Award 2010
Modern Rock Recording "Walls" WAMA 2009
Modern Rock Vocalist WAMA 2009
Modern Rock Group WAMA 2009
Modern Rock Vocalist WAMA 2008
New Artist of the Year WAMA 2007
Young Artist Award MASC 2005
Margot MacDonald - Vocals - Guitar - Piano - Bottles - Loop Pedal
K.C. Hatton - Guitar
Alan-Maurice Kayanan - Percussion & Drums
ISO - Cello
WALLS - 2009 LP
Torn - 2007 LP
Christmas - 2007 EP
Rising - 2004 LP
British Invasion Live, Bandhouse Gigs, 2011
Woodstock Tribute Live, Bandhouse Gigs, 2010
Joni Mitchell Tribute Live, Bandhouse Gigs, 2009
Millennium Music Conference 2010 Compilation
Diamond in the Rough/Nonprofit Promotions 2008 Compilation
Artomatic 2008 Compilation
Artomatic 2007 Compilation
DC Rockers for Life 2007 Compilation
Liberty/Who's to Blame? - 2006 singles w/Op-Critical
Imagine There's a World - 2002 single
With One Voice - 2001 World Children's Choir
Just For Now
I Don't Know
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Margot MacDonald: A Modest Introduction
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I first heard Margot MacDonald singing entirely by accident. I was walking through the Reston Town C...I first heard Margot MacDonald singing entirely by accident. I was walking through the Reston Town Center during one festival or another - who can keep track of how many festivals are held there? In the distance, I heard the familiar heartbeat rhythm from my days of programming computers while listening to Massive Attack records on headphones. Someone was covering "Teardrop" in a semi-a-capella fashion, apparently with the aid of some digital loops. I pushed through crowds of suburbanites to work my way closer to the heartbeat. When I finally found the makeshift stage setup, I was surprised to find a petite red-headed teenage girl absolutely wailing the lyrics by herself in perfect harmony with her own voice, which was pulsing through the loop pedal on the ground. There were at least three photographers with expensive, telephoto rigs photographing her performance as if this Reston festival were Lollapalooza.
I've found this to be the curious paradox of Margot MacDonald. On one hand, she has been massively successful in her music career, especially considering she is only 19 years old. She began singing with the Washington National Opera when she was 10 and was recording her first album with a Grammy-nominated producer by age 12. She was the 2010 Washington Area Music Award "Artist of the Year", her seventh "Wammie" award to date. And yet, to my knowledge, as of this publication, she is yet unsigned.
To be fair, MacDonald wasn't interviewed for this piece, and maybe she isn't looking to be signed right now. To be even fairer, she is extensively involved with non-profit organizations and is constantly playing out at these local festivals and seems nothing short of thrilled to do so. And to be beyond fair, she has graced stages no less prestigious than the 9:30 Club and even the Kennedy Center itself and doesn't have a thing left to prove to anybody. But, honestly, it's hard to hear a voice so refined, so bold, so versatile, and so fresh being showcased at a quaint, town festival and not have that old "Piano Man" thought, "Girl, what are you doin' here?"
I feel like I'm sounding negative, so let me clarify my stance: Margot MacDonald is an absolutely bad-ass singer. And I am nothing if not a sucker for her obsession with (and mastery of) the loop pedal she's become so associated with. And, I love that I can find her singing her heart out at a cute little festival just as hard as she would on a huge stage. She writes great original songs and has an arsenal of unique, gutsy covers, like Imogen Heap's "Just for Now." To me, the detached observer, it seems like you can almost see her true artistic soul and edginess in the way she plays those cover songs than even in her own original music. But, there's no doubt that her original songwriting is moving rapidly in a direction that is unmistakably her own and in a direction that really highlights her unstoppably strong voice that seemingly is unbounded by range limitations.
Margot is definitely an artist to watch, and I suspect we've only seen the tip of the iceberg that is her music career. And, speaking of watching her, why not check her out while she's still playing local festivals? Her next appearance is Friday, July 15, at the Wheaton TGIF Series.
July 10, 2011
Margot MacDonald & the Audio Conundrum
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Sign up at IndieGoGo to Support Margot MacDonald's Next Release Margot MacDonald has been perform...Sign up at IndieGoGo to Support Margot MacDonald's Next Release
Margot MacDonald has been performing for over 10 years and released three CDs, but none of her recordings to date truly reflect the breadth and depth of her talents. She aims to fix that with her next release, and wants your help to make it happen through fan funding at the IndieGoGo site.
Margot’s live shows incorporate looped vocals, teacups, bottles, and other percussion and guitars to create hypnotic soundscapes for her vocal explorations. Her voice and songwriting have matured considerably over the past two years, and the time is right for a proper debut.
In return for your largess, Margot is offering various perks starting with a pre-release download of the new album for $10 (Busking). Those who can afford more serious patronage can sign up as a Song Sponsor or Executive Producer. YouTube performances of the album material are available for preview at IndieGoGo, along with complete descriptions of the available packages.
by David D.
July 31, 2011
TVD Package Deal: Margot MacDonald
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Staff Writer Leah Henry takes a reader’s advice. March 30, 2011 Today’s Package Deal is based on...Staff Writer Leah Henry takes a reader’s advice. March 30, 2011
Today’s Package Deal is based on a recommendation by one of my readers, “Evie,” requesting that I feature local artist Margot MacDonald, who “does a ‘Teardrop’ cover that’s like nothing I’ve ever heard.”
Well Evie, you were right. I had the privilege of hearing Margot sing the 1998 single originally by Massive Attack Monday night when she played “Teardrop” at IOTA, and you’re correct. It’s like nothing I’ve heard—thanks.
Margot is most commonly likened to Amy Lee from Evanescence, but I heard more guttural Ani DiFranco-esque freedom and smooth Imogen Heap, whose utilization of the looping pedal technique Margot repeatedly imitates and respects. When asked about Imogen Heap’s new organic concept on song-composition (“LifeLine,” released March 28, 2011), soliciting the input of her fan’s sound clips to compile a song, excitement spreads across Margot’s face as she answers, “It’s interesting and inspiring, and it’s definitely something I would consider doing.”
Margot admits to having only been using the loop pedal for a year, but her utilization of this tool is polished and moving to watch. The concept of recording sounds and layering them is not a new one, but the art of doing this on-the-spot and live is a style that requires practice and precision.
Although “Teardrop” proved to the crowd that Margot had the skills required to execute successful looping, her new song “Speed of Sound” possessed creativity, drama, and control showcasing what I hope to be a large section of Margot’s future style. Margot has been performing for almost ten years. “I started singing in bars at an early age,” she says with a smile; at almost twenty years old, she’s already a veteran of the music scene. She has the poise and confidence that comes with classical training, and the beauty, talent, and hunger to break into a wide variety of genres and reach diverse audiences. It’s just a matter of where she goes next.
Having confused her with an artist (who also looped) who opened up for Andrew Bird at Sixth & I Synagogue (and for that I am deeply sorry, Margot), she replied, “I wish!” and quickly followed with, “I wonder how they got that gig?” I wondered the same thing, and wished to myself that it had been Margot. “Let’s see what we can do about that, okay?”
Margot MacDonald Wins Artist of the Year at Wammies
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February 23, 2011 BMI singer/songwriter Margot MacDonald took home the Artist of the Year crown d...February 23, 2011
BMI singer/songwriter Margot MacDonald took home the Artist of the Year crown during the annual Washington Area Music Awards, held recently in D.C. The win marks the 19-year-old’s seventh Wammie, underscoring her hot streak that began with a New Artist of the Year win in 2007.
While cultivating her growing following in Washington, D.C.’s thriving live music community, MacDonald has served as the energetic emcee and host of BMI’s popular Hungry for Music showcase series, held at the D.C. Hard Rock Café to benefit the Hungry for Music initiative. Based in the nation's capital, the charity provides musical instruments for disadvantaged young people. MacDonald also serves as a BMI Youth Ambassador and on the Board of Directors of the Songwriters Association of Washington, and has led GRAMMY U and other songwriting workshops.
For more information on Margot MacDonald, including show dates, songs, and more, visit www.margotmacdonald.com.
Musical Elite: Artists who have transcended the region
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Girls Rock By Robert Fulton “I think music, especially rock music, has always been kind of domin...Girls Rock
By Robert Fulton
“I think music, especially rock music, has always been kind of dominated by the males,” says MacDonald over coffee at Northside Social in Clarendon, the Arlington neighborhood she calls home. “We’re just slowly reaching up there, trying to get ahead.”
That the history of rock ‘n’ roll has a bit of a testosterone bent is nothing new. But MacDonald has the talent, drive and love of music to be noticed.
MacDonald, the Washington Area Music Association 2010 Artist of the Year, has been in music for seemingly forever. She says she’s been writing music since she was 7, and even had a stint with the Washington Opera from 2000 to 2002. Her debut CD “Rising” dropped when she was 12. “Torn” in 2007 and “Walls” in 2009 followed.
“A series of very good coincidences and a lot of hard work,” MacDonald offers as the key to her success, which also includes a Modern Rock Vocalist Award at the 25th Annual Wammie Awards, held in February. “You definitely need all of those to succeed. I’ve been working at it for a very long time, for someone my age.
“It’s been a steady accumulation of venues and notoriety,” she adds. “It’s been fun to develop in this area. It’s a very welcoming community.”
MacDonald says that aside from a voice coach, she can’t recall a local female musician she could look up to while she was making her way as a teenager.
“The rockers, the women musicians in the area, I never really knew when I was younger,” she says, adding that she was unable to attend local shows because of age restrictions. “I was kind of a little twerp trying to get into the music scene.”
MacDonald is currently working on some new music, and as of March had done some preliminary recording with plans for a new album to be out by the end of the year. Her sound continues to evolve, from rock ‘n’ roll, featuring soaring vocals, to more experimentation in the new stuff.
This summer, MacDonald plans to play a number of local shows and hopes to tour some. She’s not in college, choosing instead to focus on her career full time. And she adds that she has no immediate plans to leave the region.
In the last couple of years, MacDonald has been active in promoting local music. She’s organized the BMI Hungry for Music showcases, as well as showcases for the Songwriters Association of Washington. These groupings of musicians for small concerts feature locals, and MacDonald makes an effort to include area female musicians and highlight them at all-ages venues.
She adds that she sees more girls than guys in young musician showcases, but the breakdown flips for older shows.
“I really do try to make it kind of half guys, half girls,” says MacDonald, who adds that she idolized Sarah McLachlan growing up. “It’s pretty forefront. I really try to make it even, an even split, sound-wise for the show and giving people chances.” She also comments that she hasn’t had any difficulty in finding acts for her showcases.
“D.C., Northern Virginia, is such an open area for seeing music,” MacDonald says. “You don’t fully appreciate how much music there is on any given night in the Northern Virginia, Washington area, until you’re out of the area. I can’t imagine living in a small city and not having that direct access to such a great scene.”
Margot MacDonald: Using electronics for the forces of good
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Rock & Roll Hotel Modern Times Christmas Show – Thursday, 12/23/10 at 7:00 PM Among the many act...Rock & Roll Hotel Modern Times Christmas Show – Thursday, 12/23/10 at 7:00 PM
Among the many acts at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Thursday will be Margot MacDonald: DC native, product of Duke Ellington High School, and recent Artist-in-Residence at the Music Center at Strathmore. Some singers use vocoders, auto-tune, compression, and other effects to mask and distort their vocals. Margot uses a loop pedal to extend and layer her powerful voice — producing percussive backing tracks and shimmering four-part harmonies in real time.
Margot began her career with the Washington National Opera at age 10, picked up a Strat at 15, and never looked back. Now 19, Margot is a five-time Washington Area Music Award winner and is currently working on her fifth album. We could go on, and we will in a future profile. For now, check out her cover of the Imogen Heap alt-Holiday hit “Just for Now,” and get some tickets to the Modern Times Christmas show.
- David D'Agostino
Margot MacDonald performs at the Modern Times Christmas Show at Rock & Roll Hotel.
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December 23, 2010 Many incredible artists will be performing at the Modern Times Christmas Show a...December 23, 2010
Many incredible artists will be performing at the Modern Times Christmas Show at Rock & Roll Hotel this evening, but be especially careful not to get caught in the bathroom or at the bar when 19-year-old Margot MacDonald takes the stage. The singer/songwriter, who got her start performing with the Washington National Opera when she was 10, has already put out four CDs of unique rock songs, and has played almost every notable stage in the region. Part of her charm is that she's always throwing new elements—water bottles, a loop pedal—into the mix, even though people would be completely captivated by just MacDonald and her guitar.
- Sarah Godfrey
The Year Long Music Binge: Margot MacDonald
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Sunday, January 24, 2010 Margot MacDonald John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Mill...Sunday, January 24, 2010
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Millennium Stage
December 18th, 2009
The Binge was back at the Kennedy Center on Friday night to witness local pop-rock sensation (she’s only 18 years old) Margot MacDonald ride the wave of momentum associated with being nominated for five 2009 Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards) onto the Millennium Stage. A quick glance at said stage informed me that this would be an atypical set for the young artist as I noticed a couple of acoustic guitars, an upright bass and what looked like a big wooden block surrounded by cymbals. My understanding is that Margot’s gigs are usually of the “plugged-in” variety, incorporating more traditional “rock band” instruments such as electric guitars, electric bass and a full drum set.
Tonight however, the singer/songwriter was accompanied by K.C. Hatton on acoustic guitar, Trevor Olexy on upright bass and Danny Schwartz on the aforementioned wooden block, which is actually an instrument called a cajon. If you haven’t heard of it, a cajon is basically a box drum that is slapped with the hands. Schwartz sat straddling the instrument so that the striking surface was between his legs. I, for one, have never seen anything like it and was quite honestly surprised at the volume and depth of the sounds it created.
Strange percussion instruments aside, when Margot took the stage, she introduced herself to the crowd and informed us that this wasn’t her first time performing at the Kennedy Center. Apparently she was here when she was 10, playing the part of a street urchin in the musical “Carmen”. Given the somewhat older crowd in attendance, undoubtedly not her usual audience, Margot mentioned that she was probably dressed quite a bit differently tonight than she was back then, a joking reference to the short skirt and cowboy boots which made up her current stage attire.
The quartet played through a very entertaining, hour long set of songs from Margot’s solo albums, with some interesting and exciting covers sprinkled throughout. In addition to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, the band managed an improbable acoustic cover of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” with vocals so impressive that I’m not sure even Robert Plant himself could match them (at this point in his career that is). The highlight however, was the finale…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
In addition to Margot’s powerful vocals and notable guitar playing, her band was equally impressive. Hatton seemed to play his acoustic guitar with a sort of Latin flair that reminded me of Santana. This was especially evident during two particular numbers when Margot and K.C. performed sans rhythm section, resulting in a fantastic duet of guitar playing overlaid only by Margot’s striking vocals, which oftentimes reminded me of Evanescence’s Amy Lee. When onstage, Olexy was proficient on the upright bass and I’ve already mentioned the impressive percussion by Schwartz on the cajon.
The band even tried to get into the holiday spirit when Danny mentioned that there were Margot MacDonald cds for sale in the lobby. Due to the nature of the free Millennium Stage concerts and unbeknownst to Mr. Schwartz, apparently hocking your wares is against Kennedy Center rules. When Margot politely leaned over and mentioned to him that “you can’t do that”, Schwartz got an uncomfortable looking smile on his face and quickly recovered, saying “well in that case…happy holidays everybody”. The resulting laughter seemed to endear the band to their audience all the more.
As with any great performance, the time flew by and the show was over all too soon. Before leaving for good though, Margot mentioned that she wanted to try something special for us as a sort of finale/encore. As the three members of her band left the stage, the singer explained that she’d been given a “loop pedal” as an early Christmas present and wanted to try it out for us tonight. Using only this device, her voice and a rhythm created by clapping her hands, Margot performed an astonishing, multi-layered cover of Imogen Heap’s “Just for Now”. By far the highlight of the evening, this amazing solo performance has to be seen to be believed (see it for yourself here: Margot MacDonald at Kennedy Center). Margot MacDonald proved herself to be quite a talent on the Millennium Stage tonight, despite her relative youth. If you get the opportunity, I recommend you check her out.
Teen singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald is seasoned beyond her years
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By Moira E. McLaughlin Friday, December 18, 2009 For Margot MacDonald, Christmas came early this...By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, December 18, 2009
For Margot MacDonald, Christmas came early this year. The local teenage singer, who grew up in Arlington, wanted to learn Imogen Heap's "Just for Now." It's an impressive undertaking: The song is layer upon layer of recorded-on-the spot vocal lines, necessitating a loop pedal.
"I really, really wanted to play the song," MacDonald says. So her parents got her the loop pedal early.
There must be millions of teens who will fall asleep on Christmas Eve with visions of rock-and-roll stardom dancing in their heads. For MacDonald, those visions have legs.
"Placido Domingo was my first boss," MacDonald says with a giggle. She was 10 when she started singing in the Washington National Opera chorus, of which Domingo is general director. Her first performance was Puccini's "La Boheme." Even before that, she had begun writing songs. Her second-grade teacher noticed her musical propensity and encouraged her parents to sign her up for piano lessons. "It all started from there," MacDonald says. In 2008, she became an artist in residence at Strathmore. (She performs Friday at the Kennedy Center.)
MacDonald, 18, is a rare case of talent meets luck. Ask her how Grammy-nominated producer John Jennings came across her at age 12 and produced her first album, "Rising," and she giggles. Ask how she has come to share the stage with such names as Jessica Simpson and Josh Groban, how she has performed on local TV newscasts up and down the East Coast or how she has played such venues as the Birchmere and the State Theatre.
She's not sure.
But then listen to her music, and you might get an idea why such a young woman is finding success as a full-time musician. It's her voice: a little Paula Cole, a little Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, a lot Evanescence's Amy Lee.
MacDonald, who studied classical voice for two years at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, calls her music "jazz-tinged modern rock," but from the sound of the opening song on her third album, "Walls," it's also rock-and-roll, loud and heavy on the dirty guitar.
Recently, though, it has been "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which MacDonald has been singing a lot lately in preparation for an event at the Hard Rock Cafe for cancer patients. She has been taking such gigs throughout her career, working with nonprofits groups including Ground Control Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign, the More Than Me Foundation and America's Fund for Afghan Children.
"It's always meant a lot for me to support nonprofits through my music," MacDonald says. And at Christmastime, she delves into her repertoire to sing such standards as "O Holy Night" and "Ave Maria" off her 2007 holiday CD, "Christmas."
As for her own holiday traditions, MacDonald says it's usually pretty simple. She still lives at home, so she'll hang out with mom and dad and her two younger siblings. There's a tree and presents, of course, but she hasn't asked for much.
"I got my loop pedal, so I'm happy right now."
Profile: Arlington-Born Singer/Songwriter Margot MacDonald
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November 30, 2010 For now, Margot MacDonald is a 19-year-old with an incredible voice and undenia...November 30, 2010
For now, Margot MacDonald is a 19-year-old with an incredible voice and undeniable songwriting talent who lives with her parents in Lyon Park. Given her steady ascent in the world of music, however, it’s hard to see how that last part is going to last long.
MacDonald, who is playing IOTA Club (2832 Wilson Blvd) tonight with two fellow Strathmore Artists in Residence, seems destined for bigger things. A five-time Washington Area Music Award winner, MacDonald received “a little bit” of national recognition in the past year, when her self-funded album, Walls, made a list of possible GRAMMY nominees for Best Album of the Year.
Walls was actually the teen’s third album. Her first came out when she was 12, about three years after she started classic opera training. During her young career, MacDonald has veered from very folk-oriented to “completely hard rock” to what she now describes as “pop acoustic rock with a bit of a world influence.”
She has worked with two noted local record producers, including fellow Lyon Park resident Marco Delmar. But until now the former Long Branch Elementary and Kenmore Middle School student has shrugged off interest from labels.
“I haven’t felt particularly ready up until this point… I’ve just been trying to figure out who I want to be as an artist,” she said. But MacDonald says she now feels more comfortable than ever with her own musical style, and might be ready to make the leap to the big leagues of the music industry.
Earlier this month MacDonald, who has performed at the 9:30 Club and the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage locally, played her first show in New York City. She says she’s anxious to go back.
“I’m really happy with what I’m doing… slowly but surely getting better and better gigs and gaining more fans,” she said. “I’m not really sure what the future holds, but I hope it’s good.”
Check out Margot’s YouTube channel to watch her past performances.
Meet Singer/Songwriter Margot MacDonald
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August 27, 2010 Meet Singer/Songwriter Margot MacDonald Margot MacDonald has done a lot in her ...August 27, 2010
Meet Singer/Songwriter Margot MacDonald Margot MacDonald has done a lot in her musical career, which is striking when you consider how young she is. But when you listen to her on this video, it becomes clear how poised and forward-thinking she is, and also how generous she is with her talent, to listeners and other creators.
We’ve been fortunate to know Margot, a rising BMI singer/songwriter, for some time now. Margot accompanied us last year to the White House when we delivered a letter to the President and Vice President from more than 11,000 artists and creators asking that their rights be respected, and she gave an impromptu performance at last year’s EXPOnential. She also accompanied us and performed at an assembly we held at West Potomac Academy last year.
Enjoy hearing Margot’s story, and getting a hint at what her next album will be like.
The Power 30 Under 30™ Awards 2010 Honorees
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The Power 30 Under 30™ Awards honors thirty outstanding individuals under the age of thirty around t...The Power 30 Under 30™ Awards honors thirty outstanding individuals under the age of thirty around the United States that have achieved extraordinary success. Honorees have one thing in common: the ability to excel at what they do on their own merit. They also realize the tremendous importance of giving back to the community to help those in need.
Margot MacDonald has been selected as a 2010 Honoree in the field of Arts, Entertainment, & Media for her work as the Young Artists Program Director for the Songwriters' Association of Washington.
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Margot is one of those artists I appreciate and admire but unfortunately haven't gotten to know very...Margot is one of those artists I appreciate and admire but unfortunately haven't gotten to know very well, and that's a big mistake on my part. Of course, being on the other side of the country does give me a little bit of an excuse. I do adore her music, and I guess that's what matters most :)
So, first a little background. Margot MacDonald is a Washington, DC based singer/songwriter who has been performing since a young age. Her first album "Rising" was released when she was just 12 years old. She first came to my attention not long after the release of her second album "Torn" in 2007 when she was 15. I was blown away when I heard this powerful rock voice coming out of this girl's mouth and with the release of "Walls" in 2009 I was even more impressed and also surprised that she's managed to basically remain a regional phenomenon. From what I've seen, she performs A LOT but isn't well known outside the general area.
Now at 19, Margot just might be getting a chance to show the rest of the U.S. and maybe the world what she can do. She's recently launched a fundraiser to help fund her next album, this is her chance to really create an album that is uniquely hers and hopefully also raise enough money to tour farther than she has in the past and I'd like to help her achieve that goal because I think she deserves the chance. Margot has the voice, the skill, and the drive to be a huge success, now all she needs is the opportunity.
Please, take the chance to see what she has to say about her vision and then listen to her music, and decide for yourself. I think you'll come to the same conclusion I have.
Her fundraising site is here also check out (and buy) her music on iTunes and Facebook.
Young singer-songwriter presents showcase for emerging artists
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By: Robert Fulton Special to The Examiner January 6, 2010 Arlington-based singer-songwriter Mar...By: Robert Fulton
Special to The Examiner
January 6, 2010
Arlington-based singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald may just be 18 years old, but she has more experience -- and, arguably, talent -- than a lot of her peers. So it really isn't all that strange that someone who recently graduated from high school is organizing showcases for area emerging artists.
"It's a little odd when I think about it," MacDonald said over coffee at a Clarendon Starbucks. "I've been doing this a long time, and age has never really been a factor."
Thursday, MacDonald is holding an Emerging Artists Showcase at the Hard Rock Cafe, presented by the Songwriters' Association of Washington.
"Basically acoustic music that has a rock edge to it," said MacDonald, who is on the board of SAW. "They all have that quality and are able to stand alone."
On the bill for the Hard Rock show, in addition to MacDonald, are local musicians Flo Anito, Molly Hagen, Naseem Khuri, Rene Moffatt and Matt Waller.
MacDonald has been on the board of SAW for about a year now, organizing young artists and emerging artists showcases. The showcases enable local talent to play new venues and get exposure to new audiences.
SAW is a nonprofit created in 1979 with the stated goal, according to its Web site, "to benefit aspiring and professional songwriters."
"They supported me through giving me little playing opportunities here and there from a very young age," MacDonald said. "It's kind of my way of giving back."
MacDonald -- who is from and still lives in Clarendon -- has been performing regularly since she was 12. The three albums she's recorded demonstrate a young woman wise beyond her years, with soaring vocals and wicked guitar defining her original work. She also shows her range on covers, such as a butt-kicking "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin or an enchanting take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
Now she's writing songs for her next album and looking to do some more touring. In the meantime, she's working with SAW to strengthen the local music scene.
"It's kind of giving back to the community," she said. "It's definitely a work-in-progress kind of organization and a lot of do-it-yourself work. They gave a lot to me at a young age."
And what does this young trailblazer think of the D.C.-area music scene she's been a part of her entire life?
"I would say the scene is up-and-coming," MacDonald said. " It's not quite there, but it's getting there."
Mid Atlantic Music News
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By Susie Mudd "The other exiting female voice is Margot MacDonald. This talented woman was the S...By Susie Mudd
"The other exiting female voice is Margot MacDonald. This talented woman was the September artist in residence at The Strathmore. This is the third release from MacDonald, and has scored some tremendous reviews. Many call her a teen sensation and I understand why. She was New Artist of the Year by W.A.M.A., discovered by the incomparable John Jennings - he also worked with Mary Chapin Carpenter. She has appeared with Eddie Kowalcyk of Live, Cher, Brian McKnight, and more… She is truly an artist to be dealt with. She is a mere 17, maybe 18 by now, and we are just beginning to hear about her…"
Musicians Support Artists' Rights at The White House and The Capitol
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Musicians Margot MacDonald and Jonathan Ifergan Jam at EXPO, Support Artists’ Rights Thursday, No...Musicians Margot MacDonald and Jonathan Ifergan Jam at EXPO, Support Artists’ Rights
Thursday, November 19th, 2009 by Lucinda M. Dugger
An impromptu jam session ensued on Tuesday at the Copyright Alliance’s EXPOnential between two musicians: Jonathan Ifergan and Margot MacDonald.
The two had met for the first time just the day before to deliver the artists’ letter to the White House. Upon meeting, they found they had some areas of common interest. Besides their love of music and the range of talents each possesses, they chatted extensively about the challenges of building a solid fan base and how that affects decisions regarding giving music samples away versus selling music.
Margot belted out the first song while Jonathan played backup guitar for her. As her powerful voice carried through the Cannon Caucus room, heads turned and many of those chattering stopped to listen. Even the catering and event staff pulled out their phone cameras to snap a picture of the young, talented musician. And, I heard at least one person say, “Wow. Where is she from?”
“Right here. DC,” was the reply.
That’s right, Washington, DC’s very own rising star who writes her own songs, has produced three albums, and designs her own cover art and publicity materials. As she signed autographs at the BMI booth throughout the evening, attendees called her the “red-headed Taylor Swift.”
As Margot ended her tune, Jonathan took up the lead guitar and sent chuckles throughout the crowd as he performed an improvisational Bob Dylan-style song. As a first time visitor to Washington, DC, Jonathan sang about his impressions of the city, the events over the two days, and all the people he had met.
Jonathan is co-founder and lead singer for the band Color Radio out of Chicago. The unsigned band, whose influences include Radiohead, has already put out two albums. They have played in gigs all over Chicago and the Midwest and are in the process of booking an East Coast tour. Wherever you might be in the country, keep an eye out for this band on the rise.
While Margot is mostly a one-woman show, from writing to composing to creating graphics, Jonathan tends to focus on where he knows his strengths are best. He writes each song’s lyrics and encourages his band members to help write the musical composition during practice sessions.
While listening to the duo on Tuesday, one would have never guessed that they approach creating music differently, and that they hadn’t always played together. As Jonathan launched into Yellow Jackets, Margot easily matched the guitar chords and the chorus harmony. As the session drew to a close, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room wishing they could continue playing late into the night.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end, including this blog. (That is, if you’ve been enjoying it). Before I sign off, however, I’d like to emphasize that I have come to know both Margot and Jonathan through my work at the Copyright Alliance. They are both hard-working, talented musicians who are trying to make a real living at writing, playing, and recording music. They aren’t rolling in the dough. And though they have a lot of good times doing what they do, I’m sure there are moments of doubt and uncertainty of what the future might bring.
They are passionate individuals who care about the rights to their work and look to maintain those rights so they can live off of what they do best.
A lot of people have this misconception that artists are these alter-beings out there who can somehow survive off of some intangible thing. As if all artists couch-surf, strum mindlessly on the steps of clubs in Greenwich Village, and eat crumbs left for the pigeons.
That false picture is what helps people justify the desire to reduce the rights of artists to virtually nothing or to take their music illegally. Yet, if you’d spend the time to talking to artists like Margot and Jonathan, you’d begin to understand why they support the Copyright Alliance and why they signed our letter to the President. You’d see that they are just like most everyone else: they work hard, produce great work, and want to be compensated for that.
So, if you haven’t talked to an artist recently, I encourage you to do so. It might help give you a good perspective as to why their rights are so important to them.
Copyright Alliance Expo Spotlights Economic Impact
BMI -- Broadcast Music, Inc.
November 19, 2009
The Copyright Alliance hosted its third annual EXPOnential on November 17 on Capitol Hill, showcasing the new products and economic benefits of America’s copyright industries. This year’s event, “Live from Main Street: Copyright and the Local Economy,” provided a platform for artists, trade associations and companies to exhibit creative work and discuss the future of copyright and its impact on local economies.
(Pictured at the third annual Copyright Alliance Expo are BMI jazz composer/artist Marcus Johnson, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), BMI songwriter/artist Margot MacDonald, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), and BMI Senior Vice President, Government Relations Fred Cannon.)
Exhibitors at the Expo included BMI, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Graphic Artists Guild, the Entertainment software Association and the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), among others.
In addition to exhibitor booths, The Expo also featured a central “coffee shop,” where D.C.-area BMI songwriter/artist Margot MacDonald, accompanied by Chicago-based Jonathan Ifergan, performed several of her compositions to an enthusiastic audience.
(Pictured: Margot MacDonald performs in the Copyright Alliance "Coffee Shop," accompanied by Jonathan Ifergan of Chicago band Color Radio. The Coffee Shop was part of the Copyright Alliance Expo held recently in D.C.)
On November 16, a delegation of emerging artists in The Copyright Alliance’s network of creators delivered to the White House a letter signed by more than 11,000 artists nationwide. The letter asks President Obama and Vice President Biden to pursue policies supportive of artists’ rights.
“On behalf of more than 11,000 creators of all kinds and from all 50 states, we are honored to deliver this letter, which simply asks that the Administration remember the importance of creators to our culture and our economy,” said Lucinda Dugger, Director of Outreach Initiatives.
In addition to MacDonald and Ifergan, the delegation included Chad Cameron, an illustrator from San Francisco; and Natalie Neckyfarow, an actress from Charlotte currently living and working in New York City.
The artists met with key personnel on technology and the arts in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
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Margot MacDonald WALLS Since her debut album "TORN", the beautiful Margot MacDonald, with the vo...Margot MacDonald
Since her debut album "TORN", the beautiful Margot MacDonald, with the voice colour of Paula Cole, has gone a long way and finally found her own style on her second album "WALLS". She starts with a powerful and melodic opener named "Freewheelin'", goes on with a calm and emotional side, and she gives proof of her Rock and Roll roots by covering convincingly two classics like Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones. Margot MacDonald gets to the point with 11 songs (including a so-called hidden track) and breaks down her walls so it's time for a big record company to knock at her door.
They are young, they are great, they are ambitious, they know how to rock and have got almost everything … but a DEAL … not yet.
There are lots of bands with the dream of becoming a Rock Star out there but to start a musical career successfully it’s more than just hanging out in the rehearsal room. It’s hard work and a long way of performing live on stage, writing the right songs, spending much time by connecting the right people and working for the money to record a great album in professional studios.
AUTONA presents a new rubric where musically great and constantly hard working bands get the chance to enlarge their network and fan base and of course finally to get a great record deal.
This month we should call it: MAJOR DEAL WANTED because Margot MacDonald from Washington DC already released two official albums on her own label. The current album “Walls” is a big step into the right direction and with an individual voice and her own songs she's ready for more.
Autona: I really like your new album "Walls" and it's definitely more elaborated and individual than your debut album "Torn". You operate without a label, so do you have sponsors who support you by recording and pressing two professional albums and by producing a high quality video?
Margot: Thank you! I feel I’m starting to head in a direction that’s more my own. I have a great band and my producer, Marco Delmar, was wonderful in helping me direct the sound of "Walls". I funded both albums independently through loans and part-time jobs so I have a lot invested! But the recording process has been an important part of my artistic development. The "Liberty" video was shot before I came out with "Torn" and was funded by a non-profit organization.
Autona: Do you coordinate your press work and bookings on your own or do you have professional assistance by a media agency or a management?
Margot: For the most part I still handle my own bookings and media. But I do have a mentor helping out with the big picture.
Autona: How do you distribute your current album at the moment?
Margot: My new album is available through my website, CD Baby, iTunes, and other online vendors. There have been some discussions about distribution so I hope it will find its way into stores as well.
Autona: You said you'd like to come over to Europe for live shows. Have you ever been in Germany and how important is the European market?
Margot: I’d love to come over to Europe to play some live shows! The European market has shown to be appreciative of my sound. I have not been to Germany but I do have some European roots. My mother is French. And I’m now working with Freddie Cannon who started Carrere Records UK. So, with those ties in mind, we’re hoping to find sponsorship for a European tour.
Autona: To be signed by a record label doesn't mean to be successful. You know that you can also have success without being signed ... if you do it yourself. If a label offers a deal what do you need that this deal makes sense?
Margot: I feel that with the right connections it is very possible to be successful as an independent artist. Many people who sign to record labels go nowhere and end up in debt. It’s a sad truth. So that is why I am proceeding on this front with caution. There are many things I would like to see in a possible record contract, but a big one is artistic freedom. If the right deal comes around that would be great. If not, I will continue to work as an independent artist.
Autona: You played a cover version on Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant song" with a special character. Did you send an mp3-file of your version to Robert Plant or Jimmy Page?
Margot: It’s a fun song to cover and is such a show stopper. I love it! But I haven’t sent it to any Led Zeppelin members though, mainly because I never thought of doing so. Hmmm … do you have their email address?
Autona: How many shows have you already played to support your new album?
Margot: I’ve been playing out quite a bit since coming out with “Walls”. I love performing so it’s been great!
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June 2009 - WALLS CD Review With a worldwide recession and conflicts around the globe there's ver...June 2009 - WALLS CD Review
With a worldwide recession and conflicts around the globe there's very little to be happy about, but there is certainly one thing to be optimistic about and that's teen sensation Margot MacDonald. Despite only being seventeen this American artist has just released her third album and I have to say it's the best one yet! Margot MacDonald is almost certainly the best young female artist on this planet today and I can only think of around two others who come close. When you hear this eleven track (the eleventh track isn't listed) catchy rock album you'll understand why I rate Margot so highly. Her voice is just amazing and when you hear tracks such as 'Freewheelin', 'Behind Her Walls', 'Complicated', 'Whispers Of The Dove' and the Led Zeppelin cover 'Immigrant Song' you'll begin to realize what talent lies in Margot MacDonald. All her own songs are individually unique both lyrically, musically and vocally. The notes that Margot hits on some of these songs are amazing and I don't say that lightly either! The three songs covered on this release have their own identity too and the original artists would be proud of how their songs have been interpreted by a girl who wasn't even thought about when these songs were originally released. This album is faultless in all areas and I really do think major labels have missed a trick with Margot. Margot has been writing this album for a while now and it's certainly been worth the wait. It's great to have seen Margot develop over the years into a beautiful young lady with a beautiful voice to match. I love her and you will too! 10/10
July 2009 - Margot MacDonald Interview
It seems with the worldwide recession that there isn't very much to look forward too! However amongst all the doom and gloom there's a shining light and that shining light is the stunning Margot MacDonald. I've had the pleasure of listening to Margot for around three years now and each time I hear her voice I know that this lady was born to sing. On hearing Margot MacDonalds third album 'WALLS' only added to my belief that Margot is a star in the making. I decided to do a catch up with Margot as it's always a pleasure interviewing her and here's what she had to say for herself.
Street Voice: Hey Margot how has life been treating you then?
Life is pretty sweet. I have a new album out and I’m graduating high school. Looking forward to a year of music-playing and travel.
Street Voice: You've recently released your third album 'WALLS' so how happy were you with the finished product?
I’m hard to please but overall I’m proud of the finished product! I was able to play with a pretty broad range of styles and had a lot of fun making it.
Street Voice: How well has it gone down with the music press and your fans?
Luckily, I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback so far, especially from Europe. The US press has been held back for my launch party at The Hard Rock Café in DC in July. I’m excited to get WALLS out there.
Street Voice: So what gave you the idea to use the 'Immigrant Song' by Led Zeppelin and 'Paint It Black' by the Stones?
Well to start, I absolutely love Zeppelin. My producer, Marco Delmar, actually suggested I try ‘Immigrant Song’ for live performances and, it came out so well, we decided to record it. The story for ‘Paint It Black’ is about the same. I’ve never recorded cover songs before but they’re both great songs by great bands… so I figured why not?
Street Voice: Your own songs where did you get the ideas for the words?
I always write the music before the lyrics so sometimes a lyric line will come out of some non-sense phrase I say while la-la-ing through the melody. For the most part though those phrases make absolutely no sense. Haha. After that, the ideas for my lyrics are a combination of personal experiences, friends’ experiences, and stories I just come up with. I wrote ‘Shattered’ for a drunk driving prevention campaign.
Street Voice: Are your band the same guys that appeared on your second album 'Torn'?
Oh yeah. They’re awesome musicians and great guys. I’ve been playing with Nik Hughes (drums), Ken Barnum (bass), and Joe Nelson (guitar) since I was 14. There’re also a few guest artists. And K.C. Hatton, who plays guitar with me now, joined in the last few recorded songs.
Street Voice: You've come along way since your 2004 release 'Rising' so have you many happy memories?
Being a young artist it’s only natural to grow and change musically along with the rest of you. Though the albums are all pretty different they’ve always represented me at that point in time. I’ve gone through ups and downs like most people (as one could tell by my not always joyful music :P) but mainly I’ve had some great adventures that have led to a lot of happy memories.
Street Voice: So out of all the releases available throughout the world tell our readers in 15 words why they should buy 'WALLS'?
"Rock by a solo female artist with a unique voice and something different to offer." It’s hard to say much in 15 words! Or to sum up your own body of work. I hope folks dig what I’ve put out there.
Street Voice: Now you've gotten new management will there be any shows over here in the latter part of 2009 or even 2010?
I’m now working with Freddie Cannon who started Carrere Records UK. So, with those ties in mind, we’re hoping to find sponsorship for a UK tour either this year or next. Your audiences are always fabulous!
Street Voice: And if you do come over here are you going to sing a cool song for me?
Of course I will sing a cool song for you! Maybe even something new. Depending on my mood. :P
Street Voice: You've also grown in to a very beautiful young lady so will there be any modeling assignments on the cards?
Haha. Well… I enjoy posing for my own promo material and would be open to other things that may come along. But for now I’m just focusing on this whole music thing.
Street Voice: Music and your education takes up your time but when you do get some time off what do you do to chill out?
Whenever I have time off I love to do art. I’ve started to paint and design my own show posters. I also designed the album artwork for WALLS. Other than that I have a solid group of friends that keep me grounded. We have a blast doing anything from to going out to eat, to cooking, to just lounging around…eating. We like to eat.
Street Voice: Apart from playing shows, pushing the album what other plans have you for 2009?
I’m busy writing a bunch of new songs. As you know, I always include a couple of acoustic songs on my rock albums. I love doing both! So I’m thinking of maybe recording an acoustic record next.
Street Voice: Anything you'd like to add?
I’d just like to thank Street Voice for all your support. You are awesome! Hopefully I’ll make it over to your side of the pond sometime soon without having to swim the distance myself :)
Thanks to Margot for doing the interview. If you haven't heard this young lady's music before you have been missing out big time. At just seventeen with three albums under her belt it is very fair to say that Margot MacDonald should be heard. Go on and discover a naturally talented artist that hasn't been spoiled by multi national corporation record labels. Margot MacDonald rocks and I know you'll love her too!
Live Last Night: The Wammies
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Of all the awards ever devised to honor the purveyors of musical excellence, the Wammies are without...Of all the awards ever devised to honor the purveyors of musical excellence, the Wammies are without question the most local, not to mention the most recent.
Last night at the State Theatre in Falls Church, voters of the Washington Area Music Association gathered for the 23rd annual Wammies ceremony, doling out highly genre-specific honors to the hometown heroes of the vibrant local music scene. Mercifully, only about three dozen of the more than 100 Wammies were actually presented onstage; the rest were read roll call-style at the end of the three-plus-hour pageant.
Singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald, winner of last year's New Artist Wammie and this year's Modern Rock Vocalist winner, sang one of her plaintive ballads before leading her band through a gritty cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." MacDonald, who despite her onstage poise and maturity is both 17 years old and a girl, sang it in a register as high as Robert Plant's.
But since Carroll scored more visits to the podium than anyone else, perhaps it's no surprise that he managed the evening's most gracious acceptance speech. After being named songwriter of the year, he encouraged his fellow musicians: "Don't be intimidated by a song you think you could never have written. Write your own song."
-- CHRIS KLIMEK
23rd ANNUAL WAMMIES
The State Theatre
Falls Church, VA
Sunday, February 15, 2009, 8 PM
By Mary Morris
Nothing can warm a cold Washington winter night like a Wammies Awards fest. This year’s tribute to DC’s music movers and shakers of 2008 at the State Theatre was marked by dazzling live rock, jazz, go-go, and folk-electronica performances, Hall of Fame awards to Buck Hill, Elizabeth Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt, special recognition awards to Richard Harrington, Dick Morgan and Nap Turner, multiple wins by Jon Carroll & Love Returns, Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band, and Billy Coulter, the mysterious absence of co-host Kojo Nnamdi, and the best record in recent memory of minimal crowd noise.
First co-host Andrea Roane, morning co-anchor of WUSA-9 News Now, pleased to be able to say “good evening” for a change, introduced the keynote speaker, the Strathmore’s artistic director Shelley Brown, who noted the current economic downturn, especially the hard-hit music industry. Quoting football coach Vince Lombardi (“Tough times never last, but tough people always do”), she asked, “Who knows this better than musicians?” Her advice: “When the going gets tough, go to a show.
“Let’s let the artists lead us into the next chapter of history with their collectively focused creativity and joie de vivre. There’s power in making something from nothing more than talent and effort.”
Brown presented distinguished music journalist Richard Harrington with a special appreciation award for his tireless support of the DC music scene through Woodwind and the Unicorn Times, publications he founded, and the Washington Free Press, Quicksilver Times, the Washington Star, and 30 peerless years at the Washington Post. Harrington, currently working on a book on controversial album covers, said he felt fortunate and blessed to have been able to celebrate and try every way he could to bring area artists’ music to a wider public, adding, “Don’t forget to buy my book when it comes out in 2010!”
The Wammie for Modern Rock Vocalist, presented by Ronnie Newmyer and David Sless of BandHouse Gigs, went to Margot MacDonald who accepted with a shout-out to her band. ...
Radiant Margot MacDonald, last year’s winner of the New Artist of the Year Wammie, announced the 2008 winner, pop rockers Prabir and the Substitutes of Richmond, who were playing at the Galaxy Hut that night.
17-year old Margot MacDonald, an artist in residence at the Strathmore, returned to the stage with her fierce-playing bandmates revealing formidable vocal strength and emotional depth in her powerful heartrending ballad “Hold On” that segued into a spine-tingling cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
Bohanon next brought to the stage Fred Cannon who said, “On behalf of BMI I’m really proud to be here. As the main sponsor, we’re really happy to support this great community - a community that’s really happening. We’ve heard it tonight. Let’s give up applause for all the great bands that have played tonight. Before I thank the wonderful Mike Schreibman who deserves his own applause, I’d also like to thank Mike Jaworek because together they make this community happen.” He named other “pillars” including Jean Bayou, Shelley Brown, Ron Goad, Cathy Fink, Shannon Emamali, and Tom Carrico. “These are people who dedicate their time to making us all look good. We really appreciate what you do.
“We understand that the future is going to be difficult but we’re all going to stick together and make it happen and make sure that our music goes forward.”
Congratulations to all 2008 Wammie Award winners and nominees! Have a great 2009!
22nd Annual Washington Area Music Awards
By Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 18, 2008; Page C01
In Washington, politics and the press always manage to inject themselves into the proceedings, even at a music awards show honoring the best and brightest on the local music scene.
So at a long-standing music awards ceremony like the Wammies, you pretty much expect that at some point, CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is going to take to the stage. After all, there is no moment more quintessential D.C., more inside-the-Beltway, than the sight of Schieffer -- who won a Spotlight Award last night -- rocking at the mike with the local band Honky Tonk Confidential, speak-singing with a country-western twang a little ditty called "TV Anchorman." He also extolled the wonders of the "American dream" -- and promised that after the presidential inauguration next year he'll forswear TV life for a full-time music career. You expect this.
A sort of good-natured chaos reigned at the Washington Area Music Association's 22nd annual awards program, with the action meandering throughout the State Theatre in Falls Church. It was a night to hang out by the bar, schmooze with old friends, indulge in a little networking and, every so often, look up to applaud the happenings taking place onstage.
Meanwhile, Margot MacDonald won new artist of the year, looking a little stunned as she accepted the award.
"The diversity of the musicians in this area, we shouldn't be so surprised," Marco Delmar said as he accepted his award for producer of the year. After all, he said, "we live in the nation's capital."
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Margot MacDonald Interviewed - October 2007 I came across Margot MacDonald's site on MySpace and...Margot MacDonald Interviewed - October 2007
I came across Margot MacDonald's site on MySpace and enjoyed what I heard so an email was sent. I was so impressed with her album 'TORN' that I had to interview this young lady. Despite only turning sixteen Margot has released two albums and a third is to follow in 2008 so I sent her over a few questions and this is what she had to say for herself.
Street Voice: Margot can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about yourself please?
Hey everyone! I'm Margot MacDonald. I'm a singer/songwriter from Washington DC. I've just released my second album, "TORN", which I'm now promoting. Its got a pop-rock feel with lots of heavy guitar.
Street Voice: You're only 15 and yet you've released two albums. So how did all this start out for you?
Actually I just turned sweet 16 ;-). I started writing songs when I was 7 and recording demos when I was 10. When music producer John Jennings heard my tunes he offered to record my first album, "Rising".
Street Voice: So how do the two albums compare to each other? Are they musically different?
Oh yes. They are so different! "Rising" came out when I was 12 and I wrote all the songs on piano. Its much softer, kind of pop folk. After that I started writing on guitar. With "TORN", I was 15, and ready to start rocking out.
Street Voice: I was very impressed with 'TORN' your second album. So how did you feel about the finished product when you first heard it?
I knew I was going in the right direction by turning to rock. And I'm really happy with how well it's been accepted. The transition was seamless.
Street Voice: From my understanding 'TORN' was self-released. Are there any plans to release it through an independent or major record label?
I don't know. I'm open to whatever opportunities may come along but I'm not specifically shopping "TORN". I am already recording new music. Because I'm so young, my voice and writing keep changing, so I constantly want to go back in the studio to record new material.
Street Voice: So what inspired you to write the lyrics that you did for 'TORN'?
It's all little pieces of my life. There's the usual relationship tunes. Some songs are just self-reflective. And "Liberty" is a nod to my political views. You should check out the video. I just write whatever moves me.
Street Voice: Being at school must suck at times especially when you have an excellent album to promote so during school holidays do you get to play/tour much?
I went to this cool school, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where I majored in classical music. So it was a real challenge trying to record "TORN" on weekends and switching from an opera voice to a rock sound. Every school holiday I crammed in as much of my own music as possible. I loved school but balancing it all wasn't easy. I'm now finishing up my last few credits online so I can focus on the music and start touring.
Street Voice: Talking of playing/touring will we ever see you play in Europe?
I certainly hope so! The most attention I get on my MySpace is from Europe. You guys are great! And my mom is from France. Europe will definitely be on my agenda.
Street Voice: Because of your success in writing some great music do you get grief from other teenagers at school etc?
I did a little when I went to a regular public school. Its hard for other kids to understand how much work is involved and some were kind of jealous of my supposed "fame." Haha. It really wasn't an issue at Duke Ellington though because the students there are much more like-minded.
Street Voice: You look really healthy and no doubt will grow up to be a very beautiful woman but do you feel pressured at times when you see pop stars, models and actresses almost starving themselves to death just to stay ahead in the industries they work in?
Food is too delicious! Lol. I pretty much eat what I want and luckily I enjoy healthy foods. Plus I take dance classes and Pilates to stay fit. I'll have a six pack soon. Haha. Playing guitar can be a workout too. So I'm pretty comfortable with myself.
Street Voice: Going back to your music what song means the most to you?
The song I'm currently working on! Always. From "TORN" my favorite song keeps changing depending on my mood. As far as a music vibe I like "Fly Away".
Street Voice: Can you let slip any information regards the Christmas EP you're going to release?
Of course. I was approached about doing this project to support Ground Control, a U.S. drunk driving prevention campaign geared to teens. I am their National Spokesperson. The producer is Jon Carroll and we are writing an original tune for Ground Control to be included on the disc. There will be some traditional carols, the Pretenders' 2000 Miles, and a cool Bob Dylan cover. It will be very bare, spacious and beautiful. And it all goes to support a great cause!
Street Voice: How committed are you to making music work for you?
Oh, just a million percent. Music is my life.
Street Voice: Apart from your music and having to do school what else do you do in your spare time?
After music and schoolwork there's not much free time! I've always had a thing for art. I spend some time with my family. And I try to be a normal teenager. I have amazing friends and Fridays are reserved for chilling.
Street Voice: Anything you'd like to add?
I'm back in the studio working on a new rock project with Marco Delmar. Its definitely harder rock and I love how its coming out! Look for it in January 2008 :-)
Thanks to the gorgeous and cool artist Margot MacDonald for finding the time to do this interview. We at Street Voice will be following this young lady's career and you people looking in are guaranteed to read more about this talented lady in Street Voice.
CD Review - September 2007
Margot MacDonald - TORN
Despite Margot MacDonald still being only 15 she has now released her second album and it's well worth a listen. There's ten power-pop tunes that will keep you entertained throughout. Just listen to Margot's voice alone and you will be left more than impressed that something so great could come out the mouth of a fifteen year old. Not only that but listen to her guitar playing too! The other musicians that appear on this album have done a wicked job in supporting Margot and have certainly brought the best out in her. Just check out songs such as 'Torn', 'We'll Be Alright', 'To The Wind' and 'Falling Star' - they'll blow you away! Not only do you get quality music but you also get a top production and the packaging is second to none. Anyone into power-pop will get so much out this album and for any teenager wanting to make it in this music business will get so much benefit from checking this out.
TORN CD Review
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September 2007 It is tempting to think, given the album title and the pretty face on this CD, tha...September 2007
It is tempting to think, given the album title and the pretty face on this CD, that this is just another Avril Lavigne knock off, but after a few beats it becomes clear that this is not the case. Indeed, some songs are quite commercial; however, the songs all have rough edges, with unusual harmonics, and a non-mainstream voice, which reaches in the direction of Paula Cole to Heather Nova. This could compromise a commercial breakthrough; on the other hand, there is just enough of an edge in Margot's songs and voice that sets her apart. Margot MacDonald has a certain something and her unique sound has a high recognition value that stands out against the masses. Also her compositions are packed with gems. Naturally one could still polish the arrangements and production but, considering that this is such a young artist who stands completely at the beginning of her way, she has put down a substantial debut. I, by the way, found the song "To the Wind" outstanding.
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August 2009 Margot MacDonald WALLS This modern rocker girl is only 17 but she sings like she ...August 2009
This modern rocker girl is only 17 but she sings like she has 40 years of life experience. On her new album, “WALLS,” she showcases a voice that can bring to life a song that is almost twice her age when she covers Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” — and gives it an up tempo kick in the pants to boot.
July 2007 -- Washington DC
Four local artists that should be on your radar, on your calendar and on your iPod:
They say kids don’t listen to the radio anymore, but teenager MacDonald has somehow absorbed all the lessons of Top 40 female vocalists for the past 30 years. Her growls and yowls and wails embody the heritage of everyone from Stevie Nicks to Whitney Houston to Sheryl Crow. Amazingly this is her second album, issued when she was 15, and backing her voice with a lot of straightforward hard rock guitar, much of it played by MacDonald. The lyrics don’t break a lot of new ground, but then, she was only 15. It will be very interesting to see where MacDonald takes her talent as she matures.
-- Joel Sparks
A look at local discs . . . and more
Rock from local 15-year-old up-and-comer Margot MacDonald. Evokes Amy Lee (Evanescence). Lots of potential here — MacDonald has the chops and the pipes. “Fly Away” kicks butt. At Jammin’ Java on May 19.
30 - 120 minute set (with band or solo)
Beautiful Strangers, Call, Changing Times, Colorblind, Feel Free, It's Not Over, King of Hearts, Revolving Door, Someday Monday, Speed of Sound, Straight Talk, To the Ground
(From Walls) Behind Her Walls, Complicated, Freewheelin', Hold On, I Don't Know, The Night, Shattered
(From Torn) Falling Star, Fly Away, Liberty, Quiet Hero, The Mirror, Serendipity, Torn, To the Wind, We'll Be Alright, Who Are You?
(From Rising) Fantasies on Flight, Fly Away, Hold Fast, Life in Rewind, On My Way, Rising, Star Girl, So Good, Venture, Whispers of the Dove
Teardrop - Massive Attack
Lotus Flower - Radiohead
The Book of Love - Magnetic Fields
Twice - Little Dragon
Ballad of Serenity - Joss Whedon
At Least It Was Here - The 88
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
As Long As You Love Me - Backstreet Boys
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
Earth - Imogen Heap
Just Like a Woman - Bob Dylan
Hey Ya - Outkast
Blackbird - Beatles
Distant Sun - Crowded House
Conversation - Joni Mitchell
Just For Now - Imogen Heap
I Hear the Bells - Mike Doughty
River - Joni Mitchell
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Someday At Christmas - Stevie Wonder
Little Drummer Boy