Tuanne Mac

Tuanne Mac

BandJazzAcoustic

Deriving her inspiration from the ‘old, great romantics’ like Ella Fitzgerald and Anton Jobim, her sound invites comparisons with the likes of Norah Jones and Katie Melua with shades of Eva Cassidy and Carla Bruni.

Biography

BIOGRAPHY

‘I’m an old school romantic,’ declares singer-songwriter Tuanne Mac in infectious tones.

‘Nobody’s innocent anymore. Everything these days is about sex or violence. But I just want to write songs that touch people in a genuine way, something real and honest. I never want to sell out or pretend to be something that I'm not.

‘I love simple pleasures - walking by the sea, or in the countryside, feeling the grass beneath my feet – that’s a real luxury these days, right?’

The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Tuanne grew up in a sleepy town in Northamptonshire listening to her parents’ old French romantic songs on the cassette radio. She grew up playing the piano but picked up the classical guitar after hearing Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos on the radio.

'As soon as I heard his pieces I felt something resonate in my whole being. It was the same feeling as when I listen to Jobim or Lalo Schifrin (soundtrack composer for Mission Impossible, Dirty Harry, Enter the Dragon). Something so majestic and passionate that it just consumes you. They take you on a journey and that's what I want to do with my own music.

'With my songs I want to tell a story - the words are very important to me. I love to sing, singing is a joy to me but I consider myself a songwriter first; for me there is no song without the story. When I write a song it is always with a scene in my head, a frame frozen in time and I am trying to convey what the scene is about, what is the mood, if it is raining outside, what has happened to the two lovers, all these things have such significance upon how I am going to write the song and what words I am going to use.'

An unashamed romantic, Tuanne writes songs that movies were made for, songs that seem so hauntingly familiar you wonder if you have not heard them before.

‘Orchestral soundtracks have a big influence on the way I write. I try to write as if I can hear a big symphony orchestra in the background. I have a weakness for strings and horns. Noone seems to write like that anymore; who knows,' she laughs, 'maybe I'm stuck in a 70s timewarp but if I am it's a great place to be.'

‘I do love all that sad, moody, tear-jerking stuff,’ she admits. 'I write my songs like an old French black and white movie starring Brigitte Bardot sitting on a train, gazing sadly out of the window because her lover’s left her.’

And her debut album, My Secret Love reflects her heart-on-sleeve approach.

The richly atmospheric title track sets the mood with a vow of forbidden love containing the lines: ‘To love someone is not a crime...and I’m happy my dear to love you with all of my heart’.

Tuanne’s unashamed romanticism is refreshing in an age of Pussy-Cat Dolls style sex appeal and media-driven trendy cynicism.

Deriving her inspiration from the ‘old, great romantics’ like Ella Fitzgerald and Anton Jobim, her sound invites comparisons with the likes of Norah Jones and Katie Melua with just a hint of Eva Cassidy and Carla Bruni.

Yet Tuanne is anything but conventional.

Quoting from a plethora of figures from John Lennon to Gandhi and a homosexual junkie called William S. Burroughs during our interview, the young singerl is philosophical about life.

‘I don’t really believe in structured religion because that just seems to divide people, she says. I think we should just extend love to everyone because everyone is just a mirror image of ourselves, right?

‘I think we’re all connected and if you take away all the labels and boundaries, we’re more alike than we’re dissimilar, like, we’re all one big family under the sky.’

Sounds a bit hippy? I venture.

‘Well I don’t smoke weed and I do wash if that’s what you mean!’ she laughs. ‘But I am kind of free thinking.

‘I did English literature at university so I’m in love with the idea of self-expression. I’m also fascinated by unexplained phenomena, ancient myths and occultism and I would definitely say I had a darker side.

Nowhere is this more evident than in ‘Doll of Pins,’ a spooky, French-style number about a jilted girl who makes a voodoo doll of her ex-boyfriend and drives him to destruction with it.

‘It’s like revenge on every single ex-boyfriend that was ever horrible to me, she laughs, tongue placed firmly in cheek.

Despite wanting to be a singer-songwriter from the age of eight, Tuanne told nobody about her secret dream fearing they would laugh at her.

And she admits that her parents, while not disapproving, feel her love of music is a passing faze. ‘They probably won’t take me seriously until I’m on TV or my face is on the front of a magazine of something,’ she laughs. ‘And my big brother calls me Joey from Friends because he doesn’t consider making music a proper job.’

Tuanne brushes off this playful negativity with a smile. ‘I think you have to make your own luck in life by believing in yourself and working hard. But I’m also quite Buddhist in my thinking. Sometimes if you

Discography

My Secret Love EP is available through the website www.tuannemac.com and through Itunes. 'Hey Butterfly' has featured in 'Introducing on BBC2 Radio with TOm Robinson'

If you were looking for it in a shop you would probably find it close to Feist, Regina Spektor, not too far away from Bjork, but nearer to Serge Gainsbourg and within earshot of Francis Lai. Burt Bacharach would be a suntanned neighbour, Eva Cassidy would be a well-meaning aunt and Lalo Schifrin would be my lover. Quentin Tarantino would be on the till and Nick Cave would escort you out of the door with a sandwich board across his chest saying ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY whilst Tom Waits sits drinking in the corner playing an out-of-tune piano