Thirteen year old Amy Macdonald was inspired to play music after witnessing Fran Healy's band Travis at T In The Park in 2000 and back home taught herself to pick out tunes on her father's old guitar. Two years later after following online guitar lessons and having written a number of songs, she was playing gigs in pubs and clubs around Glasgow before sending a demo to a production company run by songwriter and producer Pete Wilkinson who in turn recorded more tracks with her and helped secure a recording contract with Vertigo Records in 2007. The first fruits of the deal were the limited edition single 'Poison Prince' and the normal release 'Mr Rock & Roll' which debuted at No 12 on the UK charts. Macdonald's debut album This Is The Life hit the shops in July 2007, reached the top of the charts in the UK where it was certified double platinum and went on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Subsequent singles from the record were less successful, 'L.A.' failed to break into the Top 40 while the title track peaked at No 28 although it topped the charts in several European countries and is considered to be one of her best and most memorable songs. The singer/songwriter spent the next year promoting the record by playing live around the World and while the album was not a success in the USA it found favour on the Triple A charts through
appearances on TV programmes including The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Her next album was heralded by the release of the untypical 'Don't Tell Me That It's Over', a rousing electric guitar and string lead song mixed by Bob Clearmountain who is best known for his work for stadium acts including Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Macdonald's fellow Scots Simple Minds. Despite the single failing to break into the UK Top 40 the album A Curious Thing debuted in the charts at No 4 and as with its predecessor topped a number of European listings. While several more tracks were issued as singles ('Spark', 'This Pretty Face', 'Love, Love' and 'Your Time Will Come') they were all unsuccessful although the singer/songwriter's credibility was boosted by her involvement with Ray Davies' 2010 collaborations album See My Friends on which she performed a credible version of the Kinks' classic 'Dead End Street'. After touring, which later yielded the album Love Love UK & European Arena Tour 2010 she took a year off, the first free time she'd had since the rollercoaster ride had begun with the release of her debut album.
Revitalised Macdonald returned in 2012 with Life In A Beautiful Light that entered the UK charts at No 2 and once again found favour in continental Europe particularly in Germany and Austria where it topped the charts. The absence of hit singles was unsurprising as although she demonstrably has the ability to write hits she more comfortably fits into the role of the traditional singer/songwriter who is most at home in an album setting, and despite often citing bands like Travis as being a major influence her approach to writing has definite echoes of fellow Scottish artists such as Gerry Rafferty. Blessed with a powerful singing voice that seems at odds with her quiet speaking tones Amy Macdonald had established herself not only as an important artist who has received numerous awards including a Silver Clef, a Tartan Clef, an Echo Award and several Swiss Awards but also a commercially successful one who has sold in excess of five million albums. Regardless of an increasingly sophisticated production and the epic sweep of her later songs Macdonald's music retains her folk-informed roots and her lyrics reveal her to be a keen observer of modern life. Even her love songs are far different to those from most of her contemporaries. While songs like 'Poison Prince' written about singer/songwriter Pete Doherty of The Libertines and Babyshambles from her debut
This Is The Life, the dismissal of celebrity culture on 'An Ordinary Life' from A Curious Thing and the song inspired by her grandmother's Alzheimer's 'Left That Body Long Ago' from Life In A Beautiful Light pose questions that are hardly typical for someone her age. Unafraid to be self-analytical 'In The End', the closing track on the latter album finds her reflecting on whether her life as a songwriter and musician is as meaningful as her sister's role as a doctor; 'There's so much more that I could see, So many places that I'll never see, So many lives that I'll never meet, I'll just dream until we get there in the end'. For her many fans around the World it's to be hoped that she does indeed consider it to be a worthwhile and valuable job.
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