Amy Macdonald



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Amy Macdonald
Amy Macdonald 2010 2.JPG

Macdonald performing live in Stockholm, 2010.
Background information
Birth name Amy Elizabeth Macdonald
Born (1987-08-25) 25 August 1987 (age 29)
Origin Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboard
Years active 2007–present
Labels Virgin EMI, Vertigo, Mercury, Melodramatic Records

Amy Elizabeth Macdonald (born 25 August 1987) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. She has sold over 9 million records worldwide.[citation needed] Macdonald released her debut album This Is the Life in 2007. The singles “Mr. Rock & Roll” and “This Is the Life” from it were chart hits. The latter charted at number one in six countries, while reaching the top 10 in another 11 countries. The album reached number one in four European countries–the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland–and sold three million copies worldwide.[1] Moderate success in the American music market followed in 2008. She was a guest on shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, where she performed two singles from the album, and This Is the Life reached number ninety-two on the Billboard 200.

Macdonald’s second album, A Curious Thing, was released on 8 March 2010.[2] Its lead single “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” was released in March 2010; it peaked at number forty-five on the UK Singles Chart, and also went on to perform well in other European countries. Five singles have since been released from A Curious Thing. Macdonald is one of the artists who appeared with Ray Davies on his 2010 album See My Friends; she sang with him on a cover of The Kinks’ 60s hit “Dead End Street“. Her third album, Life in a Beautiful Light, was released on 11 June 2012.[3] It supplied three singles: “Slow It Down“, which became a number forty-five hit on the UK Singles Chart; “Pride“, and “4th of July“.

On 17 February 2017, Macdonald released her fourth studio album Under Stars which entered at number two on the UK Album Chart and peaked within the top ten of the album charts in Germany and New Zealand.

Early life[edit]

Amy Elizabeth Macdonald attended Bishopbriggs High School in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland.[4] After being inspired by Travis at the T in the Park Festival in 2000, she heard Travis’ song “Turn” and wanted to play it herself.[5] She bought a Travis chord book, and started playing on her father’s guitar, teaching herself how to play at only 12 years old.[6] Soon afterward she began composing her own songs, the first being called “The Wall”.[6][7] She started playing in pubs and coffee houses around Glasgow at the age of 15,[8] including the Brunswick Cellars on Sauchiehall Street.[9]



Macdonald on stage at T on the Fringe After Party at The Caves, Edinburgh.

Macdonald sent a demo CD in response to an advertisement placed in the NME[8] by a new production company set up by songwriters Pete Wilkinson and Sarah Erasmus.[10]

In an interview with HitQuarters, Wilkinson said he was “literally aghast” at her songwriting abilities when first he heard Macdonald play the songs “This Is the Life” and “Mr Rock n Roll”.

I said, “Amy, who wrote those songs?” And she said, “I did.” I said, “No, you didn’t,” giggling, hoping she really did. She said, “I bloody well did!” I told her she was extraordinarily talented, and the moment she sang those songs I remembered her voice and the hooks, which out of 500 [demos submitted] was a very good sign.

— Pete Wilkinson, [10]

Wilkinson then spent around eight or nine months recording demos with Macdonald at his home studio with a view to securing a record deal for his new client. In 2007 she signed a contract with Vertigo.

Macdonald received her first major press coverage when she questioned whether the 2007 winner of The X Factor, Leon Jackson, was suffering from tonsillitis, referring to it as “lazyitis”. Macdonald had tonsillitis at the same time but still performed at Glasgow and at the BBC’s Hogmanay Live show the same night.[11]

2007–09: This Is the Life[edit]

Macdonald performing in 2009

In 2007, Macdonald released her debut album, titled This Is the Life. The album sold 3 million copies, and reached No. 1 in the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark.[12][13]This Is the Life reached No. 92 on the US Billboard 200.[14] The single, “This Is the Life” reached No. 25 on the US Billboard Triple-A radio airplay charts.[15]

The first single from the album, “Poison Prince“, was only a limited release. The second single, “Mr. Rock and Roll“, became Macdonald’s first top 40 song charting at No. 12 in the United Kingdom. However the third single, “LA“, missed the top 40 at No. 48.

The fourth and most successful single, “This Is the Life“, charted at No. 28 in the UK, and was No. 1 in five other European countries[citation needed]. The single was awarded Platinum in Germany and Belgium and Gold in Spain and Switzerland. It was also chosen as the theme song for the Polish legal drama series “Prawo Agaty” (Agatha’s Law). The fifth single, “Run“, gave Macdonald her second lowest chart position in the UK at No. 75. However, “Run” charted at No. 36 in Germany. The sixth and final single was the re-release of “Poison Prince“; it charted at No. 148 in the UK, Macdonald’s lowest chart position.

The album’s track “Youth of Today” was chosen as the first single featured on Bebo/iTunes’ “Free Single of the Week” program.[16]

She appeared as a musical performing guest on British and foreign shows including The Album Chart Show, Loose Women, Friday Night Project, Taratata (France), and This Morning. She won the best newcomer award at the Silver Clef Awards.[17] She has appeared on several US talk shows such as The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2008), where she performed “Mr. Rock and Roll” and also The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2008) where she performed her hit single, “This Is the Life“.[18]

2010–11: A Curious Thing[edit]

Macdonald outside the O2 Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2010.

Macdonald began writing songs for her second album in spring 2009, in a brief break from her touring commitments. For the first time she began poring through her old notebooks, looking at song ideas, unlike her debut which consists mainly of songs that she wrote straight away.[19] Many of the tracks were inspired by real-life personalities or events from her everyday life. Contrary to some reports, she did not write “Spark” for murdered toddler James Bulger after watching a TV programme on his murder.[20] “What Happiness Means to Me” is dedicated to her footballer fiancé Steve Lovell,[21] while “An Ordinary Life” is inspired by the “Z-list celebs” she saw flocking around Scots-born Hollywood actor Gerard Butler at a party he held in Glasgow late 2009 to mark the opening of his film Law Abiding Citizen.[19] There is also a track about Michael Jackson and one dedicated to her late grandparents.[21] The tracks were recorded at Paul Weller’s BlackBarn Studios in Surrey.[22]

Macdonald started working on her second album in the year of 2009.[23] She said “Some of the sounds are just amazing and we’ve managed to persuade one of my favourite artists to whack some stuff down on them, but you’ll have to wait and see.”[24] The second album, titled A Curious Thing, was released on 8 March 2010.[25]

It was preceded by the release of the first single, “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over“, a week earlier on 1 March 2010. The single was released to UK radio on 11 January. Amy performed the new single on the Simon Mayo Show on BBC Radio 2 on the same day.[26] “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” has been released to radio in countries like UK, Switzerland, Germany and France.[27] The album’s second single “Spark” was released on 10 May 2010[28] on digital download format. Macdonald also confirmed that she would tour the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe in 2010.[29]

The album’s third single “This Pretty Face” was released on 19 July 2010. Also, Macdonald confirmed she would embark on a tour, entitled The Love Love Tour. Amy MacDonald is one of a number of artists who appear with Ray Davies in his 2010 album See My Friends. She sings with him on “Dead End Street“.

2011–15: Life in a Beautiful Light[edit]

Macdonald’s third album, Life in a Beautiful Light, was released on 11 June 2012.[3] Three songs from the album were released as singles: “Slow It Down“, “Pride” and “4th of July“.[3] She told BBC News that Pride was written to describe her feelings about performing Flower of Scotland at Hampden Park prior to Scotland international football matches.

Macdonald wrote the last track on the album, In The End, at the end of her previous tour and Life in a Beautiful Light was then recorded in Surrey. It was produced by Pete Wilkinson and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, who previously worked on her debut album.[citation needed] On 2 June 2012 she sang her song “Slow It Down” with the finalist of the second season of the Polish version of The X Factor, a girl group The Chance.

2016–present: Under Stars[edit]

In November 2016 Macdonald announced her new album Under Stars would be released on 17 February 2017. A video of an acoustic version of new album track Down By The Water was also released. She performed live on BBC Scotland‘s Hogmanay 2017 show where she debuted her upcoming single “Dream On”.

Musical style[edit]

Reviewers have described Amy as softly spoken but with a booming singing voice.[30] Her vocal range is contralto.[31]

Macdonald cites Travis as her biggest influence.[32] Other influences include The Killers[33] and the Libertines.[34]

Personal life[edit]

On 18 July 2008, Macdonald became engaged to football player Steve Lovell and consequently attended many Falkirk matches, as he was playing with the club at that time.[13][32][35] The wedding was postponed so that Macdonald could focus on her music career.[36] The couple split amicably in June 2012.[37] Macdonald is a Rangers supporter. [38] Macdonald announced in January 2016 that she was engaged to former Aberdeen, Rangers and current St Johnstone footballer Richard Foster.[39]

Macdonald is also a supporter of Scottish Independence.[40]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Macdonald won Best Newcomer at the 2008 Tartan Clef Awards[41] and Best Newcomer at the 2008 Silver Clef Awards.[42] In December 2008 she was voted “Scottish person of the year” by The Daily Record.[43]

Macdonald performed, along with U2, at the German 2009 Echo Awards, where she won an award in the category “Best International Newcomer”.[44][45] She also won Best International Album and Best International Song at the 2009 Swiss Music Awards.[46]

In 2010 Macdonald won “best album” for A Curious Thing, at the annual Tartan Clef awards on 20 November in Glasgow.[47] Also, Macdonald won “best international album Rock/Pop” with A Curious Thing at the Swiss music awards in March 2011.[48] Furthermore, Macdonald won “best international Rock/Pop Female” at the Echo Awards.[49]

On 23 August 2013 she performed at the 46th Sopot International Song Festival in Poland with her songs “This Is The Life” and “Slow It Down”. She was awarded there a special prize by the Radio RMF FM.[50]

In 2013 Macdonald was shortlisted for the Scottish Fashion Awards “Scottish Fashion Icon 2013”.[51] She was shortlisted again in 2014 and won the award.[52]

Year Award Category Result
2015 Scottish Music Awards King Tut’s Songwriting Award Won
2014 Scottish Fashion Awards Scottish Fashion Icon Won
2013 Scottish Fashion Awards Scottish Fashion Icon Nominated
2013 Echo Awards Best International Rock/Pop Female Nominated
2011 Swiss Music Awards Best International Album Rock/Pop – ‘A Curious Thing’ Won
2011 Echo Awards Best International Rock/Pop Female Won
2010 Tartan Clef Award Best Album – ‘A Curious Thing’ Won
2009 Swiss Music Awards Best International Album – ‘This Is The Life’ Won
Best International Song – ‘This Is The Life’ Won
Echo Awards Best Newcomer International Won
Best International Female Nominated
Single of the Year for “This Is the Life Nominated
NRJ Music Awards International Album of the Year for This Is the Life Nominated
International Revolution of the Year Nominated
2008 Daily Record Scottish Person of the Year Won
2007 Silver Clef Award Best Newcomer Won



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