SONG OF THE DAY: “Mr. Rock & Roll” BY Amy Macdonald

Amy Macdonald (born 25 August 1987 in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. She has sold over 9 million records worldwide. 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 ten in another eleven countries including the United Kingdom. The album reached number one in four European countries: the United Kingdom, Denmark, The Netherlands and Switzerland and sold three million copies worldwide. 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 ninety-two on the Billboard 200.

Amy MacDonald is one of a number of artists including Paloma Faith who appeared with Ray Davies in his 2010 album See My Friends, singing with him on a cover of The Kinks 60’s hit “Dead End Street”. She attended Bishopbriggs High School and is a self-taught musician. She started playing her father’s guitar after being inspired by Travis at the T in the Park Festival in 2000, where she heard Travis’ song “Turn” and wanted to play it herself. She started playing in pubs and coffee houses around Glasgow at 15, including the Brunswick Cellars on Sauchiehall Street. Macdonald sent a demo CD in response to an advertisement placed in the NME by a new production company set up by songwriters Pete Wilkinson and Sarah Erasmus. 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. Wilkinson then spent around eight or nine months recording demos with Amy at his home studio with a view to securing a record deal for his new client. In 2007, Macdonald 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.

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. This is the Life, reached No. 92 on the US Billboard 200. The single, “This is the Life” reached No. 25 on the US Billboard Triple-A radio airplay charts. 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, “L.A.”, missed the top 40 at No. 48, but managed No. 5 in the Scottish singles chart.

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. 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. “What Happiness Means To Me” is dedicated to her footballer fiancé Steve Lovell, 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. There is also a track about Michael Jackson and one dedicated to her late grandparents. The tracks were recorded at Paul Weller’s BlackBarn Studios in Surrey.

Macdonald cites Travis as her biggest influence. Other influences include The Killers and the Libertines. In 2008, Macdonald became engaged to retired football player Steve Lovell and consequently attended many Falkirk F.C. matches, the club for whom he was playing at the time. The couple split amicably in June 2012. Macdonald is also a supporter of Rangers F.C. In February 2013, she appeared in the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment of BBC’s Top Gear, driving a Kia Cee’d to a time of 1:44.4, the fastest lap time recorded for a female star at that time.