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A Dirty Dozen with TOM MACKELL – March 2021

| 23 March 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “A Charleston, South Carolina-based singer/songwriter whose honest and soulful mix of Americana, pop and rock creates a melodic, smooth sound that’s effortlessly organic. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mackell honed his skills performing at bars and restaurants. He performed back and forth between Philadelphia and Charleston before moving to Nashville in 2015. Diving headfirst into music city, he landed a job at a talent agency while also writing and recording in his free time. He then went on to release five singles from 2016-2018 followed by a five-track EP in 2019 and his latest single “Strange Times” in 2020.” We get Tom to discuss new music, influences, and more…

Photo credit: Taylor Flynn

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Maybe Tonight” began as a message to myself. The song is inspired by love and the feeling of starting something new. I wanted to capture the energy, excitement, and hesitation of it as well — not knowing whether or not things will work out, but hoping that they do. I wrote “Maybe Tonight” with my good friend Tony Lucca and recorded the track with my band and producer in Nashville, TN.  There are no hidden nuggets in this recording. Just make sure you listen to Steven Mullan’s beautiful vocal harmonies — you may miss them on the first listen.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My friends and family introduced me to music at a young age. I started going to concerts in the greater Philadelphia area as a teenager and immediately fell in love with live music. My older siblings would buy me CDs from the mall, and I would trade them with friends at the lunch table in elementary school. My friends and I picked up instruments early on and started forming bands. When we started recording music in our parents’ basements in the 5th and 6th grade, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in music. High school was tough to keep a band together, so I started chasing my dream of becoming a singer-songwriter during my junior year.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I’ve been to dozens of shows over the years and have seen many different artists that continue to inspire me today. It is hard to choose just one live show that guided my musical taste, however, my first few concerts were the most inspiring. I was very lucky to see Elton John and Billy Joel for my first concert when I was very young. My next few concerts were Blink 182, Good Charlotte, and Sum 41 when I was a teenager. Quite a jump in musical styles, but I loved these shows equally the same.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Jackson Browne, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Mayer, and James Taylor.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

James Taylor. I grew up studying his music and his songwriting. It would be a dream to write with him and collaborate on a recording.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Americana, country, folk-rock. Fortunately, I have yet to see a comparison that makes me cringe!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I am usually the first to attempt to cook, but I rely on my bandmates for backup. My drummer and I usually bust out the acoustic guitars first. We all love to indulge in a few cocktails or some local craft beer when we’re hanging out in the studio or after a show.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Meeting Matthew Followill of Kings of Leon in Nashville, TN last year.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Watching my songs come to life in the studio and on stage is my favorite part of being a musician. I love interacting with fans during and after shows. Meeting my listeners face-to-face and hearing how my music has affected them is very powerful. It’s a quintessential element of music creation and, I guess, art in general ― to roughly explain through a raw sense of self who you are and what you feel. If I could no longer be a musician, I would be a doctor, teacher, or small business owner.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

What genre would you classify your music as? Answer: Americana, Folk-Rock, Country. Fortunately, I have yet to get tired of a specific question. I am still pretty new to interviews and press.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There are no specific moments I would redo if given the chance. Everything that I’ve experienced as an artist has brought me to where I am today, and I am very proud of the steps I took to get here.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run. I’ve watched and read a lot about the recording process of this album. I would love to have been in the room when Bruce was making it. I know I could learn a lot from the way he approached a recording session for such an iconic album. There are so many stories and so much energy in this record, it still inspires me every time I listen to it front to back.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss the freedom of being able to travel and perform live concerts. I hope to be able to do this again soon.





Category: News

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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