Meet Aaron Mcdonald: Acoustic Artist on the Rise

Meet Aaron Mcdonald, an up and coming acoustic artist from Illinois who is beginning to become known due to his Facebook presence and wonderfully memorable songs.  Aaron has just released a debut EP entitled Lyrics & Love Letters on Itunes and has played quite a few shows in and around New Lenox.  Fans of acts such as Never Shout Never and Stephen Jerzak are sure to appreciate the Aaron’s musical talents and impressive compositions.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with Aaron Mcdonald, so read on and catch up with a promising new artist…

Introduce yourself, how old you are, and how long you have been writing and performing music.
Hi, I’m Aaron McDonald, I’m 18 years old and I’ve been singing and writing music for just a little over a year now.

Where are you from and what is your local music scene like there? Any local bands you could recommend?
I’m originally from Charleston SC, but I recently moved to New Lenox, Illinois, and the music scene here is going a little downhill with the fact that a lot of venues are closing down, but there is a lot of talent out here! I would recommend checking out Joe Sforza, Jaded, and Maybe Not Tonight, they’re really cool guys. All local artists with a lot of a talent.

Have you ever played in a full band before and would want to expand your project into a full band?
Actually I’ve played in more of a hardcore band about a year ago as a drummer, which is around when I started getting into writing and singing, so i started my own project under my name. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about getting together a full band for the near future. I would still have the same style and play all my songs that are acoustic, but I think bringing in a full band creates more for a live performance, being able to jump around and get into it with the crowd, and that I’m excited for!

What was the name of the very first song you ever wrote, about how old were you at the time, and what was the song about?
Face Of A Lover was actually the first song I ever wrote; I had just turned 17 I believe, and it was about a hard break up I had with a girl a few months before, and I just couldn’t get it off my mind, so I wrote it all down haha

Please select two songs from your EP Lyrics & Love Letters and what inspired you to write the lyrics?
Hmmm, Moving on, and StandingStrong are two songs that I put a lot of emotion into. Moving on was after my break up with my girlfriend of a year and a half, which was really hard. I had so many things I wanted to say to her, but I decided I couldn’t let it stop me from being happy or from pushing forward in life, so set some chords and just started singing the words that were on my heart, that things might be tough, but I’m gonna move forward and find myself.

Then there’s StandingStrong. Growing up in a military family I moved around a lot and saw a lot of things, met a lot of people, and saw a lot of pain. And what always got to me, was seeing/meeting so many people that think its okay to treat others like dirt, and that so many of the people being treated this way just accepted the the fact, gave in and let it happen.  So I wrote StandingStrong as a message to all these people. The song is using an abusive relationship as an example, saying that you CAN leave, to stand strong and stand up for yourself in any type of abusive relationship or situation.

There is a video on Youtube of you and your mother singing Amazing Grace and she has a really good voice. How supportive is your mother of you pursuing a music career?
Yeah my mom really is an amazing singer (: She has always been veryyy supportive of my music from the beginning. Over the first that I started really getting singing/songwriting, she got me my first good acoustic guitar, got me my first mic and pro tools to start recording on my old laptop, and eventually got herself a piano, and we would have some pretty awesome jam sessions in the living room haha.

Any strange or unusual Facebook stories that you could share?
Hmmmm, actually yes haha, At one point, right after I started getting a little more attention on my music Facebook, there was a girl (not saying any names) who basically stalk attacked me online lol for a while; she would send around 15 messages a day, some of them being some pretty weird pictures, and asked for my home address haha it was a little suprising haha.

Do you ever get nervous when you go up and perform with just you and an acoustic guitar?
Not so much anymore; I mean I still do a little, but no where near as bad as when I first started playing shows. Haha I remember while playing my first ever set on stage, my hands were shaking so bad it was hard to strum, but now days i just try to have as much fun as possible on stage, and I always do (:

At this point, have you had any label interest at all?
No label interest yet, but I’ve only started using my music Facebook, promoting, and just plain getting my music out there since around the past spring break, early March. So hopefully with my new EP, playing more shows, and more people spreading the word, some labels will start noticing or taking interest.

Have you met any of your influences such as Never Shout Never, Steven Jerzak, or Cody Carson of Set It Off, and do you know if they’ve heard your music or have commented on it or your covers of their songs?
Actually June 16th I get to play a song on stage and possibly some acoustic songs afterwards with Cody Carson from Set It Off. I was able to hangout with Cody right after one of his shows. We played one of his older songs “Oh Marjorie” and then I sang him some of my songs, he was impressed and told me I had potential and that moment then I knew that the only thing I wanted to do was music. The fact that he was so down to earth, inspiring and supportive made me look up to him as a musician and a person. And he’s commented on one of my youtube videos. I’ve also met Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never once, we didn’t talk long but I could definitely tell he was really cool guy.

What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
Just look at the bright side of things. Life is what you make it, you can let the negative things bring you down, or you can grow from them and become an even stronger, happier person.

Any final words of wisdom?
Happy endings exist as long as you open your eyes to see it.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton – Photos by Michelle Hansen Photography)

Aaron Mcdonald on Facebook

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