THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with singer and songwriter Ingrid Mae.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I grew up in a house that was always filled with music and my Dad played on the weekends for extra cash. As a kid I played the organ and sang in my Dad’s band. I’m not sure anything drew me to the industry as such as I’ve always favoured my relationship with music. I guess if people want to listen I that’s where the industry part comes into play, so for that I’m grateful. Music has always been an outlet for me, so sometimes it plays more of a role or less of a role depending on the time. At this phase of my life the drive to create is all consuming, so that’s great.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? I don’t really think I have a quest to make “great” music. I make music that I really love which and that’s it. I think once you try to make it anything else there’s a disconnect and people can tell. I write all the time and I guess I’m heavily influenced by the 70’s.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish? Having creative control and independence is pretty important to me as well as community. If I can continue to make my music and meet some great local’s I will be very happy.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? We’ve just wrapped three months of gigs and are keen to record again.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? Closing Time is my latest album and it was recorded in early 2020 before the pandemic. Funnily enough it sat for a while after the first lock down until I finally recorded lead vocals. The best part of making the record was making it with friends. The latest single No SOS has a real western vibe and I think people will enjoy it’s moody beat.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? I often turn off my creative process as it becomes too consuming but sometimes I do have to get up in the middle of the night to write a song. I probably write a song a day. I’m not saying they’re all good lol, but there’s a song or a riff in most things. Sometimes it’s annoying and I’ll have to hum or sing it into my audio files in my phone before I can move on again. They’re not all country songs either. Some of them are a bit dark, a bit heavy.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? Well, this question feels loaded. Is it loaded? Lol….Yes and no. I hate the fact that everything needs to be obvious. I love leaving irony or satire. Some music these days just feels a bit like “I made you bacon and eggs honey”. I don’t really want a riddle either but as long as it sounds great, if anyone listens a bit deeper I want them to use a brain. More like “there’s an amazing smell coming from the kitchen, what’s that?”
Success, what is the secret to it? I’m probably the wrong artist to ask this question. People in the music industry act successful all the time but inside they are dying. I think success means different things to different people.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Probably playing Toyota Park at Tamworth this year.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? Def Leppard’s drummer has always been pretty inspiring to me, Joe Cocker, Chris Cornell, Melissa Etheridge and Wynonna Judd.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? I’m working on pre-production for a new album. I hoping it won’t be as long a gap between this album and the next.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years? I’m not sure where I see myself in a few years – the drive to write songs never goes away but I’m not always as excited performing. I have to be in the mood. Maybe being able to write with others is a place I’d be able to grow and challenge myself a bit more.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? My favourite part of music is the writing and recording and the five minutes before I go on stage. The worst part is driving and figuring out what to wear. I guess the reason why is I love the making of the music, the anticipation of a gig. All the other stuff in between feels a bit too much like work.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. I really love Tracy McNeil and I’m calling her Aussie as she lives here now. Tracy McNeal and the Good Life literally saved me during the lockdown. You be the Lightning was just the best album I’ve heard in a long time and it spoke to me. Minor Gold with her partner Dan Parsons is also top shelf. I also love Clancy Pye. She has such a restrained relaxed style but what a songwriter. She was able to write a song about grief that I’ve been trying to write for the last year. I’ve been listening to her EP on high rotation ever since Tamworth. Bec Lavelle is also a fabulous Australian artist who could sing the phone book and make it sound great. Catherine Britt just has a voice that gets me too! Corey Legge and Some Days are always on my playlist and who can go past Ben Ransom. Lucky you only asked for a few.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? I don’t find social media a comfortable space for me to be in and I try to separate me from the artist and the artist from the songwriter in nearly everything I do. But hey, I’m old and I was brought up to keep things to myself and not put a stream of my consciousness up in every Facebook post. It’s very powerful and I’m grateful for it’s reach. My background is IT and Marketing but social media these days has rewired the brain and I fear for the youngsters growing up with it and how dissociative it makes the masses.
How will you continue appealing to the international market? I’m not sure if I appeal to the international market to begin with? When you think about Spotify listeners for example it’s funny you don’t think of them as international VS domestic although they are. I’m lucky in that a few of the radio shows are syndicated overseas and I pick up a few listeners. So many people look for a magic formula to become popular but I’m writing songs that resonate with me.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? In terms of song writing, I’ve never collaborated with anyone. That said, I’ve always wanted to sing a duet with Ronnie Dunn. Not sure this will ever happen.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? I don’t think any artist would want to follow in my footsteps. My art took a back seat till I was in my mid 30’s. That’s pretty outrageous these days given there’s social media and open mics everywhere. Another time, another place maybe my 12 year old self would have had a chance for her songs to fly a bit sooner!
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans? I tend to interact and respond best face to face at gigs. We get to know most people at a small gig so the best part is meeting great people.
Any last words? Life is short.