NE HOT SEAT: CEITIDH MAC
This week we’re continuing our brand new feature on Tipping Point – ‘NE Hot Seat’ – where we sit down with some of the region’s brightest talent on a monthly basis, shine a spotlight on their latest work and find out what they have planned next.
Next up we have Welsh-born Tynesider Ceitidh Mac, who has just released her brand new EP ‘I Reach For The Pen’, following a slew of national press acclaim and BBC Introducing support. With several live dates lined up and new music at the ready, we sat down with Ceitidh and got the lowdown on her musical career so far.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career in music so far?
Hiya! I’m a Welsh born Tyneside artist – I grew up in rural South West Wales, (it was a 45min walk to the nearest bus!). Newcastle seemed massive when I arrived! I’ve been based in the North East for a good few years now and it’s my current musical home. I’m a cellist/singer, I make music that fits somewhere between alt.folk/jazz. I gig solo but more often with my band which has a line up of vibraphone, percussion and synth. We’ve been gigging locally and across the UK for the past 3 years. I also do cello/vocal session work which includes playing cello for NE musicians Martha Hill and vocals for The Dawdler among others.
What can you tell us about your latest release?
My EP ‘I Reach for the Pen’ was released on 27th August! I’m really excited to get it out. It’s a 6 track EP with 4 songs that are woven together with 2 instrumental tracks. It’s the first time I’ve really planned a release to sit together as a body of work and I’m really buzzing with how it’s turned out! The artwork is by Ed Merlin Murray, and the more you look at it, the more detail you see. I’m hoping that’s the same with the music too. So far it’s been playing on BBC Radio 2 Folk Show as well as BBC6 Music, local support from BBC Newcastle and A Listed on Amazing Radio.
What inspires you most when it comes to creating music?
I like writing about the oddities of human nature and the way we live our lives! People watching, being on the move, but also being in still, beautiful places! I’d say changes of scene and interaction with people, as well as seeing live music which made 2020 a very strange year for writing, as I didn’t have any of those things! Some of the songs on the EP ended up being about just that – being left with your own mind and not having the normal input of inspiration.
How did you find the recording process and how did it shape your sound?
I loved the process! It was different from what I’d done before. Generally I’d write the song, arrange it with my band and record the live version. This time I wrote and arranged the songs remotely. This was because of covid restrictions but it ended up being a useful learning curve. We then went into Blank Studios with Sam Grant and recorded the live instruments -vibraphone/percussion (by the incredible Will Hammond) and cello/vocals. I worked with Calum Howard on production, and he also mixed the tracks. He’s amazing! There’s so much scope to create the soundscapes I’d been imagining when working with a producer. I’ve since received some funding to learn more about production which has been eye opening. It’s such a male dominated part of the industry, it definitely needs some gender balancing! I’ve learned a lot from making this EP and working with Calum and am excited to get back in the studio very soon.
What else can we expect from you this year?
We’re going on tour! Honestly, I cannot wait! Looking forward to seeing old faces we haven’t seen for too long, and hopefully lots of new faces too. Our most local gig is Newcastle on 5th November at Bobiks with the mint Heather Ferrier supporting. We’re also playing Glasgow on 11th, London, Bristol, Pembrokeshire and Surbiton. We’re also playing at the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music on 1st October (tomorrow!). I’ve got some exciting collaboration plans and I’m heading back into the studio at the end of this month! Keep your eyes peeled for news 🙂
Where can we find you on socials and keep up to date on developments?
It’s Ceitidh Mac on social media – which, if you’ve only ever seen it written down, is pronounced like Katie! It’s the Scottish way of spelling Ceitidh, thanks to my Scottish Dad.
Check out Ceitidh’s Hot Seat playlist featuring some of the region’s most exciting acts below.
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