I’ve gotten to know Steph Mac over the past few months and it’s been a pleasure! Not only is her voice capable of causing goosebumps but she is kind and funny. To know her is to want to know more…mysteriously beautiful!
List the top three priorities you have in life right now?
I’m currently trying to pay off a large pile of debt, while raising enough money to record and support my next album (not a cheap endeavour)… not to mention living expenses (I love saying “not to mention” immediately before mentioning something)… So that’s taking the brunt of it, I’d say. Also trying to find time for friends and family and to finish writing the songs for said album. Balance is a thing I constantly struggle with. I think most people can relate to that (balance).
What do you consider your best attribute?
My newfound ability to assert myself. I used to be more of a cowerer.
What is a common misperception of you?
That I’m shy. I don’t consider myself shy. I don’t speak a mile a minute the second I meet you, and share my life’s story (unless maybe I’ve had too much Jameson’s). I just like to take a beat and assess before deciding how open to be with people, and how soon to be so. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I’m just plain exhausted, and can’t think of anything interesting to say. I don’t want to bore you.
When you were young what do you wish to become?
A mermaid. Or a veterinarian that could talk to animals. So yeah, a mermaid or Dr Doolittle.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still writing and playing music. I’m a dual Canadian/New Zealand citizen, so I’d love to get out to NZ/AUS for some touring in the next couple of years.
What are your fears for the upcoming next 5 years?
I’m always afraid I’ll stop feeling inspired to write. My favourite songs seem to come out of nowhere. It’s like the muses tap my shoulder and I have to channel whatever they’re offering in the moment. It’s an amazing feeling, but its randomness can be nerve-wracking. It doesn’t mean I can’t write and find enjoyment the process when that feeling isn’t present, but it’s always more satisfying when it is…
What emotion would you most like to eliminate?
Can we call stress an emotion? Cause that.
Can you remember a time when you felt like giving up/quitting?
At least five minutes of every day.
What happened? How did it change?
I didn’t quit and the feeling passed. Every time I feel like throwing in the towel, something happens. Someone tells me how much they can relate to something I’ve said or written, or some member or organization within the music industry throws me a bone, and I’m right back in it again. Music is so much a part of who I am. It’s how I process my stress/frustration, grief, happiness, etc. I’m not sure that I have the option to quit. I guess one day I might just stop trying to be all professional about it. …but this is not that day. Also, it’s fun. Performing, touring, playing with others. Fun.
How do you deal with rejection?
Oh man. In this industry, you just have to take the positive “lesson” (constructive component… if there is one) from the situation and let the rest roll off. Somebody will love what you do, and somebody will hate it. You have an opinion, so it’s pretty ridiculous to live with the illusion that yours is the only valid one. Absolutely let yourself feel bummed for a minute, though. But don’t carry it forever. That’s toxic.
What makes you angry?
The stupid F%$#*)! need people feel to cut each other down. It’s petty and childish and disgusting and get over yourself for F%$#@ sake. Also, social or “peer” pressure. Especially drug/alcohol related. Yes, I drink (not often to excess), but if you don’t want to, why should that bother me?
What is the best thing in your life right now?
Too many things to count. I’d say the best thing in my life pretty consistently is the people. I’ve somehow managed to surround myself with amazing, genuine, passionate, supportive, no-bullshit personalities. They keep me challenged, honest, and so so happy.
Who inspires you?
See my previous answer. (I REALLY love you guys.)
Can you share a secret with me??
I had to answer every other question on the list before returning to this one. Uhhm… I can’t think of anything juicy. I was a vegetarian for 11 years. I still strongly dislike ham. Does that count? Bacon: good. Pork (especially of the pulled variety): good. Ham: yuck. Dense, moist, fleshy texture. Can’t get behind it.
What is on piece of advice you could give someone entering the music business?
Think about what kind of artist you want to be. I mean REALLY think about it. Listen to your influences. Dissect their music. The song structures (verse-chorus-bridge-etc.), the melody choices, the lyrics in terms of subject and rhyme/rhythm scheme. Learn everything you can about “The Song”, and then write one. Then write another. Keep writing. Write about things you understand. People can tell when you’re lying. The song is the most important thing. If you don’t have that, then you’re not ready to be in the music business yet. Ultimately, as much as we hate to say it, “The Song” is the product. You can’t do the business without the product. Are you a solo artist? Are you a band? Are you a solo artist that plays with a backing band or are you acoustic? Next, play the songs. Start local. Go to open mics. Talk to other artists. Book (e-mail or call… don’t FACEBOOK unless you have a personal tie to the representative) a venue or a promoter. If you can go to them with a bill (list of other reliable/established acts willing to play a show with you), even better. Know your audience/genre before you decide on other artist/venues/promoters to contact, and be realistic. Your first show probably won’t be at a big theatre or stadium… unless you win some big contest. Yes. Enter contests, if one appeals to you. They can be fun. If you do enter a contest: READ THE FINE PRINT. There’s gonna be a contract. Understand it. People always ask me “where you get a manger”. You’re probably not going to get a manager until you’ve got something for them to manage. Get shows first. Go on a tour or something. Don’t expect to make money on your tour, but do get all of the information about your shows in writing/e-mails/something you can take to the venue, hand to a representative, and say, “This is what we agreed on.” Get contracts if possible (and they are challenging to get from most). …I have to stop here for now, or I’m going to end up writing a novel. I already sound preachy enough.
How do you spend your alone time?
Honestly, I don’t get much alone tIme… except right now because I’m sick. The time I do get, I like to write, watch Netflix, take baths, play music, read, sip coffee, sit in the sun (or, let’s face it, in this city: rain) and people watch. Nothing ground-breaking there.
How often do you spend time alone?
I try to spend at least an hour a day with myself. A pretty big part of my job is finding time to write, and that’s always been a somewhat solo endeavour for me.
When was the last time you cried?
I was overwhelmed and overworked. When I get like that, I tend to isolate myself. I’ve never been great at being openly vulnerable around people. In this instance, I broke down in front of a friend, and he knew exactly what I already knew I needed and gently enforced that. So kudos, human connection. You’re alright.
A mantra/song lyric/motto that you live by?
Whenever I feel the quit creeping up within me, without fail, Dylan Thomas pops into my head with his classic: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”