INTERVIEW | Tara McDonald – I’m a poundland girl!
One of hardest working vocalists, musicians and gay icons known to man Tara McDonald is almost ready to unleash her debut album – but this won’t have been the first time you’ve heard her steel-like vocals. Remember the Armand Van Helden hit MY MY MY back in 2005 – yes that’s her, remember the Axwell stonker FEEL THE VIBE Yes that’s her, David Guetta DELIRIOUS? Yep that’s her. Gay boys I present… Tara, performing at Prides around the UK in 2014.
Sooooooo Tara, since our last interview, what have you been up to?
It’s been a crazy year, lots of touring, finishing my album (which will be released this year on Mercury/Universal), writing songs for other artists and continuing to work on my radio show called “I Like This Beat”. The radio show is now weekly on Gaydio radio every Sunday at 9pm in the UK and every Friday on JemmOne radio. Its also now weekly in over 50 countries and on 56 FM stations worldwide and still growing! I’m actually going to call my album “I Like This Beat” too.
Oh and I also now have a cute little dog, she’s a miniature Schnauzer called Annie and she’s featured in my new music video.
Tell us a little more about your single Shooting Star… Some of it’s in French…. Ooooo la la!
That’s right I’ve made a duet with the French Canadian singer Zaho called “Shooting Star” it’s now in the top 15 on French radio and I’m here in Paris today on promotion. Zaho is really cool, she’s like the French Alicia Keys and has made 6 studio albums and sold platinum so I was very honoured that she wanted to work with me and make a record together. I co wrote and produced the song with Duvall and Maegan Cottone which are the team behind Little Mix’s hit song Move. Shooting Star is written from the heart and very personal to me as it’s all about my truth, going for the things I want in life and making them happen and to stop being afraid. It’s a really positive song and I guess I wrote it as I needed to hear this message to push myself forward. Zaho had just come out of a long relationship and her part of the song is about going through hard times and coming out the other side stronger.
The video for Shooting Star is very true to my life, the shooting took place in East London around my neighbourhood and I wanted to highlight an issue that’s really important to me, equality (for love, for race, for gender). I really wanted to show people of all races in the clip and I also have a scene in the clip with a gay wedding and my dog got to be a princess for the day in a chauffeured car wearing a crown and a pearl necklace.
Shooting Star – video clip youtube.com/watch?v=7eoh0iL1gPo
You’re constantly travelling around the world – what are your essentials that you have to take – any secret tips for getting upgraded?
I always say good manners take you places, I would like people to remember me for being kind and not for that rude bitch on the plane. Having said that if you are a push over in life, you will be pushed over. Being typically English complaining doesn’t come naturally to me and I could easily sit in silence, but luckily it does come naturally to my amazing French tour manager who can eloquently express himself and so now I’m always upgraded or given compensation for any service that’s not up to par and I still get to be the nice one. If anyone wants to borrow him for a road trip just tweet me @taramcdonaldTV.
Essentials that I always take are sunglasses and a few pairs coz I think no matter how tired you are sunglasses are an instant glamour reviver! I’m also really into my vintage 90’s Junior Jean Paul Gaultier plaid jacket which is massive and cozy so perfect for travelling coz I always get cold on the plane. Also I have a classic Chanel handbag which is the best organiser, there’s so many dividers in the bag that I’m organised and fabulous 😉 I’m a big fan of MakeUpForever cosmetics and they have a great range of waterproof and long lasting products which stay put morning to night so perfect for me, it’s not available in shops in the UK yet, only online, but I always get mine in Paris or when I’m touring in America.
Now, you’ve gotten yourself a bit of a gay fan base… (naturally!) Are we going to be seeing a lot more campness from the McDonald this year?
Well, I should co co! I’ve been splashing out on lots of new costumes and have found a great designer that I collaborate with to create some incredible one off pieces for big events that I’m performing in called EABurns who also makes incredible jewellery. Some of my favourite events I’ve performed at are gay events, I really look forward to Pride and are so grateful for the gay community for opening its arms to me and I can’t wait till the next time.
The secret to youth is?
Botox! No not really (although that can help) I think the secret to youth is doing something that you love. I think my job keeps me young because it never feels like work and I’ll happily spend 24 hours on a plane just so I can sing to people or spend days in a basement studio with no windows (which would be hell to some people) but feels amazing to me as I’m creating new music.
What do you think the hot trends for 2014 are going to be?
Musically speaking I think more deep house and 90’s inspired tracks. Fashion wise I was hoping that Buffalo shoes are gonna make a big comeback as I’ve bought quite a few pairs on eBay, I think I’m having an early midlife crisis!… My other prediction is my album “I Like This Beat” being massive!
You’ve done a few gigs in Russia, have you managed to connect with any gay fans whilst out there?
It’s funny you should mention that as I’m going to Moscow this month and I’m very interested to perform there, my tour manager that’s coming with me on this trip is gay. I have performed in a gay club in Moscow last year but of course it wasn’t openly a gay club… It’s a real backward step that Russia has taken and has shocked the rest of the civilised world with its new policies. I started working with a gay charity last year called Warriors for Love in The Netherlands in conjunction with Amnesty International, which aims to promote equality for love no matter who you love worldwide. It’s amazing to hear about the work they are doing and it’s so easy to forget how lucky we are in Europe to the freedom we have and the equal rights we have compared to other places in the world.
Marry Snog Avoid: Justin Bieber, Boy George, Jessie J?
I think I’d snog Jessie J, Marry Boy George as I know he’ll keep me laughing even though I think our sex life would be non existent for obvious reasons and I would avoid Justin Beiber (not because of him as an artist, we performed together in Paris last year as we are both on the same record label and he was amazing live) I just think it’s cruel to have a monkey as a pet, so not down with that.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never eat yellow snow 😉
Complete the sentence: If all fails and you’ve only got £10 in your pocket…
Don’t worry you can still buy 10 things in Poundland 😀
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.