December 7 2013 Latest news:
Friday, July 13, 2012
Rochester singer songwriter’s two-album deal could finally deliver her crossover success
She’s had top 20 hits, enjoys a high-profile across much of mainland Europe and has performed with some of the biggest names in the business.
But Tara McDonald still burns with ambition; a desire to step out of the shadows and make a name for herself.
As one of dance music’s most in-demand vocalists and song writers, now, finally, at the age of 35, she stands on the verge of being known in her own right after signing a two-album deal with giants Univeral and its spin-off Mercury label.
Not that she is a complete unknown. She’s worked with and performed on tracks by dance music giants David Guetta, Armand Van Helden and Todd Terry and recently was the vocal coach on Belgium’s version of The Voice. Add to that a stint singing on Strictly Come Dancing and a childhood meeting with Audrey Hepburn, and you could never accuse the Rochester singer-songwriter of living a boring life.
“My father was a van driver,” she explains as she hurtles across Kent after studio work in Paris, “and he had a friend who had been an actor. He told my Dad that however hard it gets, however much the odds seemed stacked against you, he should tell me never to give up. Because he did. You never know what is just around the corner, what might have been.”
Just two years ago, Ms McDonald, was faced with just such a dilemma.
After writing and performing a string of big hits - including the European smash Delirious by David Guetta - she found herself unable to get the recording contract she so craved.
“It is so touch this industry. I really thought after writing and performing on a couple of hit singles worldwide I thought someone would want to sign me but they didn’t so it’s been so hard to get back to this stage.
“I’d be the writer, or my voice would be on it, but it would be just a single. The record company don’t want to develop something, they just want to be handed the product.
“I started off performing in pubs and clubs when I was young, then I was backing singing for Bryan Ferry and Eric Clapton and finally in my 20s I got a few dance tracks in the charts and everything I’ve done has been off my own back.”
A record deal with Hed Kandi appeared to ahve finally given the platform she craved - only for issues with the record company see her emerge without the release of her album.
But now things are starting to look up with a new deal with Mercury and her first album due to be completed by September and released in January.
“I’ve signed a two-album record deal and I’m signed as a producer, so I have final say on everything,” she explains.
“They’ll come out under my name – finally, after all these years. When I did the big tracks and heard my voice on radio and started doing club gigs around the world and that was so exciting and I did that for four years. And then I found myself singing the same songs that were hits years ago. But without a team of people to nurture me it’s difficult.”
Despite spending much of her time in London or other major European cities - she hosts a French dance radio show and is heavily promoting her work and writing on mainland Europe - she continues to live in Rochester, remaining loyal to her Kentish roots.
“I feel at home here,” she explains, “I have a house I bought a few years ago after living in London for a while.
“I just fell in love with the place. It’s also so handy for me getting to Ebbsfleet so I can to France or Belgium easily, and reach London quickly. I live in a really tranquil area and have really nice neighbours so I’ve no plans to move.”
She grew up in Horton Kirby, a small village, near Dartford, and was put on the road to success at an early age. winning an international singing competition at the age of 12 and collecting her award from Audrey Hepburn and becoming a UNICEF ambassador which meant jaunts around the world.
With her parents careful for her not to be sucked into the entertainment world, her career in entertainment got back on track in her 20s.
Performing as a backing singer for the likes of Pink Floyd, Duran Duran and Ringo Starr.
Now, though, she may just fulfil her dream and step out into the spotlight on her own.
For more details, see her website www.taramcdonald.tv.