Interview with Rebecca McCartney

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Rebecca McCartney’s new Single ‘‘Behind Closed Doors’’ is out now 

 
Rebecca McCartney is a fresh singer-songwriter from New York, who recently released a new song called “Behind Closed Doors”. It is not an easy task to describe Rebecca’s music genre, she perfectly merges multiple layers of genres, from Jazz to Rnb, even from indie rock to folk music; her sound will surprise you and delight you. It was definitely interesting digging more into her musical background and discovering more about her side project “Garden Party”.

HELLO REBECCA, GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE. CONGRATS ON YOUR NEW SINGLE “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS”, TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS RELEASE AND YOUR STORY UP UNTIL NOW.

Hey, great to be here. So I’ve been playing music for a long time, crossing over into a bunch of different genres and always looking for new sounds and new blends. I grew up in the classical music scene in New York City, and was also immersed in musical theater and singer/songwriter styles from a young age. I didn’t start playing in bands until high school, but once I got going with writing music and playing with a whole crew beside me on stage, I couldn’t get enough of it. Through college I was studying jazz and playing lots of covers with my R&B band. Then I started writing music with an old friend and we put together an indie folk album under the name Garden Party. It happened to come out during the first week of the pandemic, which was pretty bad timing, but we kept working together after that and he eventually produced my EP that’s coming out this fall, which is what “Behind Closed Doors” is off of. The whole EP is a celebration of all the different styles and genres I’ve grown up in, from jazz to R&B to folk to indie rock. This single is about being in a relationship where the other person wants to keep you a secret, and turning that sort of rejection into a dancey anthem. 

YOUR SONGS ARE VERY ECLECTIC, WHAT GENRES WOULD YOU SAY YOUR MUSIC BELONGS TO?

I feel like I’m somewhere in between R&B, indie rock, soul singer/songwriter, and jazzy folk. Tough to pin down, but it’s also the truest way of representing all the different paths I’ve been able to take through music.

LATER THIS YEAR YOU ALSO RELEASED ANOTHER SINGLE CALLED “REMEMBER LESS”. WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THIS SINGLE? 

“Remember Less” is also about a relationship, but a totally different emotional state. In that song I’m wrestling with leaving someone behind but still feeling really attached, and watching their memory grow farther and farther away. All the while I’m wondering if they’re thinking of me as much as I am them. I wrote it when I had just left New York to go back to college. The song started with just my guitar (my trusty Strat) and voice, and then when I got back to New York and was working with my close friend Jakob Leventhal, who was producing this EP, we built it out into a much bigger sound-world. Kind of a mellow-groovy-R&B jam.

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WHAT ARE THE BANDS AND ARTISTS THAT INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC PROJECT THE MOST?

There are so many artists I love who are embracing the idea of pushing genre boundaries. One of my all-time favorites is Lianne La Havas, whose album last year was a huge influence for me when I was writing and producing the EP. I’m obsessed with her balance of acoustic and electronic sounds. In a similar sense, I think Sylvan Esso does an insane job at balancing natural and acoustic sounds with electrified stuff. Then there are the neo-soul classics, like D’Angelo and Amy Winehouse, whose music always has more to love every time I listen.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT INSPIRED YOU THE MOST WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR LYRICS?

Oooh great question. Songwriting for me is how I process my emotions, so a lot of my lyrics are just me trying to find somewhat poetic ways of describing my feelings, thinking back to small details of my memories, and sometimes trying to see a situation from another person’s perspective.

YOU ALSO HAVE ANOTHER PROJECT CALLED “GARDEN PARTY”, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WRITE MUSIC ON YOUR OWN COMPARED TO BEING IN A DUO, AND IN WHAT WAY DO YOU APPROACH ON SONGWRITING?

It’s a totally different process in many ways, where I’m the one editing what I’ve done, changing things, letting a song rest and coming back to it with fresh eyes, sometimes playing it for a friend to get some different thoughts. With Garden Party, Jakob and I are either writing in the same place together, or constantly bouncing back ideas to each other. So there’s a lot more changing, revising, distilling that happens in that duo. When it’s just me, I have to figure out how to edit myself. It’s tough, especially because I love collaborating with others, so on my own I’m a little less sure of myself, but sometimes you just get something honest and good. My duo partner in Garden Party is the same friend who produced this EP, though, so once we got into the studio together, we were back in our dynamic of pushing against each other’s ideas and trying to bring out the best possible sounds. He’s a great collaborator, and we work super well together, so there will be a lot more coming out of that duo!

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR? 

Wellllll……… Jakob and I are, as I just hinted at, working on some new Garden party music. And I’m back in New York and trying to put a band together so I can play some live shows, which I’ve been missing so much!! Follow along on my socials to keep up with where I’m playing and what I’m writing — I post a lot of covers and live content from my writing sessions. 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having me!

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