SXSW 2016 Interview: Holly Macve

By on Friday, 15th April 2016 at 11:00 am

Fresh-faced singer/songwriter Holly Macve played an intimate show at the Hilton Austin’s Liberty Tavern around dinnertime on the Saturday evening of SXSW 2016 after most of the day shows had ended but before the official night showcases were set to begin. Macve’s solo performance made the small Liberty Tavern stage look quite large, but her delicate vocals and exquisite songwriting quickly filled the space and captured the attention of everyone in attendance.

After Macve’s set was finished, I had the opportunity to sit down with her for a brief interview to follow up on our earlier Bands to Watch preview. I quickly discovered that Macve is as soft-spoken in person as she is on stage, as she related the Cinderella story of her signing to Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union Records last summer, as well as plans for her upcoming debut album, for which she has received funding from the PRS for Music Foundation.

Though she currently resides in Brighton, Macve’s family roots are in Ireland and she was brought up primarily in the north of England. She mentioned the country and folk music influences imparted to her by her parents, and how the authenticity of those songs translates into her own music. We also discussed some of the songs she performed at Liberty Tavern on the night, in particular a cover of classic country tune ‘Crazy’, made famous by Patsy Cline, and her own song ‘Sycamore Tree’, which she recorded for NPR’s South X Lullaby series.

Macve talked with me about having the opportunity to perform in several other unique places during her time in America, including the 35 Denton Festival in north Texas and Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion on the stormy Friday night of SXSW 2016. Following SXSW, Macve will play at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and at Brighton’s The Great Escape in May. Her first headline show in the UK will take place on the 9th of June at St. Pancras Old Church in London. A full list of Macve’s upcoming live dates can be found on her official Web site.

Thanks to Brid, Abbey, and Simon for their help coordinating this interview.


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