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Exclusive Interview with Tara McDonald

With 20 tracks that hit the top 10 in the international charts, Tara McDonald - singer, songwriter and head of Give Me More Music Management - is one of the most successful and recognised vocalists in the world of dance music. In fact, she has often been called "The Queen of Dance". 

Tara has collaborated with some of the biggest producers worldwide with more than 20 tracks that reached the top 10 in the international charts. She has an abundance of hits : featuring on Armand Van Helden’s worldwide smash "My My My", co-wrote and featured Axwell - "Feel The Vibe", Todd Terry - "Get Down" and with David Guetta - "Delirious" that reached #2 in Belgium, #16 in Switzerland, #12 in The Netherlands, #16 in France... and "You’re Not Alone" which featured on David Guetta’s platinum selling "Pop Life album" that reached #2 in France, #4 in Belgium, #8 in Switzerland... In addition, Tara also collaborated with Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Sidney Samson, DJ Smash, Gregor Salto, Laidback Luke, Chuckie. At the top of the international charts with her soulful voice and infectious melodies, Tara got the attention of all the biggest producers of the dance industry. 

In interview with DJANEMAG Tara shared the story of her childhood, best and worst things about being a singer, described the process of writing a song and making strong hits; collaboration with popular DJs, communicating with fans army and plans for future! Want to know more? Read our interview with Tara McDonald with bright photos and impressive videos! All exclusive with djanemag.com! 

DJANEMAG: Tell us about your childhood! Have you always dreamed of becoming a singer and shine on the stage? or maybe small Tara dreamed of becoming a doctor or an astronaut? 

Tara McDonald: As a child I really wanted to be a singer/ entertainer or an archaeologist as I loved ancient history (and still do) but my passion for singing won! I used to put on shows for my mum and dad that would last for hours, my Dad had to keep stopping my show to make another cup of tea. Singing for me was like an escape as I was bullied at school and lost a lot of confidence because of it, so when I started working at 9 years old in a musical in London, it was like another life for me which was safe, fun and exciting and a million miles away from the troubles I had at school. Singing has been such a gift, I never realised as a child that my career would take me around the world, I’m incredibly grateful each and every day! Plus I get to visit some ancient archaeological sites when I'm on tour. 

DJANEMAG: Hundreds and thousands of girls dream to become a singer! They think it's the best job in the world! There are many reasons to love this job of course, but we are interested in what DON'T you like about your work? 

Tara McDonald: I absolutely love singing still, its remained my escape, its something I do for pleasure, its lifts me up when I’m down. This is something I will do forever! Having said that sometimes singing can really feel like a job!) 

I love to travel and explore new places but working abroad when touring can get really complicated! Firstly I’m not fond of airports and in the summer time they are so busy and when you have to do up to 3 flights a day it can be really stressful. I also hate packing, as I’m always scared I've forgotten something. Now I take a lot with me (my just in case luggage) as you never know if there will be more media and promo planned at the last minute - I drive my tour manager mad with all my bags! - Especially if I’m away for more than a few weeks . 

As a girl, looking good is part of the job and bringing my makeup is essential! Airports have made it more difficult with the small bags for liquids as I never want to pack my makeup bag as check in luggage in case it goes missing! This has happened to me before so now everything that I need for the show stays with me in the flight, music, costumes etc! This is the most important advice I can ever give to anyone touring, keep everything for the show with you and have backups of all your music!! 

When I first started touring internationally I did at the least 4/5 gigs a week and would only sleep a few hours a night, I thought I was invincible! I pushed myself too hard and it wasn’t healthy at all, I got so used to not sleeping properly that it became a routine after a couple of years I started getting really bad panic attacks/anxiety because of the sleep deprivation so now I’m much more in tune with my body. Also I found that when I’m seriously sleep deprived I’m not creative at all, so I really try to balance my time now with relaxation so I can function better in the studio. 

The worse thing about being a singer (rather than a DJ) is I usually have to take the super early flights as I want to meet my sound engineer and have soundcheck to make sure the sound is perfect. Because of this my gig day normally starts around 3am. 

DJANEMAG: What are your biggest sources of inspiration when you are writing songs? Can you describe the process of writing a song? 

Tara McDonald: Songwriting for me is so cathartic! I get so much out of my system though this medium. My inspiration tends to come from my life and things that I feel I want to share, problems I’ve worked through, life lessons, my joy, my pain etc. The best ideas come to me when I’m relaxed, I get a lot of melodies and lyrics early in the morning when I’m in my garden with my dog! I think the reason behind that is I’m at my most creative in the morning as my brain hasn't really woken up yet and it's fresh from the problems that can come later in the day. 

How I write varies, I can be inspired from music as if I’m working with a DJ normally they would send me an instrumental track and I find the lyrics and the vocal melody from that and the inspiration comes from the vibe of the track, that’s how I co-wrote ‘Delirious’ with David Guetta for example. Or I can just suddenly have an idea for a song that comes from nowhere and then I can work with a team to create the track around it, this is how I’m working on my artist project. I always record my vocal ideas on my phone and will listen through each week to hear which ideas are the strongest to work on. 

DJANEMAG: "I need a miracle" has over a million views on VEVO! Congrats and it's always interesting Why one single becomes popular, other not! What is the secret of success? What do you think? 


Tara McDonald: I wish I knew why some tracks blow up! For “I Need A Miracle” this song was already a massive hit and is one of the biggest dance anthems on the planet. Maybe it worked because this single really came from a real place of love! I didn’t write this track, it was originally released by Fragma and Coco Star in the 90’s but I had always loved the song when I was growing up. In 2015 I was performing at the Bataclan in Paris raising money for Paris LGBT PRIDE (as the years before I was the ambassador of Paris Pride) 3 months before the terrorist attack. The attack really had a big effect on me as some of the people I had worked with died that night. When something so horrific like this happens you start yourself asking questions, how and why something like this could happen and wanting to unite people. I wanted to make a song about love, respect and understanding and really feel that the world needs a miracle to bring everyone together. “ I Need A Miracle” just seemed to be the perfect song and fitted with the message I wanted to share. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mxQXTYmZuk 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCtD6tpq0vM 
I’m really proud of this single, it's really had a life of its own and has done a lot of good things! This song gave me my first no 1’s as a solo artist in Belgium &Portugal and has charted all over Europe. I first performed ‘I Need A Miracle” in Ecuador for the Teleton (a children's televised charity event) and helped raise over $1.5 million for the poor children in that country (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2xKNhNNugA), the single is also involved in a non profit album project in Italy called #WeHelpU where all the money raised goes directly to the people that need the most help rebuilding their lives after the Earthquake which happened earlier this year. 

Also I was so honoured when "I Need A Miracle” was chosen as this years Europride anthem, the song is helping to spread the message of equality and promote the LGBTQ community which I activity support. Another great surprise is that the song has been featured in the new feature film “White Island” set in Ibiza starring Billy Zane and UK singer/rapper Example. 

DJANEMAG: We always wonder if a star (artist/singer/DJ) communicates with fans? We understand that you are a very busy person, but still) do you read some of that messages, or put likes on different fan arts or you have just a manager that deals with social networks and respond to messages? 

Tara McDonald: I love messaging my fans they are the best! I call my fans my "stars", they mean the world to me. We are sharing this unique adventure together! It can sometimes take me a while to get back to messages but I always do this personally, I’m a very real person, I don’t fake anything. I even kept my real name instead of creating a character like most pop artists, it's a decision I made early on in my career. I really respect and love my fans. The direct contact is very important to me, I’m nothing without them. I love getting fan art too! I have an album on my Facebook dedicated to fan art and picture that fans send me of us together also go on my facebook.. On gigs I always give something away to (normally jewellery) to the most wild fan of the night! 

DJANEMAG: You've collaborated with many world famous DJs! What cooperation was the most pleasant for you and stay in memory? and with Whom would you like to collaborate in future? We hope it will be some female DJ of course)))) 

Tara McDonald: I’m the kind of person that loves meeting new people and to share experiences. All of the collabs I’ve done in the past have taught me something even the ones that were unpleasant! My favourite collabs have been where I got to work closely with the other artist involved , for example when I worked with Axwell writing “Feel The Vibe” we never met till after the record was released at an awards show so we never had a relationship all dialogue went through the record company but when I worked with David Guetta on “delirious” and with Todd Terry on “Get Down” on both these projects we toured together and so the whole adventure was more personal, exciting and felt like a real team effort. I love that! The industry is quite male dominated and female DJs don’t seem to get the same respect as my male DJ’s, having said that I am really good friends with Nervo - I was actually the first person that told them to be DJ’s after their big hit with David Guetta! We have written together a few times on some tracks which haven’t been released yet… 

For “I Need A Miracle” I worked with the U.K female producer Dee Adam on the vocals and one of the remixes was made by LOVRA - a very talented female DJ from Berlin. I would love to work with more female producers! 

DJANEMAG: What’s next for Tara McDonald? 

Tara McDonald: I’m back in Latin America for promo as "I Need A Miracle" has been released there and I have a new collaboration with multi platinum selling artist Juan Magan on a single called “Love Me” also featuring Mexican boy band Urband5. The song is in “spanglish” half sung in Spanish and English and is a really fun catchy pop record. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg7Psk4fFOA) I will be performing on the main stage at the Daydream festival in Mexico and will be back at the Teleton in Ecuador. I’m also making the finishing touches to my next single and album. So I’m a busy bee!

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