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Margot MacDonald / Blog

Margot's High Notes: February 2011

Valentine’s day is closing in and I’m finding it increasingly hard to avoid warm fuzzy feelings whenever turning on the radio. Around 60 percent of songs from the last century focus on that crazy little thing called love - and with good reason, I suppose. With so many songs to choose from, I’m gonna need some help narrowing it down: what’s your all time favorite love song? Email, Facebook or Tweet me and, at the end of the week, I’ll pick one to cover. The video will go up on YouTube the day before Valentine’s Day in dedication to the undying love & appreciation I have for you: my glorious fans. Feb 14, in celebration of the oh-so-commercialized holiday, I’ll be hosting a BMI-SAW showcase at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. Grab a fellow music-lover and relax with drinks or dinner as we play some “songs of romance.” *she says in an enticing Latin accent* 7-10PM Feb 17 I’m bringing my full concert to the beautiful BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD. As previously mentioned, the evening starts with an optional dinner at 6:30. I’ll be in concert with my acoustic ensemble (and loop pedal) from 7:30 to 9:30, including a brief intermission. With the evening all to myself, I plan to make it as spectacular a possible - so make the trip & get excited, people! Feb 24 the Series Finale of my BMI ‘Hungry for Music’ Showcase wraps up at the Hard Rock Café - Washington DC. Along with myself, the finale shines a spotlight on local stars Honor By August, Gordon Daniels of Lucky Dub, and the Morrison Brothers. Great music, great cause, and only two blocks from Metro Center Station - hope to see you there! 8-11PM And if you’ve had the time (or enough procrastination skills) to read through my nonsense, then you can probably spare the 30 seconds it takes to vote for me as the Washington Area Music Association’s Fans Favorite: www.wamadc.com/wama/wammies/fanform.htm. Please & thank you! PS. I guarantee you will get no spam emails from some prince in Nigeria. Have a happy February everyone, and remember: no matter your relationship status on Valentine’s Day, Margot loves you! xo Margot

Margot's High Notes: January 2011

Happy New Year to all! It’s a wonderful time of the year: the days are finally getting longer and after-Christmas sales are popping up all over the place. Though honestly, I’m just excited to be heading back to the Big Apple. Jan 7 I’ll be kicking off 2011 in Brooklyn, NY at Asterisk in Williamsburg for the Art for Life Fundraiser. There will be live music, salsa dancing, body art & more, all to help raise money for a foundation very dear to my heart, More Than Me. All the fun starts at 7 pm and goes into the wee hours of the morning. I’ll hit the stage around 10 pm. So schlep on your snow boots and catch the L to Montrose. Jan 20 I’ll be hosting and playing a full set at the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, DC for our 6th BMI Hungry for Music Showcase. Joining me are artists ellen cherry, Fools & Horses and ZELOS. Feb 4 I’ll be at Level X Lounge in DC for an intimate night of acoustic music alongside Molly Hagen, Flo Anito, Coles Whalen, Harris Face and Gene Gregory. Feb 17! I’m thrilled to be rescheduled at the BlackRock Center for the Arts after a voice-stealing-sickness and horrible weather teamed up for the demise of the original December date. I plan to put on one helluva show, and you should plan to be there. This beautiful venue is in Germantown, MD and the evening starts with an optional dinner at 6:30. I'll be in concert with my acoustic ensemble (and loop pedal) from 7:30 to 9:30, with a brief intermission in between. (If you’re not sold already, I’m contemplating on bringing a bubble machine.) March 12 will bring me back to NYC at the Rockwood Music Hall. Hoping to see your face in one of these crowds. ~ Margot PS. Enjoy the new free download (available limited time only) in the Band Profile tab on my FB music page: www.facebook.com/MargotMacDonaldMusic.

Margot's High Notes: November 2010

The leaves are falling, and the time of year for sitting in trees is absolutely perfect. I’m not sure if the shift in weather is solely to blame, but I feel a change. And change always seems to inspire question: why do people rarely look up? Was that picture always like that? Why is there glitter in my hair? And when will Margot stop rambling and tell me the whereabouts of her next shows? Right now. Monday, Nov 15, I am making my New York City debut. I.e. party up in hurr. With the dynamic duo of K.C. and Danny at my side, I’ll be playing at the legendary Bitter End in the Village at 9:30 pm sharp. Be there or be square. Or spread the word to your friends that live in the Big Apple -- please and thank you. http://bitterend.com/ Tuesday, Nov 30, I’m wrapping up the month with a triple bill at IOTA Club & Café. Joined by my good friend Ted Garber and the lovely Victoria Vox, I kick off the Strathmore Artists-in-Residence show at 8:30 pm. http://iotaclubandcafe.com/ My latest YouTube videos showcase the loop pedal (Teardrop and Earth), recorded at the wonderful IOTA Club. If you’re interested in viewing, or just want to find out what exactly is going on in the above picture, see for yourself: http://youtube.com/margotmacdonald Thursday, Dec 16, I’ll be adding a slew of what I have deemed to be “cool” Christmas songs to my own repertoire at the BlackRock Center for the Arts. My concert runs from 7:30-9:30, with time during intermission for you to grab a candy cane or other various goodies. I’m preparing a few classics, paired with some modern material that you may not even know are holiday songs. The production I’ll be putting into this show has got me really excited and the theater is absolutely beautiful. I hope you decide to join in the fun! http://blackrockcenter.org/ Now that that’s out of the way: T Minus 25 hours until New York City. Loop pedal: check Guitar: check Tuned bottles: check Duct tape: why not? I feel ready. All duct tape humor aside, the gravity of those words ring true with me on so many levels. Too often, the slight shifts in life are taken for granted and we forget to always question the world around us. This orb is ever changing, and so are we. Why expect something in an endless state of transformation to remain the same as it was the day before? By circumstance, my curiosity has always been more of a blessing than a curse (excluding the time I tried to fly at age 7), but I find I often question myself along with the world around me. I’m certainly not the same person I was when I released the first few albums, but that person is why I became Margot 4.0, typing these words out to you right now. And in the constant pursuit to find (or rather, create) who I want to be, I finally feel ready. Do you? xo Margot

Margot's High Notes: September 2010

Dearest subscribers, Let me start by apologizing for not making clear in my last post that “Miranda” is a character created by comedian and vocalist Colleen Ballinger. She’s a beast. (That’s slang, mom, don’t worry.) Let me also apologize to the world for any grievances expressed about Justin Bieber. I’ve recently acquired bangs for the first time in a decade and find myself relating to the trials of flipping one’s hair every five seconds. Anywhoozle. I’m pumped to be making a guest appearance at Honor By August’s 9:30 Club show in DC tonight (Sept 11). I love playing my own stuff, but there’s something magical about collaboration. I urge everyone to come out and hang, if just to see one of their infamous live shows. Speaking of collaborations… BHG's 60s RECAP MADNESS: As Tears Go By and Have I the Right now on YouTube! That's right, vintage mod mini, white go-go boots, et al. As a highlight this month, I’ll be hosting the second of the BMI Hungry For Music Showcases at Hard Rock Café Washington DC on Thurs, September 23rd. This time around, the stage will be graced by the likes of Melodime (playing a special acoustic set), Paul Masson, Rene Moffatt & Molly Hagen. The first one proved to be a success and I’m excited for my slightly-obsessive-compulsive-self to continue working out all the kinks. (Also, for getting these amazing artists to play. They’re all BMI. I did my research, people.) Once again, thank you to Jordan and the rest of the team at Hard Rock for having us. The admission is free, so stop by and grab a bite to eat, rock out to the sweet jams, donate to a great cause, or have a little party for yourself in the corner. As long as you enjoy. The week after, I’ll be out at SOVA on September 30 from 8-11 pm to play some tunes alongside my friends Alex Culbreth, Rene Moffatt and Molly Hagen. Finally, I stopped by the Copyright Alliance to talk about the musical mischief I’ve been up to and share some thoughts on copyright. If you’d like to take a look, click on "video" from their site: blog.copyrightalliance.org/2010/08/meet-singersongwriter-margot-macdonald Tata for now & have a loverly day. ~ Margot PS. As promised in the last newsletter, here lies the site that I’m going to start posting some photography and graphic design pieces on. (I’m hoping to get more photos on the road so that counts as a musical tie, right?) It’s all done for funsies, and I’ll probably end up switching sites, but for now, enjoy MyShutterSpace!

Margot's High Notes: August 2010

More so than usual, this month I’ve been attempting to grow in all the different forms of artistic expression I can grasp (fun links to come in upcoming newsletters). It becomes both enjoyable and problematic when I use one art form to procrastinate from doing another, but I digress. Heading my self-induced creative revolution is perfecting the Miranda-face (see YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9Rc1FRjiY0 at 3:45). At the real forefront are preparations for the large spread of DC area shows I have this month. Each one is very different from the next, so hopefully there's something for everyone! August starts off with a bang with Strathmore's Tribute to the British Invasion. I will be joining an exciting roster of DC artists to honor the singers and bands that forever changed America's musical landscape. Highlighting the years of 1964-1966, this show features hits originally performed by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, The Who, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield, The Kinks, The Animals, The Zombies, Peter and Gordon, Tom Jones, The Yardbirds and more. Once again, it shows to be an educational experience for me and one of the few times a year I get to participate in a large production rather than the regular “Margot MacDonald” thing. The annual tribute show has rapidly gained in popularity so we are back this year with two nights at the Music Center at Strathmore, Aug 11 & 12! Get your tickets now at Strathmore.org. In a more intimate setting, I'll be hosting a Young Songwriters Showcase for the Songwriters Association of Washington at Ebenezers on Aug 13, featuring DC's up-and-coming artists: Alex Vans, Dana Wells, Owen Danoff, Christiana Trenum and Adam Swink. EbenezersCoffeehouse.com But one phrase comes to mind when describing my anticipation for this next show: thuper exthited! I’m performing at the WAMA Jam Music Festival on Sunday, August 15 at IOTA in Arlington. I'll be joined by my rocked out acoustic quartet (K.C. Hatton, Danny Schwartz, Jon Nazdin) and will have a few surprises for you on my loop pedal. Also on the bill are the incomparable David Kitchen Band and rock group Sematic. Be there or be square. And trust me, being square is not a comfy position to find oneself in. IOTAclubandcafe.com Wrapping up the month I will be your host for the BMI Hungry for Music Showcase at the Hard Rock Café DC on Aug 19. Our BMI songwriters for the evening are the ever talented Justin Jones, Janine Wilson, and David Stein. The night will close with a special acoustic set by Honor By August. This is FREE folks, ie. no cover charge. But we will be collecting donations ($$ and/or instruments) on behalf of Hungry for Music and raffling off artist gift baskets. HardRock.com/DC Hopefully one of these shows strikes yer fancy! I’m off to go decorate my mic stand before running to yet another rehearsal. Peace, love & pancakes, Margot

Margot's High Notes: June 2010

On the surface, I started off May seemingly down on my luck. On top of being told to quit playing music at 2AM, I am now apparently using too many household bandages and need to purchase my own stash. Ah, the consequences of a losing battle with a skateboard. I’ve tried to see the silver lining and think of this as a creative opportunity, so say hello to my new marketing endeavor: musical-cupcake-unicorn-bandages. (!!!!!!!) Everything happens for a reason. Continued fortune presented itself in the following month(s), starting with the success of the More Than Me spring fundraiser. Without all the beautiful support we’ve received, these children wouldn’t even be in primary school. Shout out and thanks to the wonderfully silly and awfully talented Ted Garber who helped me bring down the house. Taking in a lot of live music, I’ve concluded that big bucks put into stadium shows can only get you so far without imagination. Though the Verizon Center shows I’ve seen recently were entertaining, I consider it a greater privilege to have attended and met the performers of two of the most creative, lower budget shows I’ve ever seen. At their 9:30 Club show, OK Go had all the bells and whistles. Literally. Also laser-shooting guitars and homemade gadgets. Later in the month, Imogen Heap performed at Warner Theatre in a manner so technologically cool and chillingly heart-felt, I left wishing everyone I’ve ever known had seen it. As a little sneak preview, I present a brief, needing-to-be-tidied version of another Imogen Heap cover I’m working out on the loop pedal: YouTube.com/MargotMacDonald. As I’ve had no recent US shows due to adventures in Costa Rica (note banner above!), August is jam packed. Starting it off with a bang is BandHouse Gigs’ Tribute to the British Invasion at Strathmore on August 11th and 12th. The shows are identical in set list; our knack for selling out the place has given need for a second night! Get your tickets before they run out: Strathmore.org. A couple of other upcoming shows include an acoustic night withy Ally Way at 49 West in beautiful Annapolis, MD on July 2nd, and the WAMA Jam at IOTA with Sematic and David Kitchen in Arlington, VA on August 15th. Tickets now available for the WAMA Jam: IOTAclubandcafe.com. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, I am in full-on writer’s mode and trying on different ways to go about creating. With that said, throw a topic my way and I will try to write a song about it simply for you. Give me your genuine, your silly, your huddled ideas yearning to breathe free; I’ll accept (almost) anything. In other words… bring it. Margot PS. I have reached the ever-strived-for million plays mark on MySpace! I’m a little confused as to who it is listening on the near-dead social networking site, but thank you to anyone who’s clicked that play button!

Margot's High Notes: April 2010

Spring has sprung and, instead of the Easter candy that I should have gotten, I am eating my words from the January newsletter. Though I jokingly announced a mission to enter my bandmates into the World Beard Championships, I didn’t actually expect us to turn into Margot & the Beards. Lesson learned, facial hair gods: be careful what you ask for. (And always pluck those two moustache hairs before a photo-op.) A quick thanks to the wonderful Hard Rock Café DC for having me at their Idol Gives Back party with (the less hairy) Kris Allen. Ah, the best of both worlds. New show dates at Hard Rock will be announced soon. Though the calendar is dimming down a bit to make way for writing and a bit of recording, ‘tis the season for the More Than Me Foundation Spring Fundraiser. This one’s at The Big Hunt on Monday, May 10. Come enjoy live music and drink specials while supporting the More Than Me Foundation in its mission to provide educational scholarships to children in Liberia. If you can’t make it but would like to donate, by all means! If not, just… watch out for Billy. As part of MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts, Focus Music presents folk/pop singer Lindsay Mac, along with yours truly as special guest artist, in concert on Sunday, May 16. Boston-based Lindsay Mac is a classical cellist turned singer-songwriter. Refusing to give up her beloved cello, she straps it on like a guitar, plucking and slapping it like a bass and using the body for percussion. Admit it. That sounds pretty damn cool. The Writer's Center is pleased to present LitArtlantic, a new arts extravaganza featuring work in literature, music, theatre, and film. I will be hosting a special SAW Young Artists Showcase on Saturday, May 22. Joined by fellow songwriters Alex Culbreth and René Moffat, we will share our music and writing process followed by an audience Q&A. Join us, and you’ll finally be able to find out what shampoo I use. Maybe even some songwriting-related stuff. As living life & constructing new songs gradually consume all my time, I’m realizing how different situations lend themselves to getting in the groove of creating. Whether it’s music or food art, you can’t always expect creativity to come knocking. In the midst of artist’s block, I’ve sought out inspiration in the abnormal and the mundane. So today, try to find strangeness in something apparently ordinary, and commonness in something apparently strange. Take in the world, viewing it for what it is, what it isn’t, and what it could be. Hoping you have as much fun as I do. ~ Margot PS. New 9:30 Club videos up at www.YouTube.com/MargotMacDonald!

Margot's High Notes: March 2010

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter, and this last month has been a tough one. Even with the support of my imaginary personal trainer, Favio de la Muscel, cupcake sobriety manages to last only days at a time. Music, as always, has been the guiding light in this frosting covered black abyss, and I have lots to report. Despite the winter tomfoolery, the illustrious music of Neil Finn and Crowded House filled the Barns of Wolf Trap. It was an incredible stage high. You could even say it was “boss” (I think that’s an 80’s term). Thanks to my friends at BandHouse Gigs for inviting me to join in all the fun. The next tribute will be to the 1964-1966 British Invasion at the Music Center at Strathmore. 9:30 Club staff greeted us with a platter of cupcakes in the dressing room. Though this contributed to my demise via baked goods, delicious hospitality = undoubtedly great show. The sweet sound, awesome audience, and amazing 9:30 Club stage may have helped out a bit too. I’ve seen a lot of favorites here; the energy on stage was fantastical. Some videos from both Wolf Trap and 9:30 Club are up on my YouTube channel. A big thanks to the Washington Area Music Association for all the love! I was honored to take home three 2009 Wammies: Modern Rock Vocalist, Modern Rock Duo/Group (Margot MacDonald Band), and Modern Rock Recording (WALLS). I was even privileged enough to share a category with Wale. Naturally, we are now best buds; he just doesn’t know it yet. The Wammie Awards were a grand opportunity for the DC music community to come together and party. As weather shifts from cold war status to beauteous springtime, I can’t think of a better way to welcome the warm weather than at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. I’ll be playing at the Sylvan Theatre on the grounds of the Washington Monument April 6 at 2:15 with my acoustic rock trio. On top of that, it’s everyone’s favorite word: free! I’ll be hosting a Young Artists Showcase for the Songwriters’ Association of Washington on April 9 at 7p. We have a new venue, Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. I’m excited to have such a great new listening room to hear our young talent. (Without coffee machine noises in the same room!) Strathmore offers a lovely mimosa-filled ‘Sunday Sounds Brunch,’ and I’ll be providing the sounds -- acoustic style -- on April 11. Restaurants Associates will be providing the delicious spread. Give Strathmore a call to reserve seating. On the flipside, my rock band will be joining me in a benefit concert for Taylor Love, an adorable 4-yr old girl with cancer. We’ll be onstage at Ned Devine’s in Herdon, VA at 6:15 the evening of April 11. Be sure to check the MySpace calendar later for the final set time and great line up. Come out to support the cause and enjoy some cool music. Finally, I have learned that food is the way to humanity’s heart. I recently found myself in possession of 20 free Krispy Kreme donut coupons. After having our fair share, some friends helped pass them out along with a Margot MacDonald flier to unsuspecting Krispy Kreme goers. I have no shame in saying that I am broadening my fan base one donut at a time. So with sweets, friends & music, the frost here in DC wasn’t actually that bad. The storms hit hard for some, but for others, it was a break from the world. Life really seemed to stand still for a few days. So, whether your winter was a wonderland, a mess, or somewhere in between, it’s all a memory now; here comes the sun. ~ Margot

Margot's High Notes: February 2010

MARGOT's HIGH NOTES: February 2010 This month has been pretty wacky, aside from the usual making of unique fans: http://twitpic.com/zr78z A snopocalypse has hit Washington DC! I've had so many shows canceled this winter that I've taken off the snowflake pendant I've been wearing just in case it was encouraging these wintry shenanigans. The final straw was having the 9:30 Club pull the plug last Friday. Awesome photographer, Brandon Wu, had cleared his schedule to shoot the show, so we made the best of it and had an impromptu snowtastic photo shoot. Though I redefined my definition of "cold", it was a great day. Check out pics of our fun in the snow on Brandon's Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandonwu/sets/72157623244198559/ Happily the 9:30 CLUB was able to reschedule my show for Feb 19. If you have Feb 5 tickets, they will be honored. And if you need tix, I've got them for sale!! I'll be sharing the stage with Hotspur, No Second Troy, and Boys Will Be Boys and playing a bunch of new music with my wonderful band. This show's gonna be great and I need everyone there! www.margotmacdonald.com I'm excited (possibly even "psyched") for tomorrow night's show at Wolf Trap. Few things compare to the fun of doing a Bandhouse Gigs production, and this time we're paying tribute to the delightful songs of Neil Finn/Crowded House. The snow wrecked havoc with our rehearsals but the show will go on! I'd tell you more but we're sold out :] www.bandhousegigs.com On Feb 20 I'll be roadtrippin' it to Harrisburg, PA with K.C., Trevor, and Nathan to showcase at the Millennium Music Conference. We'll be headlining at Malone's on Derby at midnight. If you're in Pennsylvania, come out to rock with us! http://www.musicconference.net/ Wrapping up the month is the 24th Annual Wammies at the State Theatre on Feb 28. I am up for 6 Washington Area Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (Walls), Modern Rock Vocalist, Modern Rock Group (Margot MacDonald Band), Modern Rock Recording (Walls), and Pop Rock Recording (Tribute to Joni Mitchell/Bandhouse Gigs). Cast YOUR vote by midnight Fri, Feb 19 for the FAN'S FAVORITE AWARD. I'd appreciate your support! http://wamadc.com/wama/wammies/fanform.htm For now, I retreat to my newly dug igloo. Stay warm and toastie. ~ Margot

Margot's High Notes: January 2010

Happy 2010! 2009 was a strange & exciting year for me, and I can only hope to make 2k10 even better. Aside from getting my bandmates into the lovely art form of beard sculpting (www.worldbeardchampionships.com), I resolve to get out a monthly newsletter this year. Welcome to the first edition. The big news this month is my show at the 9:30 CLUB! I’ll be playing the legendary DC hall with my rock band on Feb 5. I really love the new (sometimes odd) sounds we've been playing with and am excited to showcase my new songs along with selections from Walls. Joining us will be Hotspur, No Second Troy, & Boys Will Be Boys. I would absolutely love/adore/appreciate seeing you there. Every ticket counts! Special advance tix available today: www.margotmacdonald.com. I’ll also be at the beautiful Barns of Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA on Feb 13. Bandhouse Gigs is assembling a crazy awesome line up for a Tribute to Neil Finn/Crowded House. Plus the songs I'm performing make my heart smile. So all in all I think it'll be a great night! Info/Tix: www.wolftrap.org/Home/Find_Performances_and_Events/Performance/0910Barns/0213show10.aspx. 2009 wrapped up with a concert on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage!! (so exciting it was worth a second exclamation point.) I performed with my acoustic rock quartet & closed a cappella with my new loop pedal (compliments of Santa). To anyone who was there: you made my night magical. I would have tweeted your beautiful darkened faces had I not left my phone backstage. If you missed the show and would like to watch, the Kennedy Center has graciously archived the show on video: www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M4067&type=A. Shout out to my friends at the Hard Rock Café DC. This year I teamed up with them for the City of Hope walk for breast cancer awareness, a clean up at Haines Point, and Breakfast with Santa for Children’s Medical. They do fantastical things! Hard Rock also presented my launch party for Walls & invited me to play their Pinktober concert with Boys Like Girls. I had a blast there last week hosting my SAW Emerging Artists Showcase. I'm greatly looking forward to more fun times with my Hard Rock peeps in 2010. Finally, you can support relief efforts while listening to great new music! A Haiti Benefit CD is being compiled by Emerge Music Group. When something so devastating happens to a people, I can't imagine anything more reassuring than the world coming to their rescue. I am pleased to have donated a song to the worthy project. All proceeds go directly to AmeriCares (yes, it is actually legit!) for their on-going relief efforts in Haiti. Please check it out: www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=257539231007&ref=mf. Stay warm, listen to some jams & do something unexpected this week just for funsies. 'Til we meet again!! ~ Margot PS. Coming up with a name for the newsletter that I'm happy with has turned out to be harder than I thought... Margot's Musings? Tuning In? Margot's High Notes? All comments or suggestions are appreciated!