Amy Elizabeth Macdonald (born 25 August 1987) is a Scottish singer-songwriter. In 2007, she released her debut studio album, This Is the Life, which respectively produced the singles “Mr. Rock & Roll” and “This Is the Life”; the latter charting at number one in six countries, while reaching the top 10 in another 11 countries. The album reached number one in four European countries – the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland – and sold three million copies worldwide. Moderate success in the American music market followed in 2008. Macdonald has sold over 12 million records worldwide.
Macdonald’s second studio album, A Curious Thing, was released in 2010. Its lead single “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” peaked at number 45 on the UK Singles Chart, and also went on to perform well in other European countries. In 2010, she collaborated with Ray Davies on his album, See My Friends; she sang with him on a cover of The Kinks’ 60s hit “Dead End Street”. Her third studio album, Life in a Beautiful Light, was released in 2012 and supplied three singles: “Slow It Down”, “Pride” and “4th of July”.
In 2017, Macdonald released her fourth studio album, Under Stars, which entered at number two on the Scottish and UK Album Charts. It also peaked within the top 10 of the album charts in Germany and New Zealand. In 2020, she released her fifth studio album, The Human Demands.
Under Stars is the fourth album by Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, and was released on 17 February 2017. The album’s lead single, “Dream On” was released on 6 January 2017. Macdonald’s official website and official Facebook fanpage confirmed the album for release on 25 November 2016. Album title and tracklist were confirmed the same day by both sites.
Macdonald began writing songs for the album in early 2014, 2 years after the release of Life in a Beautiful Light. In May 2014, she performed 4 new songs live. She also sang “Leap of Faith” during the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. In March 2015, Macdonald announced via Twitter she was finishing the songwriting of the album, but had not yet started recording. On 28 October 2015, she announced via Twitter she started the recording sessions for the album. Later, she stated on 9 December 2015 via her Instagram account that she had finished the songwriting for the album and that she hoped the album would be finished sometime in 2016. On 9 August 2016, Macdonald announced via Instagram her fourth album was finished and would be released early 2017.
Macdonald said although it was two and a half years in the making, which is the longest she has ever taken with an album, she was glad to have taken the time and she feels the album has “the TLC that it deserves”.
The album up to now has gathered mixed to positive reviews, receiving a score of 3 out of 5 stars at the London Evening Standard, describing the album as “a tuneful collection that doesn’t mess with the formula”.
“Dream On” was released as the lead single from the album on 6 January 2017. The song has peaked to number 37 on the Scottish Singles Chart. The song also charted in Belgium.
“Automatic” was released as the second single off the album on 24 March 2017. The accompanying music video was released on her Vevo channel on 17 March 2017.
“Down by the Water” was released as the third single from the album on 11 July 2017, on the same day as the accompanying music video. An acoustic version of the song was previously released in late 2016 as a promotional single from the album before its release. (wikipedia)
After an extended hiatus that had her fans salivating and chomping at the bit for new material, Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald is back in action with her newly released fourth album Under Stars. For those who have been anxiously awaiting more of Macdonald’s signature blend of guitar-driven, optimistic rock and folk pop, the 29-year-old Glaswegian with the exhilarating contralto voice and girl-next-door vibe does not disappoint.
First inspired by the music of Scottish rock band Travis, Amy Macdonald began teaching herself how to play music using her father’s old guitar before she was even a teenager. After spending years making the rounds in the pub and cafe circuit in Glasgow, she first made a name for herself in 2007 at the tender age of 19 with the release of her first album This Is The Life. A resounding success for any young break-out artist (especially one in the oversaturated guitar-pop arena), the album went on to sell over 3 million copies, and her next two album releases met with similar success.
Leaving her fans to wonder, “Where’s Amy?”, Macdonald took a five-year break between her last album release and Under Stars, the latter half of which were spent writing and then recording the new album in London’s infamous Abbey Road Studios. Unlike the completely solo creative endeavors of her first three albums, most of the songs on Under Stars were written in collaboration with her bass player Jimmy Sims, keyboard player Shannon Harris, and friend Ben Parker. It is perhaps the synthesis created by this group effort that is responsible for a certain extra brightness in the album, giving it an injection of fresh pop energy that sets it just slightly apart from Macdonald’s previous musical undertakings, while at the same time maintaining her core sound.
Finding inspiration in the lives of those closest to her, many of Amy Macdonald’s songs are about her friends. The album’s first track and lead single, “Dream On”, a howl-at-the-moon, feel-good anthem about personal journey and triumph in the face of adversity, is one such song. Same goes for title track “Under Stars”, a motivating tune about friendship, loneliness, and the kind of love that knows no distance or separation, with the chorus succinctly paraphrasing the album’s overarching theme: “This is your song, so write it. Be who you are, don’t hide it.”
The free-spirited “Automatic” tips an Americana hat to Bruce Springsteen, and will likely make this galloping ode to the wide open road well-received among listeners …after all, who doesn’t relate to the feeling of wanting to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge when the going gets tough? “Down By The Water” is an absolute gem. Macdonald’s voice shines in this slow and sweet, gospel-reinforced ballad, with hand claps, tambourine, and guest vocals by British singer Juliet Roberts serving to complement Macdonald’s vocal range without the sometimes overpowering musical distractions found elsewhere on the album.
While optimistic overall, the album is not all hearts and high-fives. Known for her strong opinions on political issues like the Brexit and Scottish independence, “The Rise & Fall” is a cautionary tale warning of the human drive for “power, glory, money, fame” in which Macdonald describes all too well our current political climate. And “Never Too Late”, another impressive display of vocal prowess (this time accompanied by piano and strings), is a veritable call to action: “Ain’t no use in sitting around, waiting for the world to change. Never too late to stand your ground, do what it takes to make them proud.”
Although at times lyrically cliche, Macdonald’s brand of emotive empowerment pop has a definite market, as her album sales can attest to. One can imagine advertising agencies worldwide flagging the album and its many positive messages for use as possible soundtracks to commercials. Released just in time for those of us in the northern hemisphere suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), listening to Under Stars is a bit like mainlining sunshine directly into your veins. For those sensitive to unbridled optimism, it is advised to limit exposure, or be sure to purchase the deluxe version of the album which includes an extra eight tracks, acoustic versions of most of the songs. A soothing and balancing break from the often musically over-assertive electric tracks, their addition almost makes for a double album: one perfect for sunny days cruising down the highway in no particular direction with no one to hear you singing along off-key at the top of your voice, and one just right for rainy, introverted days spent at home drinking tea in pajamas and ruminating on life, love, and the meaning of it all.
Fans of the vintage-like cover art of albums past may be wary of the slick, Katy Perry-esque choice of album design for Under Stars, but needn’t worry. Inside the album Amy Macdonald’s sound remains quite true to her proven, down-to-earth formula, and will be sure to please her legions of loyal fans as well as gain her many new followers. (Katherine Rae)
Amy Macdonald (vocals, guitar)
many, many studio musicians
(Today I am too lazy to list them all, sorry; see download file)
01. Dream On (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.19
02. Under Stars (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.43
03. Automatic (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.17
04. Down By The Water (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.27
05. Leap Of Faith (Macdonald) 3.04
06. Never Too Late (Macdonald/Falkner/Harris) 4.07
07. The Rise & Fall (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.14
08. Feed My Fire (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.16
09. The Contender (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.36
10. Prepare To Fall (Macdonald) 4.30
11. From The Ashes (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.37
the acoustic tracks (live from the RAK Studios, London):
12. Under Stars (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.42
13. Dream On (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.19
14. Prepare To Fall (Macdonald) 4.06
15. Leap Of Faith (Macdonald) 3.13
16. Automatic (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.10
17. Down By The Water (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.32
18. The Rise & Fall (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.36
19. I’m on Fire (Springsteen) 2.22
The official website: