Mariah McCarthy: Breaking out on her own bare feet

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Mariah McCarthy: Breaking out on her own bare feet

After a four-year stint living and performing around Melbourne with her band Deer Prudence, Mariah has returned to her regional roots and has been busy brewing something truly special. The now Bendigo-based singer-songwriter is excited to launch her solo career with her first official release ‘Counting Sheep’. We chat to Mariah ahead of her single’s launch shows.
Hi Mariah, thanks so much for chatting to Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m very well, I’m currently in the process of moving all of my belongings into my new house in Bendigo, starting a new job – well same job, new schools – teaching private music lessons and booking my EP release tour.
You’ve spent the last four years living and performing around Melbourne with your band Deer Prudence, what sparked the need/want to launch into a solo career?
My partner in crime Georgia was also playing in her country band Georgia State Line at the time and she decided she wanted to do that full time. So that left me to have a go at playing solo which has been a lot of fun. I had been playing solo here and there so I already had a lot of material up my sleeve, therefore I headed back to the studio fairly quickly.
You’ve also made the shift to Bendigo, do you have history there? What was the driving force that took you from Melbourne to Bendigo?
Yes! I grew up in Heathcote, a small town close by Bendigo and I attended High School in Bendigo, so it is practically home for me! I gig quite regularly around Heathcote/Bendigo and had also been working one day a week here, which meant a lot of travel while I was living in Melbourne. On top of that my boyfriend has been in Bendigo for the past four years while I’ve been living in Melbourne, so we thought it was about time we lived together!
Congrats on the single! Your first release ‘Counting Sheep’ is simply stunning, very heartwarming and soulful, is this the tone that we can expect from your upcoming/future releases?
Thank you very much! ‘Counting Sheep’ certainly sets up the tone for my upcoming EP, which will feature two more tracks with a similar band arrangement. The other tracks are much more acoustic, which stays a little more true to my live solo performance.
The track featuring instrumentation from Ben Langdon, David Williams, and David Carr, and was recorded, mixed and mastered by Carr himself in the beautiful surrounds of his Dandenong Ranges’ Rangemaster Studios. How did you all come to work on this track together?
The collaboration can all be traced back to Ben! I studied music in Melbourne with my good friend Ben Langdon who worked with David Carr on his band The Bean Project’s EP and album. Loving the sound of their work, Deer Prudence recorded with David – I loved our EP so much that it was the perfect place to return for my solo EP. David and myself worked a lot to arrange each song, at which point he brought in his friend David Williams to play drums! Having played with Ben countless times during our time at Uni and since leaving, I know he always comes up with the perfect parts to accompany my songs, so I had to get him into the studio to add his magic!
What are the inspirations behind your solo endeavour, how have you found the shift from being in a band to creating solo? Has there been any challenges so far?
I’ve always loved solo artists and have found them a massive inspiration, from Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, to legends closer to home such as Paul Kelly. It can be quite an intimate thing to stand in front of an audience on your own and perform personal songs – playing solo there’s no one else to rely on. That can also be one of the greatest rewards, because when a gig does get a great response I know that it is just me and my music that they are enjoying. Playing solo can also be a bit of a struggle when flu season comes in as I constantly am fighting off colds, it’s tricky to get through a full set on those days!
You will be bringing your captivating set to Melbourne’s Some Velvet Morning and Bendigo’s Basement Bar for your ‘Counting Sheep’ single launch shows this March. What are you hoping from those shows?
These will be the first two shows launching my music into the world, so I’m really hoping I can bring a warm and supportive audience to both venues and hopefully spark some interest for my upcoming EP release. I will also be playing with accompaniment from a few friends – Ben Langdon, Cassie Ward and CJ Howlin Bamford, so I’m excited for regular listeners to hear my songs with a new arrangement.
Looking forward, what’s next for you? Are you working on an album/future releases?
Yes! ‘Counting Sheep’ is the first single off my forthcoming EP which is due out in May. I’ll be touring that EP through regional Victoria after it’s release. I can’t wait!
When & Where: Basement Bar, Bendigo – March 2 & Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne – March 3