Currently recuperating from a spell in hospital and preparing
for her Coming Home tour around the UK, Horse McDonald is embarking
on a journey that is to bring her full circle, or if you like,
bringing her Home. Since she first got her hands on a guitar at the
age of ten she knew she had to make music. Horse's career in the
music industry spans the last 20 years and it's her passion for her
music that still draws the crowds. And whether she's co-writing
songs with Heather Peace, being a lesbian role model or facing
personal hardships such as the death of both parents in recent
years, Horse continues to inspire through her songs. Her life, no
doubt, colours her music.
Thanks for talking to us. Hope you're feeling better now
since your recent spell in hospital?
Thank you - I had a bad asthma attack; it's been quite scary and
apparently it was touch and go when I was first admitted. I had no
idea how ill I was but actually it just shows you what some people
have to put up with long term. It is amazing I sang two hour
show the week before but was having to puff away on my inhaler
between times. I am right in the middle of the album but the band
are working away on things in my absence. The tour is all booked
and will go ahead as planned.
How did you find music, were you drawn to
Music was an escape in my formative years. I listened from an
early age influenced by everything from Dusty Springfield to
Sparks. I sat in my bedroom over the years listening to music. It
was a real source of comfort but also thrill
Who are your musical inspirations and
There is a very eclectic mix of people that I listened to some I
know who have influenced me and others probably subliminally. I
count people like Joan Armatrading, Dusty, Labelle and Nona
Hendryx, Bowie, Bolan, Sparks, John Martyn - some for
singing/performance and some for writing. More recently Craig
Armstrong, Max Richter, Radiohead, Coldplay.
You are very visually expressive when you sing, there is
passion in your face. Have you always been that way?
I am passionate in everything I do! I think it's more that I
know who I am a little more as a person and a performer. Perhaps I
am much more comfortable letting myself tap into the deeper parts
of myself, unleashing the emotions on the audience. In doing that
it is a very cathartic experience for me as well as hopefully my
fans ...I seem more able to put my life experiences including love
and loss in a song and I'm not afraid to be vulnerable in
front of people.
If you weren't doing this for a living, what do you think
you would be doing instead? I always did art in some shape
or form parallel to my music so maybe drawing or sculpture.
What would you say your biggest accomplishment in life is?
Either professionally or personally?
I think simply put, being there for people in song - when I meet
my audience or they get in touch with me telling me how important
it is for them. I consider it a gift I pass on. I have also been
able to keep doing music full time through the struggle when all
others fell by the wayside. Possibly being there for people as an
out artist and surviving the slings and arrows and hopefully
remaining an ambassador?
Can you tell me about your latest album, what inspired
I could never say just one thing or incident inspired it however
whilst writing I came across a song that I began at least 30 years
ago. The emotion and the feeling it inspired in me when I heard it
again was so strong I knew I had to finish it. It has become the
song Home, which is the title track of the album. There is a
definite sense of coming full circle for me on this album
personally and musically There is a comfortable ease and
confidence within the tracks. I am settled with my band and
it shows. I can't single one song out that I don't like! I can't
wait for people to hear them! Maybe this is 'the one.'
Do you have any favourite lyrics from one of your
I like lyrics from now and when Angela (McAlinden) was
co-writing. I think I have a lot of lines which reverberate for me,
particularly now. Most tracks are centred around my life or
experiences. On a very personal level I sang our song Careful to my
mum before she passed away so I find it a very poignant song,
sometimes difficult to sing.
Where do you get your song writing ideas from, is it
your own life, the world around you, or something
As time goes on I dip into my own life experience more and
most recent work is very much based around where or how I am. When
my parents died I went through a process of grieving through my
songs. Those songs on my last album Coming up for air like Heaven
can wait, Stars,.. and End of days have become cathartic for other
people too. On Home, the new album, there's a mix of moods and
experiences, including love of course. Home is about being
finally in the best place and with people that you are finally
comfortable and at peace with yourself.
You have been in the music industry for quite a few years
now, what drives you to keep going, and do you ever get tired of
I never tire from writing recording performing. I get very, very
excited about my work and I enjoy meeting people I get great joy
from creating and singing songs - what's not to love? I am very
lucky to get to do it and worked with Heather (Peace) on a couple
of songs which was fab! What I do get tired of it is all the admin
and business stuff attached to it. Anything that takes me
away from my music.
You are on Facebook and twitter, do you find this is a
good way to connect with a new generation of listeners and
I love it and hate it in equal measure. It is an excellent way
to touch base - the difficulty comes when reality crosses over into
fantasy! Actually I find it a great way to get in touch with every
generation and not just a new generation!
You made a video for the 'It Gets Better' project.
Do you still find that you face homophobia
I have done over the years particularly when the first album
came out. I find that I face less of it, only now you can add
misogyny and ageism to the pot! I do get passed over
sometimes and it may be because of my sexuality I just get on with
it I think it's important that I remain standing and be an example
of how things can get better. The bruises are still here but I
share because I felt there was no-one there for me when I was
growing up. If by me being visible one person finds that helpful
then that makes it worthwhile
What are your plans for the future?
New album Home, UK Tour in November including London Brighton
Edinburgh (see full dates below). 2013 Oz in February, more Home UK
dates and in April there's a special collaboration gig to celebrate
my 20th anniversary in Glasgow, my hometown. Also I
might be going to the US possibly in autumn and lots more
writing...its a busy time.
For more information on Horse, her current UK tour dates and album
information visit www.horsemcdonald.com