Interview: Hayley McKay

We enjoyed listening to your song “Wild West”. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Thank you! The song is about taking risks and uncertainty which I guess is something we all go through at some point in our lives. I know I do sometimes and it can be a harsh world sometimes and you don’t know who to trust sometimes. The song is partly inspired by the Doris Day film Calamity Jane where she moves to a new town full of good and bad cowboys. She falls in love but is scared to open herself up to it at first.
I sat down with my guitar and played a chord progression which I instantly connected with and I developed a tune pretty quickly. I love coming up with melodies. The song has hints of country and the title of “Wild West” set the story. 

You also have an official music video to accompany the song. What ideas went into this and how was it made/filmed?
We filmed the video at The Forum Music Centre Darlington. Richard Doney did a great job and I wanted to create a video which was reminiscent of the wild western days. We found some footage for the projector and the video has scenes of me singing to camera also. 
I think sometimes for videos simple is best and singing to camera can really work if the expression is right and you get the song and story across.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I love so many styles of music and it really is all about the song. There is a definite country/folk sound in my music and my voice gives it the British sound along with acoustic sounds and sometimes fiddle or even piano. 
Some of my inspirations include Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Kate Bush and Eva Cassidy.

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
I’ve supported some well known acts including Tom Jones, Martha Reeves and Scouting For Girls, and have played at some amazing festivals including opening Toad Hall Stage Glastonbury and I love the North East festivals including Lindisfarne and Hardwick Live.

One of my all time favourite gigs however was a big hometown gig at Durham Gala Theatre. The audience was great and I had so many of my friends and family in the crowd which really made it. Another gig which stands out was at Newcastle City Hall at the event Sunday For Sammy where I performed amongst north east legends Mark Knopfler, members of Lindisfarne, Matt Healy (now in the band The 1975) and actor Tim Healy (Auf Weidersehn Pet) introduced me. I sang with a choir behind me and was accompanied by Emily Hoile on the harp. It was such a special night! 

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
I’d love to support Dolly Parton! I think she is a legend, and has been in the industry for years. I love her lyrics and she just seems like a nice bubbly person.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
I have all sorts on my playlist but currently listening to Sam Fender, Amy Macdonald,  Kezia Gill (who I am performing alongside 1st July at The Forum Darlington), and check out North East singer songwriters Phil Caffrey, Marie Marx, Marty Craggs and Scottish band Ron Jappy! 

Hayley McKay: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Tour Dates:
10 November – Gullivers, Manchester – Tickets:
12 November – 229 Club (Venue 2), London – Tickets:
3 December – The Globe, Newcastle – Tickets:

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