Local artist profile: Louise MacGregor
THIS week we chat with Bendigo singer/songwriter Louise MacGregor, whose first attempts at composing music were sparked by a bout of glandular fever during her teens.
What initially motivated you to become a singer/songwriter?
I don’t actually remember. I don’t think there ever wasn’t a time when I didn’t just assume I was going to sing for my career. I do remember starting to write. I had glandular fever when I was 13 of 14 and my mum bought me a book of sheet music of Jewell’s album Pieces of You, which I was obsessed with at the time, and I couldn’t sing for months so I used the book to teach myself guitar chords. When I was well again I started putting poetry to chords.
How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?
I think the best description is singer and songwriter or acoustic pop. When I give my new songs to my producer friend Daniel Mayes when we make music as Longlea Lane they become electronic, moody synth pop. But then my albums that I did with my old band Louie and the Pride, they sound more folky, so I think the style is in the production sometimes.
Which other bands or musicians inspire you and why?
This is a big list. Vocally, John Farnham would have been my earliest inspiration. As I got older Katie Noonan. They are unique and spectacular. For their incredible expressiveness I would say Tori Amos, Alanis Morrisette, Stevie Nicks. I feel like they showed me music was magic. Then for songwriting Claire Bowditch, Josh Pyke, Neil Finn and Ben Folds. More recently I’ve been obsessed with Half Moon Run and Wolf Alice.
What are some highlights or fond memories you have from your career so far?
About eight years ago I won a competition where you had to learn and perform your own version of a Clare Bowditch song called I Thought You Were God. People voted and I got to sing it with her at one of her shows. Being able to perform that with her was surreal.
During lockdown I would put on online shows and the time my daughters got on and sang harmonies with me was weird and wonderful for me.
Lastly, my husband and I started writing a musical production during lockdown and then our friend Daniel produced it and wrote some amazing songs for it too. Those guys are both music teachers at White Hills and Epsom and those schools put on the production at Ulumbarra a few weeks ago and the kids REALLY rocked.
How can people check out your music online?
On all the platforms you can look up Louie and the Pride, and Longlea Lane. My new release is under Louise MacGregor.
Do you have any gigs coming up?
Yes! It’s live music season! Check out Louise MacGregor Music on Facebook or Instagram for dates.
What would you say to young regional aspiring musicians who are thinking of making a go of the creative life?
Firstly, I’d say figure out if you can’t live without doing it.
Then I’d say find someone who’s having some success in what you do. My friend Ewen Cloonan from The Humbucking Pickups has built this amazing career. There are so many times when I’m so scared to put myself out there and I think “what would Ewen do?”
Anyway, I’ve found it works. Feel the fear and do it anyway.