An extraordinarily talented vocalist, the UK’s Tara McDonald is most recognised for appearing on some of the biggest dance records of the last decade. 2012 is the year that Tara is flying solo and adding the finishes touches to her first full-length solo record, Give Me More.Wonderland caught up with the dance queen a week after getting signed to Universal.
You’re a very well travelled individual. Whereabouts in the world are you now?
I’m actually on my way home from Liège in Belgium. I haven’t been home for a few weeks, so I’m excited to get back home.
You’ve worked with top producers including David Guetta, Sidney Samson, Axwell, TV Rock. Tell us about these collaborations.
It was something that I completely loved doing and something that I hope to continue to do in the future as I love to work with new people, work in different genres, and create something new. Dance music really embraced me and through my genuine love of the scene I slowly began to gain recognition as a vocalist and songwriter. I have been releasing music for over ten years now, the last five of which have been successful. I guess my breakthrough track was Axwell’s “feel the vibe”. David Guetta is one of the loveliest men in music and working with him was really life changing, especially on the single we wrote together called “Delirious”. Probably the track I’m most known for in the UK is when I featured with Armand van Helden for “My My My”.
You were voted “Best Voice of 2010” by OnlyForDJs magazine. How did that inspire you to keep going?
It was amazing to win that award as it was voted for by the general public. I was really touched that people out their get something from my music. The EDM [electronic dance music] scene can be so faceless and the fact that people recognised my work meant so much to me. Now I have to pay them back by giving them more great music!
You’ve recently signed to Universal. What can we expect from your debut full-length record?
This still sounds so strange to me, as I only just signed my contract less than four days ago. I’m now a signed artist on Mercury/Universal! I know the hard work now starts here – to get a record deal is a mission and it felt like a lifetime to get signed, but then to make it work and be a successful artist is like a whole another level. After all I’ve been through, I can say I’m ready for this now. It’s the next adventure, it’s a challenge and a lifelong dream.
You sang alongside Audrey Hepburn when you were a young girl. Would you say that classic glamour and beauty inspires your image?
When I worked with Audrey she was probably 70 years old and was still so beautiful, chic and elegant. I don’t think I am as poised as her but meeting her had an effect on me and we shared many of the same passions as we were both ambassadors for the children’s charity, UNICEF. This is something that left a big mark on me.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My music is really a melting pot, I don’t put any labels on it. I’m a UK resident, but for the last five years sometimes I’m only home for two days a month because of my work schedule. I spend so long travelling that all things get absorbed into my subconscious and I’m sure that has an impact on my music. The London club scene is of course an inspiration, as the EDM scene in the UK is massive and I have been a devoted nightlife lover since I padded my first bar and got a fake ID. The gay scene in the UK is of course an inspiration too, as this is where I spent my free nights growing up as a teenager in the UK.
Words: Shane Hawkins
Photos: Nicolas Bets @ ULM/Mercury Group/Universal