Bringin’ It Backwards: Interview with Hayley McKay

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Together with American Songwriter, we had the pleasure of interviewing Hayley McKay over Zoom video! 

After recently receiving international acclaim with a number 1 on the Ignition

Country Charts for previous single, this North East Country star is back with another

uptempo Country pop banger, Breathe.

Written in Lockdown in May and co written and produced with Newcastle based

Hattie Murdoch over zoom, the song features pulsating rhythmic guitar, flowing

drums and big melody with slick production and deep bv’s. Inspired by the

lockdown, it’s about being able to enjoy the smaller things in life and taking that all-

important breather that we all need sometime, something much needed in 2020.

Hayley is an accomplished and insightful songwriter with an incredible vocal range

with a distinctive all-round style, which can effortlessly leap from earthy and soulful

raw emotion to soaring and ethereal angelic tones likened to Eva Cassidy, Joni

Mitchel, LeAnn Rimes and Kate Bush. Over the last few years she’s been co-writing

songs with award winning songwriters such as Nashville’s twice Grammy-nominated

songwriter Jan Buckingham (Whitney Houston), Bill DiLuigi, Claire Hamill (Eva

Cassidy, Wishbone Ash), Andy Vitoli, Phil Caffrey and producer/writer Hattie

Murdoch with many news songs to be released over 2021.

Breathe comes after great international response from previous single ‘Thinking

About Last Night’ (April 3rd) after gaining international support from Ireland, UK and

was recently voted in the top 10 Valley FM Indie charts in Australia and in the top 3

best new singles in Ireland. It has also gathered support on BBC Introducing. McKay

was also artist of the week on various international radio stations in the US and the

UK with features in Country Line TV, BMCA and ISSA (International Songwriters


With a forever growing online fanbase with over 6,000 followers across her socials,

she has also had long running national TV, Radio and media support from the BBC

with features in the Telegraph, Crack Magazine and ‘Track of the Week’ on many

occasions on local BBC Radio Tees along with several podcasts and sessions such as

Bob Harris’s Under the Apple Tree in home studio. She has also performed on TV

shows including RTE, The today Show-Ireland’s biggest daytime TV show, STV

Scottish TV including many of her music videos being played on Keep it Country TV.

In 2011 Hayley entered a national talent competition and winning a nice cash prize,

which helped towards the costs of her studying at BIMM (Brighton) and Access to

Music in London amongst her peer Jess Glynne. Since then, with a huge love of

performing she has played up and down the country playing numerous shows, Tours

and major festivals including Glastonbury, Cornbury, Latitude, The Sage Americana

Festival, Hardwick Live and only last year, the iconic music venue The Sage

Summertyne Americana Festival. McKay has also supported major acts Tom Jones,

Albert Lee, Scouting for Girls, Martha Reeves and Hazel O’Connor and was due to

have a big 2020 with confirmed performances at C2C: Country-to-Country at the O2

Arena in London, The British Country Festival and the famous Glastonbury. All now

re-scheduled for 2021.

We want to hear from you! Please email [email protected].

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