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Q&A with NewSong Contest Finalist Breagh Mackinnon

October 10th, 2013
breagh_mackinnonOne of the things that we love most here at NewSong Music is getting to know the talented musicians and wonderful people that we get to work with every day. We are excited to have caught up with Breagh Mackinnon, this year’s 2013 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest International Round winner.  Breagh will be joining the rest of the finalists in New York City on October 19th to perform in the live competition finals at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 
1. You have formal music training in jazz. How does that training influence your style as a singer songwriter? 

 I’m finishing my undergrad in jazz piano performance at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Studying jazz over the past few year has definitely opened my eyes and ears to a style of music that I didn’t know much about before getting to university. Just from a songwriters point of view, checking out the  Tin Pan Alley standards by brilliant writers like Berlin and Gershwin is like a “How-to” for writing songs. Definitely inspiring! 


2. How would you describe your experience as a NewSong Contest regional finalist? What similarities and connections, if any, did you find between your music and the music of other artists in your region? To other finalists who will join you at the finals in New York in October? 

 I have been checking out some of the other finalists in the NewSong contest. I have literally been blown away by how talented everyone is, I’ve found some new favorite songwriters for sure. 

3. Your voice has been described as “strong medicine.” How do you find and keep the balance between instrumentation and vocal presence in your songwriting? 

I often perform solo, so keeping a balance between vocals and instrumentation is easy in that setting. But when working with a band, it can be hard to find the right arrangement to accompany the song without overpowering the vocals. With my genre of music, I try to keep the lyrics front and center.


4. Lincoln Center is widely renowned as one of the world’s greatest venues for the performing arts.  With the NewSong Contest live performance finals taking place on Oct 19th, what does the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center mean to you?
Having the chance to perform at the Lincoln Center will be a surreal experience! I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with such amazing artists, and getting to play at such a well-known music venue is an added bonus.
For more info about Breagh and to hear her music, click here.
To learn more about the NewSong Contest finals at Lincoln Center, click here.