Maggie McClure: Learn To Adapt Because There’s No Clear Path
Maggie McClure is a singer/songwriter/pianist and one half of the Americana duo The Imaginaries. Her original songs have been placed in TV shows including Cougar Town, The Real World, The Hills, and in movies including A Cowgirl’s Story and Christmas in the Heartland.
In November 2019, Maggie and her husband Shane found themselves with a rented sprinter van full of merchandise and gear, a tour manager, and nowhere to go. Their 25 show holiday tour with The Brian Setzer Orchestra was cancelled just a week before the first show due to Brian having tinnitus.
The holiday tour was the result of months of Maggie’s hard work cold calling, hustling, and creating her own luck. And with one phone call, it was all gone.
But as I learned in our conversation, Maggie is no stranger to creating her own luck and this wasn’t the first time she’s created it.
In this episode, we chat about:
- Why Maggie and her husband make themselves open to all possibilities in life
- Why she moved to Los Angeles to create opportunities for her future instead of going the more traditional route to Nashville or New York
- Her mantra of going all in and going big
- Where she developed the mindset of creating her own luck and going after opportunities
- Why she believes being an entrepreneur and being driven is just part of who you are at your core
- How she dealt with the disappointment of not going on tour with Brian Setzer Orchestra
- How the Brian Setzer disappointment was a great reminder that wer’re not in control of so much in life
- How Maggie creates opportunities out of thin air
- The importance of trying something from a different angle and getting a fresh perspective
- What her endgame is and why it’s not becoming a famous star
- How she knows without a doubt what she’s meant to do
- What playing at Madison Square Garden meant to her
Transcript with Maggie McClure
Today I’m joined by Maggie McClure. She’s a daughter, sister, wife, singer, songwriter, and pianist and one half of the Americana duo, the imaginaries whose debut album is coming out soon in 2020. And Maggie, I saw you’ve had your original songs on all sorts of TV shows like Dr. Phil, Cougar Town, Real World, The Hills, and then a couple movies, A Cowgirl Story, Christmas in the Heartland. And I definitely want to talk about that because I find that really interesting.
Maggie McClure 1:50
I’m curious. One of the big reasons I was really drawn. Oh, there are many parts your story I was drawn to but I mean recently you and your husband Who are the imaginaries have been? I wanted to say I’ve been through kind of Hell with emergency surgeries and a big tour set up that got canceled and all that. Yeah. And it sounds like, like I said, you’ve kind of been through hell.
So I want to understand how we’re doing and how we got through that. But I have to ask you, I rattled off kind of your introduction of who you are, because I think it’s important for everyone to understand who we’re chatting with today. But, um, you have also acted in some commercials, as well as on the ABC TV show The Middle.
Maggie McClure 2:36
Yeah! Which first of all, congratulations on all that.
Maggie McClure 2:40
I’m really curious and I got to start here. Where does acting fit into all this? Like, I feel like you are someone who oh my gosh, your voice is beautiful. Yes, absolutely. You’re so welcome. You’re such a talented pianist as well. But I mean, a couple commercials in the middle that’s not like an accent. Unless it was so I’m curious, where do you fit into all this?
Maggie McClure 3:03
Sure. Well, growing up, I was in musicals in high school and stuff, but my mom always was asking me if I wanted to get into acting. And I was always really shy and never really wanted to get into that as a kid growing up, I always wanted to stick to piano and voice songwriting, percussion. And then I did dance as well. So it acting kind of was a little bit intimidating to me growing up, but I loved being in musicals because obviously the music component to it all.
So I do have a background in that and I went to Oklahoma City University, which is a really big musical theater school. I was not actually really involved with the productions there but surrounded by that world. I studied music business with emphasis in piano. So thank you for the compliment about being a pianist. But really what happened is my husband and I, Shane, and we moved to LA from Oklahoma. And really, where just open and still are to all possibilities. And so throughout being in Los Angeles and, you know, doing different things with our music, getting different opportunities, obviously, we naturally met a lot of people in the industry.
And, you know, the music industry collides a lot of the time with the film industry, especially in Los Angeles. And so I mean, having my songs in a lot of different movies and TV shows definitely played a part in that because I was already kind of in that world of post production. Sure, life. And so I kind of already had an introduction from that angle into the film industry. But really what kicked it off is, when we were in LA, we went to a big conference, right when we moved there.
I challenged my husband, I was like, okay, we’re going to talk, we’re not going to talk to each other at this event, you’re going to talk to as many people as you can talk to, and I’m going to do the same thing. And just, you know, be friendly. See what everybody is up to, you know, maybe we could collaborate with some people here because it was Nam, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with but it’s a big music convention. That happens every year in Anaheim.
So, we’re like, okay, the chance of someone being here that we might be able to collaborate with is probably pretty, pretty good. So we did that. And one of the people that I met his name is Kenny burgomaster. He’s an amazing composer. And he’s done a lot of work on a lot of shows that I watched growing up. And so we immediately connected because he told me some of the different shows that he had done music for, including like Power Rangers, which my brother and I are like super fans growing up.
I was as well.
Maggie McClure 6:22
Yeah, it’s awesome. So and also like a bunch of Disney shows like Halloween Town, which I also love. And that was totally my era when that first came out. So we instantly connected and he was like, really excited that I was so excited about all the things he had done, because that doesn’t always happen for composers. So we connected and I followed up with him the next day, and I said, Hey, it was so great to meet you.
And he said, Yeah, you too, you know, I don’t usually work with vocalists, but I actually need a female A singer, like this week to come seeing on some Christmas songs for a project I’m working on, are you available? And I was like, yeah, I’m available. Let’s go. So it was like, early February, I think. And that’s really when holiday projects are being worked on. And so I went to a studio. We I think I sang vocals on maybe like three or four songs, just like some Christmas covers for this ABC Family movie that he was working on. And it was just for a demo.
So it was the demo for the actual singers on the TV show to sing to so it was like my voice was like a guide for what they were doing. And so I was like, This is cool. I’ve never done anything like this. This is really cool. I got paid and left and it was awesome. Well literally like The next few days he calls me, and he was like, so the vocal contractor for this movie is my friend and he’s listening to your demos, because he’s the one who’s going to be sending them to the actors to sing. And so as it turns out, the actors who were singing my parts were like Tia and tamera Mallory Yeah. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s so cool.
Um, and so it was just a crazy like, you know, course of events that happened also quickly. So as it turns out, he says, Hey, is it okay? If I give your number to the vocal contractor on this movie? Because he actually really likes your voice and he wants you to sing on the actual movie. I was like, Okay, so this. This like, happened a few days later.
He calls me the most contractor and that relationship started and he is the one who years later called me and said, Hey, I know this is really random but I’m, I’m doing vocal contracting and casting for the middle on ABC and Su HEC has an noca acapella club. And I think he would be perfect for it. No offense, he says, but you kind of I think he would really pull off a choir nerd really well. It was like, Well, that’s because I was what I mean.
So there you go. So I was I was just like, yeah, of course I want to do it. So I still had to go in and audition their web, which was, you know, pretty crazy. But it was an awesome, awesome opportunity. And there were about 20 people in the room and they chose six of us. three girls, three guys. And I think we were filming that next week. It was just all like so fast. And so that kind of is what got me into acting.
So this all came about because well there’s
Maggie McClure 10:17
Well, there’s a lot here in terms of like, I think it speaks to your, your drive and your work ethic, but also the fact that you were in LA, like all these opportunities came about because you were, you know, thinking ahead to being in LA to being open to opportunities and connecting. But so you and your husband are the imaginaries this beautiful Americana music.
And you both have had previously I mean, you have and have had successful solo musical careers. And so we have two musicians here who were fiercely talented both individually and together. And you both moved to LA instead of Nashville. That’s the question I have. I can see Why this all led to really great opportunities? But why did you have the foresight to move to LA and not Nashville or New York? Or? Why LA?
Maggie McClure 11:07
Yeah, well, um, we both. So we’re both from Oklahoma, and we got married in 2011. And we have both been to Nashville and La many, many, many times. And at that time, neither of our projects were really leaning towards country or Americana, in any way, really. And we thought, Well, if we’re gonna do this, let’s just go for it. You know, let’s go big, because Nashville would be a lot easier. It’s only 10 hours away. It’s, it feels a lot more like Oklahoma.
The people are very similar. kinder, just, but we just thought if we’re gonna do this, let’s just Go, let’s do it. Let’s figure it out. And let’s go big. And it’s something that we had always talked about. We had gone there many, many, many times for songwriting trips and different things. So it was not an easy thing to do. Obviously, it’s extremely hard to make ends meet out there. And to find your path in a, in a city like that, where there’s so many people doing what you’re doing and so many talented, hard working people doing what you’re doing.
So, really, it just came down to let’s go big and see what happens. And it’s really cool because, yeah, that opportunity would have never come if we weren’t there. And, you know, fast forward to now like I’m actively auditioning for things. Right now it’s a little bit slow, but I mean, typically on a weekly basis, I’m auditioning for different projects, commercials, feature films, TV shows and different things all over the country and world. Because that, that opportunity showed me, oh, wow, this is another thing that I could do. That is also creative.
And it’s been really awesome because when I am on set, I usually get the opportunity to talk to someone about post production, and they’re really excited that I have music and the imaginaries have music that we own and, and we wrote so it’s very easy for them to put into their film or TV show. They don’t have to get clearance from a label or publisher.
So it’s been a really cool opportunity for the acting stuff to provide opportunities for music and vice versa. So We definitely both love Nashville too. We’ve spent more time there recently. And you know, who knows, we could have a chapter there as well. But that’s the long story of what you just asked.
I love how you have not set yourself up for like success here but you like a savvy businesswoman as the way I’m putting it here like you. You are very Yes. Oh, my gosh, you’re welcome. It’s like, I think what I’m trying to say is you’re not waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap. You’re actively chasing them. You’re actively exploring what’s out there. You’re actively I think of that phrase.
What is it? Luck equals preparation meets opportunity. Yes. And that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re creating your own luck because you’re prepared for any opportunity to come your way.
Maggie McClure 15:00
I’m curious, like, what? What drove you to have that mindset? Because not everyone. There are many people who dream and yearn for their dreams to come true. But not everyone does that preparation meets opportunity. They wait for the quote unquote, luck, right? Where did you find the mindset of No, I’m gonna go out there and get it.
Maggie McClure 15:26
Yeah. Well, my whole life, I’ve really been that way. And I think that has a lot to do with it. I think that some people are just born with this innate feeling of drive. It’s like, and I know a lot of people who don’t have that, and it’s not a problem. It’s just who they are. It’s who I am. So I think a lot of it has to do with if you’re born that way, if you have that character trait.
So I would say that is definitely part of it. My dad is really like that. He’s an entrepreneur, very proactive, very forward thinking, creating opportunities. My mom is like that as well. So I think probably my family upbringing probably has something to do with that. But I would, you know, also, I was one of those kids who had to have straight A’s in school. So, I mean, you know what I mean, I just think it’s part of who you are.
You’re just naturally driven it sounds like.
Maggie McClure 16:36
Yeah, it just translates into everything that I’ve done and everything I do, but, you know, I, I decided that I wanted to be a professional singer, songwriter, recording artist A long time ago, and I knew that when I made that decision, that it was not going to be easy, you know, probably and that the There was gonna be this uphill climb.
And it’s, it’s constantly been that and so I think it’s wise for people who are entering into something to be realistic about what it’s going to be like and be okay with that and understand how much work goes into it. And yeah, I’ve never been one to wait around on an opportunity. I don’t think that is a very good way to go about things. If you do get amazing opportunities out of the blue, good, good for you.
That’s amazing. But for me, I found that to be a rare thing. A lot of the opportunities that are a lot of accomplishments I’ve had is mostly it’s not all because I created an opportunity but it has a lot to do with that. It has a lot to do with making it happen. And a lot of the things that I’ve accomplished have not come easy. They came with following up 25 times, you know, like,
Oh, the power of the follow up.
Maggie McClure 18:11
Yes, positive persistence, positive and polite persistence. So I’ve, I’ve learned that’s the way to go and not, you know, not take no for an answer. When I started out, you know, I would think, okay, if someone’s not responding, they’re not interested. But a lot of the time, it’s because they’re swamped. They’re really busy. So you may just not catch them on a good day. And so that has a lot to do with it as well. So I am definitely a big advocate of making things happen.
I love that advice. I share that about following up like if they haven’t responded, there are so many reasons that are probably not I don’t want to talk to you. It’s just so many other reasons that my advice is similar. It’s just always like until you have a yes or no. Keep going, like yeah, asking them like until they’ve gotten back to you with a firm answer.
No. That’s great. Yeah. Always. If you’re someone that always strove for the straight A’s and always had that drive, I would think when things, you know, be even beyond your control happen where you can, you can’t get that straight A that you want and you strive for and you work for that that’s got to be tougher than it would be for someone who doesn’t have that drive. I’m thinking of Yeah, I mean, this past Christmas season 2019. You and your husband as the imaginaries are going on tour with Brian Setzer. Is it Brian Setzer, and is it still Brian Setzer orchestra or it’s just Brian Setzer. No.
Maggie McClure 19:51
Yeah, we were we were going to be opening for the Brian Setzer orchestra Christmas rocks to her. Yes.
Okay, I’m remembering that song from back then. The day Yeah, and well, yeah. So you’re about to go on tour and open for the entire holiday tour for Brian Setzer. And then like, what days before you’re about to leave, he gets severe. What is it called tinnitus. And so he can’t perform the entire tour is cancelled.
You have a sprinter, van, all your equipment, all your merchandise for six weeks, you’re ready to go. I can’t make it. I just can’t imagine that moment. I would be crushed. I mean, how do you get back up from that? I mean, it’s beyond your control. I mean, you can’t control brain sensors, health, but how do I get back up from that and say, No, I’m still going after? What I want to go after.
Maggie McClure 20:41
Yeah, well, let me let me tell you the backstory to that. So it’s important to know, all of us really. Starting a year ago, June 21 2019, my husband Shane had an emergency happened. To me, and we were in the studio, I was recording vocals on a session that we got hired to sing on. And all of a sudden, he was like, I have to go to the emergency room, we have to go now.
And that’s never happened. I mean, we’ve known each other for a long time. And that’s never happened. It was really scary. And unfortunately, the surgery did not go very well. He got infected and it was like this five month process of him getting back to being able to sing and play shows because oh, man, he had to have his appendix removed. So you know that his whole area of his diaphragm and everything, it just his whole voice, and obviously, stamina was affected.
So that was a really hard season of getting him back to normal. And so during that process we had a lot of shows, obviously That we had to cancel at that point because of his health. So, during that time, he encouraged me. He said, Maggie, I know that we can’t do a lot right now. But something that we can do is we can work really hard on the computer and make some calls. And he said, I know you can do it. I can’t really do much, but I think you should try to get us on a Christmas tour opening for someone. And I know that you can do it. And I was like, okay.
I’ll accept that challenge. So this was July, when I started contacting people. And so, I mean, I, we are our own everything. We don’t have a manager or an agent. Anything so thankfully, we have an amazing publicist. But other than that, it’s just the two of us calling the shots and making stuff happen. So I didn’t know what to do, but I thought, well, I guess I’ll look up and see who is recording a Christmas album because it was pretty early, you know, like June July.
Yeah, it’s kind of hard to tell who’s going to be releasing a Christmas album and who’s touring because it’s not really announced yet. So I had to do a lot of fishing to figure that out. And once I made a list, I made a list of about 25 bands. Everyone from, goodness, Pentatonix to the Brian Setzer Orchestra to all kinds of acts of different sizes, but they were all doing Christmas tours.
So no one told me how to do this, but I just thought, okay, I’m just going to try See what happens. So I spent a ton of time looking up their management and their booking agents. And I emailed them all. And just said, Hey, we’re the imaginaries. We specialize in Christmas music. We did the halftime show at the Knicks game on Christmas for their Christmas special halftime show and Madison Square Garden. We’ve had a lot of our songs placed in Christmas movies.
You know, just trying to give them the top holiday accomplishments. And we would love to support your artists for their upcoming Christmas tour. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to hearing from you. And so I sent out a ton of emails so for all those artists, they they all at least had, you know, three to five people on their team. And just figuring out who those people are and then figuring out their email address is not easy.
I’ve been there before. Yeah, I’m smiling here at the you won’t let anything get in the way. I love this.
Maggie McClure 25:16
Thank you. So I just wanted you to know the story of getting the tour because that in itself is a really hard thing to do these days. So I emailed Brian sensors, management, and they said, you know, and I want to add, every single person that I emailed, almost wrote me back, which I was very surprised, because I figured if they weren’t interested, they just wouldn’t reply.
There we go again, assuming but I got a firm no or will keep you in mind from almost all of them, which I was really encouraged by that alone. So, Brian sensors management said, Hey, thank you so much. We’ll keep you in our list of potential openers. And I thought, well, that’s a nice response. Yeah. So I said, Thank you so much, you know, let us know if you have any questions or anything. So we just are going about life and it’s our anniversary, we decide we’re going to take a vacation. Well, because we never really do if we, if we do it always ends up being a tour.
That’s how you get to different places.
Maggie McClure 26:41
Yes. Yeah. So we’re like, we’re actually going to go on vacation. So we wouldn’t go to Santa Fe. And like the day we get there, they call or they they email. They’re like, hey, Can you guys talk? And we were like, yeah. So they said, Would you like to do the tour? And we’re like, yes.
You know, tell us when and where we’ll be there. And they said, Well, can you do all 25 dates? said, Yes, we can. So then it turned into Okay, well, we need you to write up 25 contracts for each show. And we need you to do it like in the next couple days. And so that’s how we spent the rest of our vacation.
Oh, no. You’re just not destined to have a vacation,
Maggie McClure 27:37
I guess. It’s okay. So we got all that done. And it was all solidified. You know, it wasn’t until October 1 when we got that call. So that’s how last minute and it was because the first show is scheduled for November 15. So that’s not a lot of time.
No, that’s only a couple of weeks.
Maggie McClure 27:58
In between, finding out and the first date of the tour which was supposed to be, we decided, Okay, we need a new Christmas song. So we wrote a new Christmas song, recorded it. And then we got all of our past Christmas songs that we’ve recorded and we put everything together under a new the in the imaginaries brand. And this album, I think 13 songs called hometown Christmas.
So we get that designed, we get it printed. They’re merged people tell us you guys are gonna kill it. You need to buy a ton of CDs and a ton of T shirts because you’re gonna sell like crazy on the tour. So we’re like, oh my gosh, I guess we’ll put it on credit cards. I don’t know what else to do, but we know we’re gonna sell it all. So, that’s leading up to it. Now we call our tour manager friend, Randy says Like, hey, you want to go on the road? He’s like, yeah, I’m a huge Brian Setzer fan.
So he helps us get the Sprinter van which we go to Nashville to rent. We have him. He just moved out of his place in Colorado, and basically was like homeless because he was going to be on the road with us for that long. So it was just crazy. We were all about to leave literally days before, like two days, maybe three before the first show. We had everything together miraculously. And the tour got cancelled.
So I guess Brian had been dealing with severe tinnitus, and it was getting worse and they had rehearsals. And it just wasn’t happening. So that was a huge letdown, as you said. And as I’m sure you can imagine because it is completely out of your control. And so gosh that was literally just like to get that opportunity was so amazing and then to get it taken away like that it was just a huge reminder to us about how you’re not in control of so much.
So you know we we were pretty sad for a few days and then we were like okay forget this crap we’re gonna figure this out and Shane was like Maggie I don’t know how you do it and so I just decided we’re not going to sit here and Waller you know and self pity because there’s still time to book Christmas shows that he is just like, oh my gosh and so Mind you, we usually are really busy over the holidays with lots of corporate parties that we had turned down in order to go on this tour.
Maggie McClure 31:09
So the first thing I do is call them and they’re like, sorry, you know, once you guys said you weren’t available, we booked someone else like two months ago. It’s like, oh my gosh. So it was literally like, a miracle. I worked so hard. And people felt so bad for us that people reached out and we’re like, Hey, will you come play our corporate party?
And just, it was really, it turned out to be a huge blessing. We had an extremely busy holiday season. And thank God we did, because you know, after preparing for that tour, and all the things that we did, if we didn’t have some shows to play, I think that would have been really sad. So I’m just really great. For for how that turned out.
I’m at a loss for words here. It must have been such a letdown. Yeah. And I I can so empathize with that just must have crushed you but I’m also like energized now hearing the whole story of how you created this opportunity out of thin air. I mean to you created this and yeah, it got taken away due to circumstances beyond your control and that really sucks.
But I’m also energized now I’m thinking you did this once. You could do it again. Yeah, I mean, what I’ve just learned here is that you’ve proven yourself that you can create opportunities out of thin air. And yeah, I mean, like I said, that one’s gone. But what’s to stop you from doing it again? That’s amazing, Maggie,
Maggie McClure 32:50
Thank you. Thank you so much. And, you know, his management did feel really, really bad for us and they told us, you know, You guys will definitely get to do it the next time if he’s feeling better. And so fast forward to now, you know, Shane’s he went out to them again this year in Anaheim and got to hang out with Brian’s management. And they said, yeah, I mean, Brian’s doing a lot better.
It’s looking like the Christmas tours gonna happen this year. So that was really great news for us was like, yeah, we might get to do it this year. But now with COVID you know, it’s all really unknown at this point. So, but you know, yes, I am very encouraged that we got that opportunity. And I know that we can do it again, we can do something like it again, we can do something bigger than that.
You know, it is really encouraging because a lot of the time after trying something for so long, you just think oh, Okay, well, I guess that’s not gonna work. But it was trying something from a different angle. It was getting a fresh perspective is trying something different. That, you know, let the opportunity be so
You mentioned earlier when I asked about why move out to LA, you mentioned that it was basically if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this full force. What What is this? Like? What is it that we’re going after? Here? Is it you mentioned you you wanted to be?
You’ve always wanted to be professional singer songwriter, and you knew you’re gonna be on a journey, it was gonna be a difficult one is like, what’s kind of the, and there might not be one because I don’t necessarily think there always is one. But like, what’s the end game? Is there a certain like milestone you’re going after?
Maggie McClure 34:52
Yeah. I think honestly, for us, it’s being able to continue to write and record Music and tour and do all the things that we know we’re meant to do, and not have to worry about making ends meet. I think at the end of the day being like, financially stable, doing what we love is is the end result and being able to do it together. It never really was for either of us, like we want to be a star.
I mean, no, that’s not really it at all. We just want to be able to do what we know are meant to do, and be able to sustain from that. So, you know, I feel really lucky and blessed that I do know without a doubt, like in my bones, what I’m meant to do, because I know a lot of people who don’t know what they’re meant to do, and so, even though it’s probably one of the very hardest careers to pursue right now. At least I know it’s So,
yeah, I don’t know. I don’t hard career. Absolutely. But I’m thinking, is there anyone better suited for this than yourself? Because I mean, you have what? You know, you’ve got the business sense. You’ve got the understanding that this is going to be an uphill battle at times. I’m not expecting things on a silver platter here. And then most importantly, you have the talent.
Oh, my gosh, I mean, your voice that song coming home you have this is just a tangent, or a side tangent. Yeah, that song coming home is one of them. I was listening to it so many times. I was trying to listen to other music too, but I kept coming back that song, it’s just so beautiful.
Maggie McClure 36:39
I don’t know. It just takes me away. So thank you for writing and putting Yeah, of course.
Maggie McClure 36:47
That’s awesome. Thank you for telling me that.
Yeah. So yeah, I think you are you’re so well, so well suited for this. Is that why you kind of mentioned earlier the imaginaries brand and I just Hi, I’m smiling here because I love how you in your husband here and you, especially this entrepreneur, really, you’re building, you know what you want to build, and you just set it. You know, the dream you’re going after, but you’ve figured out how to get there. And just I try to think of how to phrase this.
I don’t think every musician, I think other musicians and other performers have the same dream you do have, I meant to do this, and I want to make a living doing it just so I can simply do this rest of my life. I don’t think they all have the rest, though, of understanding understand that, you know, moving to LA and putting the opportunity or putting ourselves out there for opportunities and all that. So like, what I’m getting at is you to have your own successful solo careers.
Like I said, You have all sorts of music and then Shane, you’re in two semi different genres, but she’s got a whole catalogue of music and talent over the years. Yes, coming together. Now. As the imaginary isn’t that brand, sort of like, we’re stronger together than we are apart, or I’m curious, what’s the impetus behind like, bringing together into the imaginaries? Your two are just amazingly talented together.
Maggie McClure 38:15
Well, thanks. I mean, you know, we started playing shows together in 2006. And we started touring together pretty heavily in about 2009 when I got a college booking agent, so I booked this national showcase. And from that, I booked a ton of college dates all over the country. And at the time, I was pretty young, and I was like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize like, I’m gonna have to be driving across the country like by myself and go play all these shows.
This is kind of crazy, you know? And so I always Like Shane, you know, we had been dating for a few years at that point. I said, Do you want to play guitar with me and come with me on the road, since you’ve kind of done this before? And, you know, like this caliber of touring? And he said, Well, okay, yeah, sure, let’s do it. So that is really what started us playing together a lot as a duo. Fast forward a year or two, the agency decided to take Shane on as well. And so then we were playing his shows, and I would back him up on piano and sing. So playing as a duo, it was happening a lot. And so we naturally just developed that chemistry together.
Obviously, this whole time we’re dating too. So that’s another component to it all, but we just did it so much. We started writing together. And you know, we always had our separate careers. Yours since we knew each other, I mean, that’s how we met. I opened a show for him when I was 16. And he was 20. So that’s how we met was I opened for him. And you know, he’s got his blues rock thing down. I mean, he’s so good at that. And there’s not a lot of people doing that right now.
My genre is very different, like you said singer songwriter, kind of, you know, pop rock, if you will. But it’s just been a natural thing that’s happened over the years now we’ve been married for eight and a half years. And we’ve played so many shows together. And a lot of the time, people don’t want a band, they just want to do they want to keep it simple.
So because of necessity, we play as a duo or because of budget restraints, we play as a duo or because of travel arrangements we play as a duo. So that just playing together as duo has been huge. Now another component is when we were in LA, we got we and we still do we get a lot of opportunities to write for film and TV like songs specifically for a certain show. And so we’ll get what they call a brief so they’ll call and say, Hey, can you guys write and record something that sounds like this. It’s about this, it needs to be this tempo, you know, very specific guidelines. And, and so we found ourselves doing a lot of these and the songs did not really fit what Shane was doing or what I was doing.
And so I was like, well, we’ll just keep those kind of in the catalogue, maybe someday we’ll record them. So, you know, fast forward a few years. We, you know, are still talking about doing a band together pretty often. But the idea of doing something new is just extremely terrifying. Because it’s like starting all the way over after we’ve been doing this for a long time. So, really, what did it is when we got an opportunity to go to Muscle Shoals, Alabama we submitted for this project called the one mic series. Hosted by john Cooney barity, who is a Grammy Award winning engineer.
And I had submitted my material and Shane’s and I also told john, hey, we are also working on something together. I don’t really have anything to send you really, but just wanted to throw that out there. And he responded, he said, Oh my gosh, I love you both. I can’t pick you both. I only have one slot. So can you do this as your new band together? And we were like, okay, so that kind of kicked it into gear. Once we got selected for that. We went to Muscle Shoals we had to come up with a band name, and we had to know which songs we were doing. So the one mic series is all about having a full band all around one microphone. And there’s no edits after the fact. No, oh, overdubs after the fact. So the way the way it’s recorded is the way it sounds. Done deal.
So, John is like a mastermind at this and he had his measuring tape out and everything. It was like crazy. He’s like, okay, Maggie, you need to stand right here, Shane, farther back because your voice is a lot stronger. Okay, guitars way back drums in the very back. So he had it all spaced out perfectly. It was like, you know, a math problem. Really? It was crazy. Yeah. So that was an incredible experience. And we got to meet and work with some amazing session players and Muscle Shoals. And after that, we were like, wow, that was really invigorating and fresh and really exciting.
And this is kind of a new sound for us. And we’re like, okay, we’re doing a band and we’re gonna do a kick. Kickstarter campaign and we’re gonna do the whole thing. We’re gonna start all the way over with a new project. And yeah, it’s been interesting building building something new at this point. But it’s also been really exciting and fun, which I think we both needed, you know, after doing this for a while and just kind of getting beat down after so many things. But, yeah, I mean, it’s been a very natural thing that’s happened. And it’s a nice marriage, if you will of my style and his and it’s got some really cool new elements to it. So definitely a more Americana, vibe singer songwriter. And I don’t think either of us really would have gone there in our solo projects, so it’s really cool. And I do feel like we’re We will continue to make solo music. But right now we’re focused on this. And there is definitely something to be said about synergy. Because it does feel like when we’re doing it together that it’s kind of magical, you know? And very special.
It just feels right, I imagine like, yeah, there’s that that feeling you can’t describe where you’re like this is this is right.
So once again, you were prepared for an opportunity here. I mean, you had already been thinking about both of you being in a band together, and you’ve obviously a very in tune with each other. You had some songs that hadn’t quite found where they’re supposed to shine yet. Yeah. And then this opportunity shows up and you’re like, Wait a second. This is it. This is what that was the spark that fire needed.
Mm hmm. Definitely. Yeah. I think there’s a lot A lot to be said for just being prepared for whatever happens, and just trying to always think ahead. Because you never know. And, you know, I would definitely encourage everyone out there to be open to things like, I think, some problem that we both had when we started out with our careers is, this is the way we’re doing it. There’s no other way, you know, just like, very
Yeah, tunnel vision. Yeah. And because we’re open to this or that. I mean, it’s just been really cool. Because, yeah, maybe something isn’t exactly what you had in mind, but it could most definitely open a door to something else. That could be exactly what you had in mind. And so that’s, that’s certainly something we’ve learned in recent years.
Are there any moments throughout all of this that just kind of changed the trajectory for you of what could be possible and what could happen. Like, I’m thinking, so many amazing opportunities, so many things you probably learned from the moment you moved to LA until now. And you know how much you’ve probably grown as a person as an individual. And also as a, you know, both of you together, but were there any, were there any specific moments along the way that kind of just changed everything for you and like, moving you in a direction you never thought would be possible?
Yeah, I mean, I think for me personally, there’s definitely a handful of moments that have made a big impact on my life. And one of them was when I got to open for Sara barelas. That was an amazing opportunity. And I actually did that show solo, because Shane was actually opening up for grand funk railroad at the same time. He was in totally normal thing to do. I know. It’s so crazy. So he was in Tucson, Arizona, and I was in Pocatello, Idaho.
And, you know, it was an incredible experience because I, I really feel like I rose to the occasion and just was like in my element, and it felt so good to be able to do that. It was a good reminder. It’s awesome. And I know Shane feels the same way. It’s awesome to be able to play together. But it’s also really encouraging when you’re reminded that you can also do this on your own. And so that was a big moment for me. Thankfully, my my dad flew out with me because after the show, we just, we just got it was crazy at the merch table. I mean, it was nuts.
It was so cool. I loved I loved the opportunity to experience but I just remember being onstage opening for her, that was a really big pivotal moment for me. And that was right after I had released my good morning and good night EP. And of course, she’s amazing. So that was just a really great opportunity. And then, you know, being on set of the middle, I got to be on there three times. So I had a small recurring role. But being on set on something like that was also very eye opening and like, Okay, I’m doing this, this is really amazing.
That opened my eyes to more acting opportunities for sure. Being on set of a cowgirl story and getting to sing on camera, a song that I wrote with the director, and getting to have Shane with me and then our friends Playing in the band. I mean, that was just an awesome opportunity and experience I’ll never forget all very good reminders that, you know, this is, this is possible. This does happen every day. And I can be a part of this.
And when we got to play at Madison Square Garden that was, I mean, crazy. It was such an incredible experience and opportunity. And we did that game. Yeah, we did the halftime show for their Christmas themed game, which each NBA team has one holiday themed game. And so you know, this whole Christmas music genre for us has opened a lot of doors. It really has and it’s not something we ever did because we thought it would be successful or something. We just love Christmas music and I think That’s why it has been successful is because our motives were in the right place.
But yeah, how many how many fans? You think we’re at that next game? I mean, Madison Square Garden. That must have been one of the I was that one of the biggest crowds you played for?
Yeah, I think it, uh, I want to say, maybe 20,000 or something like that.
That’s a lot of people. Yeah, it’s bigger than small towns and rural America.
It was crazy. But I will say that, like I can totally understand. When you hear x talk about when they’re playing arenas, there’s like no nervousness at all because you’re so far away from people and you can’t see them. You know, it’s just like, it’s, it’s not as intimidating as like a couple hundred person show where you can still see everyone’s eyes, you know, it’s a totally different thing and we both were totally collected and cool and calm. We were we surprised ourselves. We’re like, wow, that was really fun. Let’s do it again, you know?
So that was definitely a moment. Yeah, and I guess, you know, the two are the Brian Setzer tour booking that knowing that this is this is a big possibility for us this we had this you know, there’s no reason why we can’t do something like this again. And so lots of good reminders, lots of eye opening experiences for sure.
Do you ever? I’m curious because I’m like this, the Brian Setzer orchestra, the opportunity you created. There is a great example of this. That was something big right? And you did it. You created this out of thin air. And you made this happen. Do you think to yourself, Well, yes, I can do this. Again. I’m capable. I’ve proven it to myself. But next time, I’m going to take it up a notch. Yeah, no bigger just to beat myself because I think I do that.
Oh yeah, totally. Yeah, for sure. Um, you know, if if the tour doesn’t end up happening this year, I mean, I don’t know, this year. It’s just so weird, obviously. But yeah, I’m definitely I’m thinking, Man, well, if I can, if I can do that, you know, why can’t I do something bigger? There’s no reason. So especially because I’ve gotten feedback from all of these managers. I mean, that’s huge. Even though they said, Sorry, we’re not having support, but we love your music. I mean, just to have that established. Contact is huge. Yes.
Yeah. I, I felt the same way. I’ve contacted people for the podcast. And I’ve had that similar feeling of like, just simply, regardless of what they said when they got back to me. In fact, I was able to make like you said, establish content. I was kind of like, oh, I can do that. Yeah. Well, what do I want to do next, right?
Oh, yeah, no, I totally am. I’m with you on that. Yeah. I’m like, Okay, now I’m gonna take it up a notch. What are you gonna do next? Yeah.
That’s so much fun. I always wonder when I, when I feel myself doing that or feel myself getting excited about one upping that, I think. What is that? Because I’m not a competitive. I guess I’m competitive in some ways. I’m not an athletic, competitive person.
I’m not either. I’m not either.
Maybe we’re competitive with ourselves.
Yes. I think that’s it.
Like we try and push ourselves to be what we think could be even more. achieve even more. Yeah, okay.
Yeah, that makes sense. Exactly. Like, I could care less about, you know, keeping score on games or whatever.
Yeah, who cares?
Yeah, I’m the same exact way.
Yeah, even like, playing teams. I mean, I think when I was a kid, Mom and Dad had me like baseball, soccer, you know, trying it out. first graders something they really care about. Yeah, it’s like if I could push myself, I guess it’s different story.
Yeah. Well, it’s encouraging. You know, when you, when you see what you can do, it’s like, oh, okay, like I didn’t, I thought it was an option, but I didn’t really know if it really was and now that I do, it’s like, Whoa, okay, so let’s take it up a notch.
Yeah, it becomes tangible. I think you just described it so perfectly. That’s the the best part for me is just once you see Oh, my gosh, like, I thought this can be possible. It was kind of a dream. And now it is. Yeah. Oh, wow. And that’s just like, I don’t know, there’s no, that’s one of the best feelings of like, just, oh my gosh, I created this thing that I thought maybe I could do.
But I wasn’t sure. And now it’s here. It’s right in front of me. Yeah. And oh my gosh, that’s just like, that’s just a great feeling. Yeah, he was that you wish you shared Tell me stories here. Now. You you’ve done that time after time after time. I wonder, are we gonna get to a point? Are you gonna get to a point where it’s just harder and harder to one up yourself?
Hey, if that happens, that’s a good problem to have. There we go.
That’s the success right there. I’m like, that’s my endgame when I can no longer one up myself.
Yeah, exactly. Oh, and I did want to add I, I think it’s important to be clear that, you know, I don’t really feel like there is a certain clear path to do what we’re doing. There is in a lot of other industries, but for the music business right now, specifically. I mean, as you are aware, I’m sure everything is just try it and see if it works, you know, even more so than you know, last year because of COVID.
I mean, we’ve had a we’ve obviously had Have we had to regroup many times with the release can’t campaign and strategy with our new album. We were first going to release it and then Shane had his appendix out, then we were going to release it after the Brian Setzer tour, and then this the tour fell through. So we were in the hole quite a bit. And then we were going to do it started in March and then COVID happened.
So I think it’s important to note that it’s really important to have plans but it’s also really important to be able to adapt and adjust as needed, because I think that’s so much of what we do is adopting and making decisions and not there’s not really a clear path. So it is kind of just going with your gut and trying different things and seeing what works.
I think you’ll spend more time adapting than you do in a constant like you’re gonna spend more time adapting to the changes around you than you are in a straight line. Yeah. a certain period of time.
Yeah, for sure.
Didn’t you have emergency or non emergency, but didn’t you have come surgery in January of this year to top it all off?
Oh, gosh. Not fun. But yeah, I had I had to have gum surgery. I had gum recession, and it was getting worse and worse. And that’s okay. It’s done. It’s it’s done then. I’m much better now. But yeah, I couldn’t seem for about two months.
A long time. It’s a really long time and who makes their living off the ability to have a beautiful voice?
Yeah, so that was really hard. And during that time, I was booking shows like crazy for the summer in the spring, and our first big show is set for March 14. The big outdoor festival and that was the very first show that got canceled because of COVID. And yeah, we’ve had about 25 shows, since then get canceled, I mean, even leading into the early fall. So it’s, again, it’s just like, Okay, this is completely out of my control. All I can control is how I react. And so what are we going to do instead?
I love that. This is not the first time that notion of all we can do is control how we react has come up, and I I’m so thankful that you and that I keep getting reminded of that, because I think that’s so hard to remember that like, even though we can’t control all these things, we can absolutely control how we feel react about it and how we kind of what we get out of that. Yeah. What you just described of I mean, gum surgery nomina spend time booking all these shows. And then, you know, COVID heads and takes them away to an extent so far.
But still, all of that booking to me is like, just practice almost like you’re like just exercising that muscle continuing to up your game. because like you said, You are you and Shane are the entire staff here of the imaginaries. So you’ve in my mind, you’ve kind of shown just continued to like practice, and it’s like, oh my gosh, could you imagine when COVID xover in 2021, whatever, you know, and you’re back at it. I mean, you guys are gonna be just non stop.
Oh, well, thank you. Yeah. And again, like, it’s cool that I’ve made the contacts even though the gigs are canceled this year, they’ll probably happen next year. So, you know, like we said, establishing that contact regardless is very important. So
Yeah, that’s so key to is like I’m seeing now you could almost spend Like the live music portion was taken away from you due to, you know, global pandemic, but you’re still like, well, I can still form and continue relationship building for as long as I need to. So that when the live music is given back to us again, preparation meets opportunity. You’ve set yourself up for some good luck coming up. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Oh my god, I just so inspirational, the way you approach this, I’m learning. Yeah, I can approach what I’m up to.
Yeah. Well, good. That’s awesome. And yeah, I mean, it’s also important to know how, okay, well, we can’t do that. So what else are we going to do? And a lot of musicians right now are doing nothing because maybe all they do is play live and they don’t really feel like doing a live stream show because it’s too much work. It is a lot of work, but I think us just being maybe even more productive honestly during this time. It’s really kept us going.
And because we’ve done so many live stream shows, it’s helped us to continue to connect with fans to make new ones. And it’s also been so good for us and therapeutic for us to play, even though it’s a completely different experience. You know, it again, it goes back to, that’s just how we are. That’s just how I am. So I was talking to a musician friend a couple weeks ago, and they were like, yeah, just, you know, I’m wanting to really not do anything because of the quarantine I kind of, you know, not really motivated to do much so I’m just kind of enjoying the off time.
And I was like, Okay, well, to me, it’s not off time at all. It’s like, go time, because it’s like, Okay, well, let’s create an opportunity here. Let’s see. What we can do with this? We’ve been really busy with our single revival and the video being featured in multiple film festivals throughout the world, which has been really cool and they’re all online. So Oh yeah,
I noticed that that yeah, I mean, it’s a music video, but it’s not a music video. This is a cinematography festival of oh my gosh, I watched this. Was that intentional? I’m glad you brought that up. Like, again, it is a music video but it’s also a standalone like almost film. Was this again? intentional in the sense of well, alright, let’s make a music video. But let’s make a music video. That’s something more that stands out. You know, that’s more than just MTV. Three minutes.
Yeah, you know, we really wanted to do something special for this song. And it took a lot of time to make that six minute 55 seconds. video, we do consider it a short film and that’s how we have been submitting it to the different film festivals. It is super encouraging because every film festival that I’ve submitted it to so far it’s been selected for which is you know a really good sign and to me because that’s not usually how things go. So that is very encouraging but yeah, we we wanted there to be a story we wanted there to be dialogue.
We wanted it to have an Oh brother Where Art Thou meets Bonnie and Clyde style, era coloring everything about it. And it was a long process of collaborating with our director Reagan Elkins and, you know, dreaming big and then figuring out ways to make make it work. So You know, I’m like, hey, Reagan, we want to be on a train car. How do we do that? And he’s like, he’s like, Okay, let me go figure it out. And, you know, just different, different ideas. We collaborated for a long time. And he came up with kind of a story.
And we went back and forth. And we had had this idea of a video like this for a long time, but we didn’t really know we didn’t have the right song yet. And so when we wrote this song, I knew immediately it was like, Oh, I’m so excited about this music video that we’re gonna do. Like, even before we’d ever talked about it, because I, I just knew that it was gonna be something special. And so yeah, we spent a lot of time on that.
And we actually filmed for four days and then we realized we Need more backstory. So we actually went back after we had kind of finished and did the bank robbery scene, because we didn’t have that. And we thought that we needed that to make the story clear that we had a sketchy past and we were not going to be doing that anymore, and we weren’t going to be moving forward.
I love this the amount of meaning in in thought put into this, like you said, it’s a short film. Yeah. Oh, that’s fantastic.
Thank you, you know, we really wanted it to be something special and standout. And it’s really exceeded, thank you. It’s really an honor for it to be featured in these different film festivals because that just reinforces that, you know, we did do that we were able to achieve the goal of making something special and you know, our whole goal with doing music and doing what we’re meant to do is to be a positive light and to encourage people and to bring hope into the world through what we do and so once the video started getting selected for film festivals we knew.
Okay, it’s time to put the song out. And honestly before that we were kind of unsure about when to put it out. We were thinking oh, maybe we’ll save it for later. Maybe we’ll put a different one out but that really helped make it clear that the song needed to get out there.
It is a beautiful song and I think it is the perfect time to have it out there. So I already agree with you. Thank you. thank thank you Maggie so much for for joining me and taking the time today. I am just all smiles here from our conversation. I’m so excited to share this and just thank you so much and best of luck on I mean, I know COVID is so hard on the creative community now as we continue to learn, you know how we can start to open things back up and you know, so much creativity is just being in person. But it’s I you know, I and I say this because I truly believe it. I think you and Shane and everything you’re involved with is gonna be just fine. Because you will find a way so thank you.
Yeah, thank you so much. Really appreciate you inviting me to be a part of this today.