Rising star Aussie songwriter Angie tells how Covid-19 disrupted plans to visit Ireland again
The Aussie star has Irish ancestors and has traced her roots to Co Clare
From touring America with Hozier to being locked down nearly 24 hours a day in her native Melbourne, it's been a bizarre time in the life of singer Angie McMahon.
The award-winning twenty-something songwriter should have been performing in Ireland around now, but she's philosophical about the disruption to her career by Covid-19.
In a Zoom interview from the Melbourne house she shares with three friends, Angie tells Shuffle: "It's such a complicated time, but I feel very lucky because it has given me quiet time to read books and concentrate on writing new songs.
"We have been in an extended lockdown in Melbourne, going on seven or eight weeks of just being allowed to go to the shops and outside for an hour or two a day, and that's pretty much all that you're allowed to do.
"I've been going a little bit stir-crazy in that respect, but I've also been quite happy reading a lot of books. And aided by the reading I'm finding ideas to write about. It helps to have so much space and time when the moments of inspiration do come."
She has just released a stunning EP called Piano Salt, featuring reimagined tracks on keys from her album of the same title.
"Lately I've been trying to write songs from a more intellectual place and applying more real world language as opposed to highly personal language," Angie tells me.
"But then I find that the best songs are the ones I sit down to write because I need to write them, because they're such deep feelings."
McMahon reveals that she has always struggled with mental health issues and uses songwriting as her form of therapy, as well as regularly working with a professional therapist.
"When I first released my single and it started to go well I felt really, really anxious immediately," Angie explains. "It was like a dream come true on one hand, but it was also a trigger for a really stressed out mind.
"And that's been part of my journey over the last couple of years. While developing as an artist, I've also been learning more about the things that I'm afraid of, and the things that make me anxious, how to cope with those things and how important it is to have a therapist, a professional, that I talk to about those things. That has had such a positive impact on my life as well.
"I'm lucky for the attention I'm getting because it's teaching me a lot. I sometimes feel I need space to yell or to cry or whinge about something, so I express that all the time through songs. It would be really weird if I did it in normal conversation.
"I do feel that I'm an intense person and there are a lot of things at the surface, but being able to put all that intensity into songs makes interesting songs and also means that I can put all the fire in the music and get it all out."
Apart from making a connection with Irish singer Hozier - she's also a fan of Irish artists Soak and Pillow Queens - McMahon formed a bond with Ireland when she performed at Other Voices in Dingle last December.
"I have Irish ancestors who came from Co Clare, and since visiting Ireland and loving it there I've become more interested in learning about my ancestry," Angie says.
"My plan was to come back over this year. I was due to have a bit of time off and I'd planned to go back over to Dingle and do some songwriting there. It feels like songwriting country.
"There was something about Dingle, maybe the quietness of it. I could picture myself hiding in a small town like that, hiding from my reality and going to fairytale Dingle and writing songs, but obviously that didn't happen."
- Angie McMahon's EP, Piano Salt, is now available to download.