In just four years on the road, Tim McKay has already established himself as one of the leading artists on the UK and Europe Country scene to date. With tremendous sales on his last album, a wealth of contacts in Europe and Nashville, and an invitation to appear on the Wembley International Festival of Country Music, Tim McKay looks set to become the worlds first ever country music superstar from the UK. Tim’s interest in Country Music grew out of attending smaller country gigs in Britain, as well as his training in Arts.
‘’I would attend some of my local country clubs. I got into it through going along and watching some of the artists perform, never dreaming that four years down the line it’s something that I’d be doing myself on this scale.”
After gigging in his local country clubs for a period of time, Tim released his first album, ‘Anything Goes’.
‘‘Anything Goes’’ was a complete cover album of country hits that I’d be singing in my live show on a nightly basis. For my first album, I wanted something that I could get out there to get myself known. Looking back I also think it’s important as a new artist to get your voice on a CD so that you can hear what you sound like. That helped me establish early on where I wanted to be as an artist. Some artists have a different sound on record than when they go out to perform live. So my first album was really just one big learning curve for me. The album actually did really well in Europe, in places like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway as well as up and down the UK.”
Tim’s most recent release, ‘Chasing Dreams’ has followed suit in the success of the previous one.
“The new album is entirely made up of original material. I felt this was the right time to produce and release a full album of original modern day country music. I had been singing covers for the last 3years so I was ready to put out an album made up of songs that the public had never heard before. My representatives in Europe and Nashville are all really happy with it, and we’ve sold a huge amount of albums so far.”
Tim was given a massive opportunity to play a major festival, not in the UK but Nashville in 2010 when he was picked as the UK representative at the CMA Fest.
‘’In June 2010, I was selected to represent the UK during the CMA fest in Nashville. I played on the Global party stage which is the official kick start to the week’s festival. It was really an honor and a privilege to represent British Country Music over there, and of course it opened a lot of doors and contacts over there for me.
Asked who his own influence was in the music business, Tim replied:
“It’s a difficult question to say who my influence is as I have so many. I’d listen to a wide variety of music which includes people like Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson but I soon figured that no music makes that connection with me like Country does.
My influences in the country world are people like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. I have an appreciation for the older traditional sound of Country too, because that’s where it all came from, but it’s certainly the modern country that I really like and aspire to be a part of.”
Reflecting on the UK Country scene as an up-and-coming star, Tim shows optimism in the number of young people coming through as fans of country music.
“There is definitely a market in the UK for country music. I have already seen a massive change just in my four years of touring. For example a few years ago a Nashville star would come to the UK and they would sell out a 3,000-4,000 seat theatre in London for one night and then move on. Now they are coming over, playing other cities in the UK and also selling out 12-15,000 seated venues like the O2 and Wembley arenas. For that to change in just a matter of two or three years proves to me that there is a bigger demand for these artists and country music in general. The average age of a country music audience member is also rapidly decreasing. I went to see Lady Antebellum play in
London a short while ago, and the amount of young people there was amazing. You know my age, 21/22.’’
Another big opportunity came in Tim’s direction earlier this month when he was added to the Wembley International Festival of Country Music, as the UK Breakthrough artist.
“Being a part of the Wembley festival means the world to me, not only because of the festival but also because it’s a thrill to play live in such an iconic venue like Wembley. So many stars have performed on that stage and it’s really humbling for me to join that list of artists. Also of course not forgetting the honor it is going to be for me to share the stage with such legendary performers such as Reba, Lonestar and Ricky Skaggs with more to be added I believe. It’s going to be one hell of an experience and a big opportunity for me and one that I will cherish for life. It’s so great to finally see country music shining through.”
Winning a cluster of 47 awards so far including ‘Best Male Vocalist, Entertainer of the year and Best International touring artist in Europe 2010. Tim has an awards case to be proud of. He has opened up for Marty Stuart on one of his UK tour dates, represented the UK in Nashville, representing the UK at Wembley and other high profile shows scheduled in for 2012.
It looks like 2012 might just be the year for UK’s very own Tim McKay.