By Kate King
With guitar loops that rip through your chest straight to the heart, and haunting vocals that can bring the house down, Arran McNamara is an up and coming Brisbane artist with a taste for success and a knack for guitar. As a young artist, Arran has only recently broken into the scene with live gigs and online releases. Studying music in school and building his passion from a young age, Arran’s track record as an artist would make you think he was much older than nineteen,
“Mum bought me a cheap little guitar for my birthday, I think I was in grade two, I played guitar for a long time, and I’ve always loved reading and writing random shit. Eventually I was like ‘oh let’s combine it… I’ve been performing for about eight years, but only the past two or three years I’ve done my own stuff.
Arran went to Padua College for high school and was involved in the school’s music program, as well as the bands between the all-girls and boy’s schools in Kedron. Although he is talented, it wasn’t a family roots kind of talent.
“I don’t have a very musical family, my mum loved music, I’ve grown up with them always playing Fleetwood Mac and all that, but I’m the only one in my actual close family that plays.”
Now studying a Bachelor of Music at QUT, his abilities have grown and created opportunities to meet other local talent,
“I’m surrounded by people that are literally different versions of me. And a lot of people are way further ahead and a bit behind me, but everyone’s trying to get their own shit out there. It’s quite inspiring really, people are playing venues every night and I’m trying to catch up.”
Brisbane may be small but it’s a melting pot of talented artists. Navigating your own sound in such a diverse group of people can pose a challenge. Arran’s alternative folk sound is easy listening but often anger fuelled. For some, this could be considered too heavy, but the way his melodic guitar carries the lyrics is mesmerising.
“Everyone has their own touch on every genre and I’m heavily influenced by Matt Corby, Ben Howard and all that… For me it’s not dependent on how talented you are, it’s the emotion you can convey. I get angry in a lot of my tracks and have a lot of shitty yelling. If you can convey an emotion to the audience and they can get that without you being the next Adele or whatever, that would be cool.”
For any artist, deciding to make music your occupation can be nerve racking given that gigs may not always come up. But artists astound people with their absolute devotion to the art form and their willingness to give it a shot. The fear of not making it is always something that can play on the mind, but for most artists it’s do or die,
“You always have that thing at the back of your mind “what if it does fuck up?” but ultimately there is nothing else I want to do. I can’t picture myself behind a desk working an office job… I don’t want to be this huge guy… If you can just have a bit of a following.”
Artists look for devotion in return for theirs, and a solid fan base that respect what they do can seem as big as a sold-out stadium show. Arran recently opened for Adelaide artist Zac Eichner at the Junk Bar in Ashgrove ,and performed with his band at the MET for the August RAW exhibition. He’s well on his way to becoming something and his music is a testament to his hard work and dedication.
He has his song Early Hours out on Spotify and Rome on his Triple J Unearthed.
You can follow him on
Facebook: Arran McNamara Music