A THROWBACK video shows Amy Macdonald sitting in the front row of a Travis concert as an unknown teenager — before emulating frontman Fran Healy and becoming a pop star herself.
Budding singer Amy was just 16 when she traveled to London’s Alexandra Palace with a pal to see her idol in action.
The historic blink-and-miss moment was captured on camera for the band’s 2003 Live at the Palace DVD.
But Amy insists on seeing the Travis singer, who rose to fame with her 1999 album The Man Who, in action, which has shaped her as a performer.
The 34-year-old says: « I’ve met Fran a couple of times and it’s always very strange how I really look up to him.
« They shot a live DVD of one of their gigs and I’m actually there – in the front row and singing my heart out because I was such a big fan.
“But Fran is also such a great frontman. He has an incredible relationship with his audience.
« So I took a cue from how I interact with the audience, chatting between songs and telling stories that make you feel like you have a real connection with them.
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« Because that’s what I saw when I was young, that’s what I started doing when I was doing my own gigs, and that’s what I’m doing now. »
She adds, « It’s something that doesn’t happen too often when people go through their songs and say the weird.
« But I think for a lot of people who come to my shows, the chat in between is a big part of it. I see myself as kind of a comedian right in the middle – so you get two for one.”
Amy, from Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, first saw Travis perform on the main stage at T in the Park in 2000 and then taught herself to play her songs on her father Jimmy’s guitar.
TWO FOR ONE
The singer was just 17 when she signed her first major record deal before her debut album ‘This Is The Life’ topped the UK and European charts in 2007, while her single ‘Mr Rock & Roll’ also hit #1.
Her latest album The Human Demands in 2020 also reached the Top 10 on the charts across Europe.
But the connection with Travis has remained since the beginning of her career.
She says: « I actually supported them right from the start when I had just signed a record deal but hadn’t released anything, so it was really nerve-wracking.
“I also wrote a song with her guitarist, Dougie Payne. But it will never feel normal to me even if we both work in the same industry.
« I always feel a bit like a fangirl around Travis and I can’t really relax around her. »
Amy Macdonald looks unrecognizable 14 years after the release of her debut album
Amy admits, however, that life could have been so different if her demo CD, which she sent in after seeing an audition advert on NME, hadn’t caught the attention of record bosses – as she was destined to be a teacher .
She says: “I wanted to go into social sciences at Strathclyde, mainly because I liked politics and my favorite subject at school was geography.
« But I just did it because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My thought was that maybe I would teach and the whole reason for that was the holidays.
« I’m glad I didn’t because I know people who are teachers or have tried to get into it and it’s a tough job and one I don’t think they get the credit they do. » earn.
« So I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long in this job. I think most of them need this vacation to recover until next semester.”
But Amy, who tied the knot with ex-Aberdeen and Rangers player Richard Foster in Las Vegas in 2018, admits she has another career plan in mind when she’s done touring.
She explains: “I love doing radio. I’ve filled in for my good friend Cat Harvey a few times when she was vaping or something and I really loved doing that.
« It’s funny because when I was young I had this tape recorder that I could plug a microphone into and do my own radio shows.
« It’s just something I really loved – having a relationship with an audience of listeners and just playing tunes.
« It’s something I would probably like to do if I decided to stop touring.
« It’s a bit random, I know, but it’s something I really, really like and I get a real kick out of. »
For now, Amy will be staying tight with music as she will play her postponed March gig at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro.
But she admits she will always be indebted to Fran, 48, and the influence his band has had on her.
She says: « Fran is such a lovely man.
“It’s been over 20 years since The Man Who brought Travis to the public eye and they’ve been such an incredible live band through all these decades. I still like going to them whenever I can.”
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