For her latest project, Maggie McClure intended to record an EP, drawing from roughly 40 songs she had accumulated.
McClure made a full-length album instead. And even with a backlog of material at her disposal, she decided to round out her Time Moves On collection with some new tunes.
The Los Angeles-based McClure says her original plan was to make a seven-song EP “because I thought that’s all I could afford,” she says with a laugh. But in researching and interviewing potential publicists to promote it, she was told on numerous occasions that she’d get better media coverage if she made a full album.
“I had never heard this before,” she recalls, “[so I thought], ‘Maybe I should record a few more songs.’ ”
Previously, McClure says she made piano-and-vocal demos of what she’d written over the past few years, listened to them “with a fresh ear,” cherry-picked her favorites and hit the studio with producer/musician Justin Glasco, whose credits include recordings by Cary Brothers and Christina Perri.
Convinced she’d be better off expanding the EP to an album, McClure contacted Glasco about returning to his Los Angeles studio. But according to McClure, they soon realized “that I didn’t really have, out of those 40 songs, [anything that] really fit with those seven [that we’d already recorded].”
Adds McClure, “By then, the whole theme had come about of adapting to change and time moving forward.” That theme came from recent firsthand experience: In January 2012, McClure and her husband, fellow singer/songwriter Shane Henry, moved from Oklahoma to L.A. She’d documented the transition and experience in her journal, which she used for lyrical ideas, and so Time Moves On included material that reflected being away from her support group of family and friends back in Norman, Okla.
McClure continued that overall theme in the lyrics for “Central Time,” a new song she began with her husband and finished with Glasco.
“I told him, ‘I know it’s a little bit country, but it just means so much to me, and I want to put it on the album,’ ” says McClure. “And then Justin and I wrote ‘Closer Than Before’ and recorded it. And so, those two songs we put on last minute to make it technically a full-length album of nine songs.”
With Time Moves On finished and available through her Web site store (as well as other online outlets), McClure can shift her focus to booking more gigs and handling management-type decisions.
“I like being in charge of all aspects of my career,” says McClure, who studied music and business at Oklahoma City University. “But at the same time, I can only do so much. I do find myself working all day and all night, pretty much all the time. It does take away from me being creative: practicing, writing and playing piano. But I don’t have anyone knocking down my door to work with me as far as a booking agent or manager. I have pursued those people who I think would be a good fit, but nothing has really materialized yet. I think it’s just a matter of getting to a certain level before someone wants to get onboard.”
McClure laughs when it’s suggested she should disguise her voice on the phone and use another name to create the impression that she has other people handling the business aspects of her career.
“The funny thing is I know a lot of artists who do that,” she says. “They pretend they are their own manager in e-mails because so many people won’t ever have a phone conversation, especially bookers. So they’ll just send an e-mail as Blah Blah Blah Agency, and [include] a different name. And even though it’s just them, they get more responses because it’s from someone else, but really it’s not.
“I would hate to get a phone call and get caught. I don’t want to keep up with that.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Maggie McClure on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Feb. 21: Will Rogers Theatre — Oklahoma City, Okla.
* Feb. 28: Lestat’s West Music Venue — San Diego
* March 9: Hotel Utah — San Francisco
* March 15: Hotel Café — Los Angeles
Photo by Melissa Cosper