Welcome to our new feature at YLIAS! We’ll be collaborating with some UK artists over the next few months to discover some of their most influential artists and delve into their musical upbringings. Be sure to subscribe to our Spotify playlist to keep up to date!
To kick things off, BCMA Male Vocalist of the Year nominee Kevin McGuire shares some of his favourites!
What Hurts The Most – Rascal Flatts: one of my all time favourites. The most captivating music video ever to exist, a complete power of emotion had me like a wreck. Impossible not to be hooked on this band and the song itself!
Break Up in a Small Town – Sam Hunt: I love everything about this track. The production – Country-Pop-RnB. One thing I love about Sam is that he’s never scared to mix genres and just be himself. This influenced my path when creating 3AM. Most genius middle 8/bridge I ever heard. First time you hear it you think it’s a massive mistake with the timing, but then you realise it’s just Sam taking things to another level!
Found You – Kane Brown: Arguably one of my favourite tracks of 2017, even though we didn’t hear it until halfway through. The intro just draws you in. Definitely had an influence on why I kept the ‘Late’ introduction in my radio edit. Sometimes tracks don’t need to come straight in just to fit the ‘radio mould’ we have drummed into us these days. Great melody, great lyrics, great vocal. Commercial winner!
This is How We Roll (Jason Derulo mix) – Florida Georgia Line: Again, I LOVE the country/rnb crossover. 2 of my favourite artists!
Crash and Burn – Savage Garden: My favourite chorus EVER in a song. So well written, and extremely underrated. I grew up with the ‘Affirmation’ album on repeat. Darren Hayes is one of my songwriting idols!
Hold Me – Savage Garden: Verse 2 is my favourite verse EVER in a song. Darren has a way of describing situations and how we feel in theeee most beautiful and ‘witty’/clever way. I try to take this into every song I write. I think he’d like my song ‘Easy Love’. Maybe he’ll hear it one day.
Don’t It – Billy Currington: I’m a huge Billy Currington fan, and this is one of my favourite records of his. Big sounding track with an intro that just gets you straight away. A definite show-opener. I was listening to this record a lot when putting together the Foreign Country EP. ‘I Belong’ definitely touches on the same intro vibe.
(Not on spotify) Disaster – JoJo: Straight up pop record.
If you were to break this song down acoustically, you really hear the quality and emotion poured into the songwriting. Something that’s definitely relatable in the Country world. JoJo – kind of forgotten by some since here huge success as a teen, but listened to on the regular by me. In terms of vocals, this girl is the best in the game. Her runs are ridiculous, huge vocal inspiration.
As ‘Disaster’ IS NOT on Spotify (due to label politics), I’ve gotta replace it with ‘Too Little Too Late’ as we need a bit of JoJo on that playlist!
Girls – The 1975: What a fun track. What a great band. ‘Girls’ just makes you wanna dance. I guess not so much directly related to the sound of my songs, but Matty fans the gang are a huge influence on my live performance. It’s SO important that your audience enjoy themselves. That’s what they’re there for, to have a good time. Putting on a show is so much more than just going up on stage and playing the songs correctly, it’s about entertaining, dancing, and having fun. The emotion that comes across is just as important as the music. That’s what I’ve learnt from these guys. Top band!
Crossroads – Tracy Champan: It’s so nice for me to have a female artist who’s had such an influence on my career. Tracy was my ‘first love’ in songwriting. ‘Crossroads’ is a perfect example of how good songs don’t need to be over-produced. One of those records that just makes me feel so alive. I first heard it around 12 years ago, after hearing ‘fast car’, and I went on to download album after album. Such a personal songwriter, over such simple chords. Quite possibly the reason I started writing songs.
Slide – Goo Goo Dolls: Wow, now we’re going waaaaay back. My first ever ‘favourite band’. Slide, again, was a big influence on how I played guitar and I think was my first ever youtube cover. The Dolls are the KINGS of mixing acoustic guitars with rock. ‘Slide’ is part of my life.
Late – Kevin McGuire: I’d say this record incorporates so many of my influences into one. It definitely has that modern-country edge to the production and instrumentation in the verses, before the chorus takes it right back to the roots ; straight up power, old-school singalong with real deep meaning and emotion. I tried to write the story very carefully and personally, but still keeping it relatable to others. One of the most rewarding records I’ve made so far!