The Folk Pop Prodigy - A David McCaffrey Interview
'I just want to go on stage and perform my songs. I don't want to overthink it.'
Virtual Festivals - 29 February 2012
For someone who is yet to bid farewell to the sixth form, David McCaffrey has certainly achieved a lot. Since picking up a guitar and starting to write music at the age of fourteen, he’s notched up radio play on BBC York, played a number of festivals up North and been name-checked by Ed Sheeran on Twitter. But he isn’t about to get ahead of himself.
“I think it’s really important these days to make sure you’ve built up a really strong fan-base before
you do anything else,” he says. ”I’m not too worried about getting signed yet. From what I’ve heard,
it can be a tough industry and I don’t want to go in unprepared.” They’re refreshingly considered words
from an artist who, in both his music and attitude, often seems mature
beyond his early years.
The music that is gaining David attention is a brand of breezy, folk pop that draws from both contemporary and older influences. Among his inspirations he lists Oxford-based folk group Stornoway, as well as pioneering 70’s folk singer John Martyn. Would he say he’s trying to pitch his own music within this genre?
“I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s me - it’s just what’s influenced me. I can’t really help the way in which I write songs, I don’t know if it’s weird, some people can say it’s really boring, but I like to write it that way, because that’s the way I can try to stay unique for as long as possible.”
When it comes to discussing the ideas behind his songs, David displays a clarity of vision that’s impressive for such a new artist: “I want to write about stuff that people can relate to,” he says. “I don’t like stuff that will make people be like ‘oh, well that’s just one specific person, that’s just you.’ I want people to be able to read between the lines and think about the lyrics.”
Currently based in the Yorkshire town of Easingwold, he regularly gigs at venues throughout the North. He’s refreshingly
no-nonsense in his attitude towards playing live: “I just try to go up there and perform it well, first time. I think
it might be because of the whole classical background I’ve got, playing piano grades and performing in music exams and
stuff like that. I
don’t think about the way I’m performing it. I just want to go on stage and perform my songs, being me. I don’t want to overthink it.”
David found out he was on the bill for this year’s Bushstock fairly recently, and he’s contemplatiing the spot with a mixture of excitement and trepidation: “I would’ve probably bought tickets to it myself. That’s a good thing, but it makes it more nerve-wracking as well. Because I’ll probably know what the Bushstock fans would want or expect, because I feel like one of them myself. It puts the pressure on.”
Though David is clearly thoughtful when it comes to considering his future in music, it’s quickly apparent that he’s
as ambitious as any other young musician. When asked whether entering the industry full time would be his ultimate aim, there’s
no hesitation in his answer: “That’d be class,” he breathes. “Absolute class. I don’t know what
it must be like to do it full time
- that must be amazing.”
“Yeah, we’ll see. It’s just the getting there’s the tough bit!”
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