It’s always interesting to us to witness an artist truly fill and command a space. Whether that’s a 20,000 seat stadium, a corner coffee shop, or in the instance of our most recent shoot with Melbourne-rising star, Angie McMahon, the alleyway between Franklin and White streets in the heart of NYC’s TriBeCa.
McMahon, no stranger to stadium tours herself having supported the likes of Bon Jovi and the Pixies, shows up for our shoot exactly how you hope a reflective singer/songwriter might -- that is with a guitar strapped to her back (no one’s carrying that for her!), a disarming timid smile on her face and bundled in a likely vintage Pendleton sweater too-thin for this cold March day in New York.
Her face lights up as a dog passes by, fidgeting to tune her guitar before we begin -- she’s soft-spoken, but not in the shy kind of way, more so, you can tell she’s thinking about something long before she speaks it. A curious tourist passing by stops to listen to her soft crooning warm up, and belts over the blaring Broadway traffic nearby, “What’s your name?!”
She laughs, clearly uncomfortable with the attention, before spelling her name back to him, her Aussie accent throwing him off a bit. It’s her soft demeanor here that makes you lean in, as if you might miss something if you’re not careful. It’s a magnetic reaction -- and only one part of McMahon’s magic.
“Play the Game” -- the first track on her recently announced debut album Salt dropping July 26th -- is quite possibly McMahon’s emblematic anthem. It’s a slow, heartfelt build at first -- her voice low and husky before peaking at pivotal moments for necessary relief -- and it left us in awe in that TriBeCa alleyway. Like McMahon herself, it’s quiet and restrained in a thoughtful way, before crescendoing into what feels like a much-needed sigh -- a testament, perhaps, to how helpless we feel in the grips of love.
Suddenly, amidst the chaos and noise of Canal and Broadway only a few steps away, we found ourselves wrapped up in McMahon’s voice and we certainly hope you feel the same.