It's been a year since singer and multi-instrumentalist Mac Ayres released his attention-grabbing project Drive Slow. The New York native stopped people in their tracks with his refreshing approach to R&B. Although Drive Slow still sounds completely fresh today, we've been waiting to hear more from Ayres and thankfully he's back with his new album Something to Feel today.
In the time since his last project, Ayres has brought his music on the road and come face-to-face with the listeners he's impacting with his music. Those he once felt hesitant to share his work with—"I used to worry about how other people would listen to my songs, but I only felt free as a songwriter when I started just playing what I wanted to."
Ayres has the sharp ability to simultaneously make the word "you" feel completely personal for the special someone it's directed towards, and yet still so inviting to each listener who may use his songs to say what they can't. It's difficult to make a body of work that somehow comes off feeling both exclusive and inclusive, but Mac Ayres does it. We all have something to feel, and it's time to start embracing those emotions rather than ignoring them.
How would you describe your growth from Drive Slow to Something to Feel?
It’s just a different time in my life then when I made Drive Slow. New experiences, new things to write about.
What's meaning behind this new title?
The title is named after one of the tracks from this project. The tune is about the time in my life I was first putting out music. I used to worry about how other people would listen to my songs, but I only felt free as a songwriter when I started just playing what I wanted to. “Boy, don’t go hiding, you got something to feel.”
You spent a lot of time with DJ Jazzy Jeff in the studio this year, what did you learn from him?
I’ve been really grateful to have the opportunity to hang out with a guy like that. I’ve learned so much from him in the past year. He’s taught me a lot about friendship and respect. He shows a lot of love to other artists and it just makes you want to do the same.
The instrumentation on this new project sounds a bit more complex than Drive Slow, how different was your approach this time around?
Yeah, it’s definitely a different vibe. I wrote all of Drive Slow on keys. I recently started playing guitar at our live shows, so, naturally I wrote most of this album on guitar.
After touring, gaining new fans, and having more attention on you now— did that impact your creative process?
I’d say there was only one true difference I felt in my creative process from each album. When I was making Drive Slow, I wasn’t even really planning on putting it out. I was just writing music and having a great time doing it. This time around it’s funny to think that there are actually other people in the world that are anticipating the release! It’s been fun to work under that pressure.
How's it feel to finally release your official debut album?
It’s what I imagine sending your kid to college is like. I put a lot of hours of work into this project, and I’d like to let the music speak for itself.
Also I’d really like to thank everyone that made this album possible. Chris, Rob, Jack, Zach, JRob, Young Declan, Undine, Lane, Braxton, Duong, Jordan. I love each and every one of you. This is as much for me as it is for you guys. On to the next one!
Stream Mac Ayres' new album and view his upcoming tour dates below.