Shouting With… Margaret Glaspy

by Kyle McCormick
Kyle McCormick
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on 07 December 2016 in Features

On November 7th 2016 I chatted with Margaret Glaspy in the backstage area of Stereo in Glasgow, and she was an absolute delight to interview. Shortly after that, I watched her perform in that same venue, and she was incredible – as my live review hopefully articulates.

Following that chat, we have of course the associated Feature piece, which you can find below. I hope this again conveys the wonder that is Ms Glaspy’s art, and inspires you to check it out if you haven’t already. Her debut record Emotions and Math is out now on ATO Records, and you can peruse some of the official music videos from that album below also – enjoy!


Firstly, how did Margaret Glaspy get here? Not here as in Glasgow, here as in this point in her musical career, just in case that wasn’t obvious. Well… after playing fiddle for several years when she was younger, Glaspy then began to play guitar (an instrument she still attempts to “kick the butt” of daily), and eventually began dabbling with songwriting in her teenage years. Between relocating from her home in California to her current location of New York, she also briefly attended a course of study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before ultimately deciding to forego the accumulation of student debt, and to instead tackle the music industry head-on. Coming from a musical household, the path from childhood fiddle lessons to captivating performances around the world has been a “straight shot” thus far, and despite an expected amount of trials and tribulations along the way, Glaspy has “not second guessed it too much, and just followed through.” This is an approach which has resulted in a steady rise of popularity over the years, and 2016 despite all its negatives, was the year that her debut record Emotions and Math was finally released through ATO Records. Providing at last a lengthy and lasting declaration of her talents, Emotions and Math showcases the culmination of Glaspy’s musical evolution to date, as well as her inclination towards endearing and enchanting songwriting and storytelling.

Now that she is here, how is this reality matching her childhood expectations? With specific reference to live music, Glaspy just “feels really lucky right now to be touring internationally.” Travelling a great distance from your home and being greeted warmly by people who know the words to your songs must be one of the most humbling and exhilarating experiences, and this is something she clearly relishes. Despite “a lot of travel” and “so much work”, touring of course gives you an excuse to travel to some wonderful places, that you may not have had the opportunity to otherwise. On this list for Glaspy are other parts of the US, Vlieland (in the Netherlands) and Australia, with Asia and other destinations in the East high on her wish list for the future, once a suitably large fan base has been cultivated in these regions. As you’ll read pretty much everywhere, whilst this artist’s recorded material is thoroughly enjoyable, it is on the stage that Glaspy’s sound truly comes to life, and it’s all in her incredible vocal performance. From the renditions of her own material to the varied and always intriguing cover versions, the raw energy imparted in the vocals is unprecedented and undeniably memorable. For a comparatively modest stage setup and presence, the spectacle that is The Margaret Glaspy Live Performance really propels her into a higher level of musical performer.

Finally, now that we’ve ascertained how great she is, what’s the plan for 2017 and beyond? Beyond the usual cycle of touring and composing, Glaspy aims to put her songwriting style and creative prowess to a different set of uses. To quickly summarise, the twelve tracks on Emotions and Math are all tales told from a first-person perspective, and whilst some are derived from personal experiences and others from observations of friends, family and the public, her materials is “always inspired by real life.” Although the process of conjuring these abstracts ideas into coherent compositions can be messy, Glaspy assures that there’s a “method to the madness”, as a track begins with a feeling and grows as guitar figures and song structures and composed to flesh out the finished product. Redirecting this talent is what the goal for the future is, which is not to say the songwriting will cease of course. With a zine already on the horizon, Glaspy also has ambitions to write for other artists, as well as to compose some prose, and perhaps to return to the realms of theatre acting that she experienced when she was younger. With her growing recognition amidst musical circles and beyond, these ambitions are surely achievable given the quality of material that would be expected to be yielded, and if they’re not possible then surely the world will be poorer without these creative projects not released. In the meantime, Margaret Glaspy is an incredible musician and performer and her debut album Emotions and Math is an impassioned record of her whereabouts now, and the future certainly looks bright in its shadow.


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