Preview: Mac Ayres - ready, set, cry

By Sandra Bazubwabo

image via elevator magazine

In the song “Waiting”, Mac Ayres said “Last year, everybody had their doubts. This year, every single show’s sold out”. This declaration of positivity is one of the many things that keeps me and many other listeners coming back for more from him.

This song was on his debut album Something to Feel, which to me, is a 36 minute, sonic hug. Mac works with layered vocals, harmonious instrumentals and lots and lots of emotions to declare himself as the talent that he is. He attended the Berklee College of Music and dropped out when he began recording his EP, Drive Slow, which was my introduction to him.

Born in New York, Ayres is no stranger to the east coast. He’ll begin touring this month and his second to last show will be here in the DMV at the 9:30 Club on December 3rd at 7 pm.

Ayres plays multiple instruments and on his albums, does the keys, guitar and/or bass for each track as well as the lyrics. The debut album follows the trajectory of his EP. They both contain beautiful love songs that demonstrate his vocal ability and lull you deep, deep into your feelings.
The ‘Intro’ song on Drive Slow features an adorable birthday voice message from his grandma that sets the tone for the album. Similarly, ‘Soon’ on Something to Feel features a voice message from a friend or family member saying how much they miss him. As the oldest of six siblings, it’s easy to tell that all the people he cares for inspire and motivate him to keep going.

This past summer, Mac released Juicebox. To me, this album felt a little more direct with what he wanted to say. The first song “I Wanna Give Up” is a groovy admission of the doubt that we all feel. He’s been working consistently for years now and this track felt like he needed to blow off some steam.

Songs like “Summertime”, “Jumping Off the Moon” and “Shadows” were just what I needed before the start of the semester. In keeping with his soothing vocals and satisfying harmonies, Ayres played a lot more with the overall mood of this album. Two features that stood out to me were “Shit Covered in Gold” which features Tiffany Gouché and “Come Thru” with rapper and producer, 9th Wonder.

To get a little taste of the sounds of Mac Ayres, I recommend this video where he and his band do a few songs from both of his official albums. There’s also an interview in the same space in a separate video. The DMV welcomes you Mac, thanks for keeping us happily in our feelings.