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Hilary McRae's debut album drops today and visits with SheKnows

Christina Chomut is a Southern California-based entertainment writer/colunmist who has one finger on the pulse of the music industry and another on fashion. She has had the pleasure of covering such icons as The Rolling Stones, Ani DiFra...

McRae's the real thing

It's D-Day for Hilary McRae, a Boca Raton, Florida native with her low-key personality and sultry alto voice.

McRae's the real thing

Breaking down walls

Only six months after Hear Music (Starbucks & Concord Music Group) released "Consider Me Gone" as the Starbucks Song of the Day for November (2007), the debut album, "Through These Walls" by Hilary McRae is hitting the shelves.

A recent Yamaha endorsement under one arm and a team of supporters under the other, McRae will be performing live on CBS television's Morning Show, May 24th.

SheKnows caught up with the developing artist in Seattle, Washington on the day of her performance at Pike Place Market to talk about the weather and her debut album, with a bit of valuable insight into embracing heartbreak as a young woman.

SheKnows: This is your first trip to Seattle, right? How's it going so far?

Hilary McRae: Yup. It's freezing up here, but pretty cool.

SheKnows: We are about a week away from your debut album release, what's going through your head right now, besides staying warm, that is?

Hilary McRae: (laughs) I am so excited about everything, but I am trying to keep my cool and trying to stay grounded…it has taken a lot of hard work to get me here, so I am keeping my head straight and trying to remember what is important and what has been critical to creating the album.

SheKnows: Would it be safe to say that stepping back from the throws of creating this album you can see it not only as your baby, but a marked piece illustrating the efforts and passions of your band, production team, collaborators and the support system of your family and friends?

Hilary McRae: Yeah, that's a good way to put it. Everybody has come together through it all and we are really excited to see it actually happening.

SheKnows: Has your family been able to catch up with you on the road at all?

Hilary McRae: My dad made it out to a show at the Living Room in New York City and that was pretty cool. First off, playing the Living Room was awesome and then to have my dad there to see the performance; it was an experience to say the least.

Backup to bonafide

SheKnows: Prior to recording your album you toured through Central and South America as a keyboardist and backup vocalist for Christian Castro; did this serve as a catalyst to begin performing solo?

Hilary McRae: In a sense, yes, but more so it gave me a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes…everything involved in the show, from the lights and sound to the hectic backstage energy. I had opportunities that I would have never had otherwise at that time. I saw places that I never expected to see and experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world. It definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things and when I came home it really made me think hard about what I really wanted.

SheKnows: Which was to follow your passion as a singer/songwriter and performer?

McRae's the real thingHilary McRae: You got it.

SheKnows: You have some interesting arrangements on the album, which in part you previously attributed to collaborating with producer/guitarist Zach Ziskin and a noted horn player by the name of…?

Hilary McRae: Charlie Calello (Frank Sinatra & Bruce Springsteen). He is a brilliant guy and his horn arrangements really, really added to what was already on the record; it really brought it to life and gave it a new dimension. It was really incredible working with him and fascinating to watch how he brought everything together.

McRae's musicians

SheKnows: And the band, Zach Zeskin (guitar), Fernando Perdomo (bass), Derek Cintronas (drums), how's the dynamic between the four of you?

Hilary McRae: We have a lot of fun. We get serious when necessary, but are really lighthearted most of the time. They are great guys and I feel very lucky to have them on my side.

SheKnows: What are your top three picks to perform live from "Through These Walls"?

Hilary McRae: Hmmmm…that's a good one. I'd say, "Hostage", because of the lyrics, the single, "Every Day", because of the audience's response and because it is a lot of fun to perform and probably, "Somethin's Come Over Me" because it is really positive and leaves a good feeling behind.

SheKnows: Speaking of leaving a good feeling behind, there was a comment you made in a previous interview where you said, "And I hope to keep getting my heart broken so that I'll have something to write about". In addition to being appealing to the relationship-plagued members of our SheKnows audience, that's a pretty mature statement for a 21 year old songwriter to have. Do you get that feedback a lot; that you are mature beyond your years?

Hilary McRae: Yeah, I kind of do. I don't mind it though. I take it more as a compliment. (laughs) I think that great songs come from those intense emotions. Sometimes heartbreak is a good thing to write about because it helps you get through your situation. It forces you to get things down on paper and sort them out. It helps you write better…and hopefully someday, love better.
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