Touring in support of her new five-song debut EP may not be in the cards during a time of physical distancing, but Nan Macmillan is finding ways to share her music with audiences.
To introduce listeners to “August and the In Between,” Macmillan already has released two singles, “Rain for the Heavy Heart” and now “Sapling for August.”
The EP itself will be released Friday, and Macmillan is going to celebrate on social media by singing her songs for listeners at home at 8 p.m. Friday on Facebook and Instagram.
“I’m going to do a little acoustic performance,” Macmillan said. Her roommate, Tristen Davenport, will provide some vocal harmonies.
“It’s like a good first thing to get out into the world,” Macmillan said of her EP.
While Macmillan pursued a double major in poetry writing and music at the University of Virginia, she stayed busy in Charlottesville’s music scene; in addition to writing and performing, she took on internships at a radio station, music management firm and recording studio to learn more about the music industry.
After graduation, she headed to Valencia, Spain, to pursue a master’s degree in contemporary performance and production through Berklee College of Music.
Macmillan’s EP journey began in November 2018, soon after she’d completed her master’s in Spain. She recorded her Americana, folk and pop-rock songs in two sessions — one in June 2019 in Los Angeles, with producer Jay Foote on bass, Anthony LaMarca on drums and electric guitar and Tyler Chester on piano, organ and keyboards.
“I just wanted to take my time,” she said. “I wasn’t on anybody’s timeline other than my own, and I didn’t have to rush anything.”
She spent time in August 2019 on overdubbing. Matthew McAllister and Davenport added vocal harmonies, Augie Fairchild added cello and Orion Faruque provided engineering.
Her time in Spain helped her “get a good ear for arranging and harmonies, and a good feel for what working in the studio feels like.”
Macmillan’s studies in Spain included meaningful time spent on El Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage route. “Rain for the Heavy Heart” is “about this experience and how it changed my perspective,” she said. “In a lot of ways, it’s a very catchy tune. It’s a full-band song, a very catchy pop-rock tune.”
The EP takes its name from leaving for Spain one August and returning in another.
“A lot of it surrounds my feelings about Charlottesville and leaving it — and wanting to come back and stay,” Macmillan said. “I left home and realized that music is what I want to do with my life.”
“My music is really centered around the lyrics and the sound and the meaning,” Macmillan said. In the studio, she said, “I’d always be fighting for the lyrics and the meaning. The lyrics are rich and vivid and kind of paint pictures.
“It kind of reaches the heart.”
Physical copies of “August and the In Between” are available through Macmillan’s website, nanmacmillanmusic.com, and the music also is available through iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music, among other sources.