The “Underground Nashville” Interview with Singer-Songwriter Darryl MacQuarrie

By Dave Carew

Originally from San Jose, California, Darryl MacQuarrie writes and sings the kind of country music that brings to mind the phrase “the real deal.”  In powerful, emotive ballads such as “The Way It Was Supposed to Be” (see YouTube), Darryl renders words and music that course a straight path from his own soul and dreams to those of the listener. Like the very best of country music, Darryl’s work delivers—in a seemingly simple musical presentation—yearnings, feelings, and truths that are profoundly complicated and rich . . . that “get at” not only what it means to be human, but what it means to wrestle with being human.

Underground Nashville recently interviewed this gifted, deservedly-fast-rising artist about his work. Here’s how our conversation went:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  The other day I heard a manager say it’s essential for every artist to have his or her “elevator pitch” . . . your 20-second presentation regarding who you are specifically as a singer-songwriter (i.e., what’s distinctive about you, why people should care about your music).  Okay…we just got on the elevator. What is your elevator pitch?

DARRYL MacQUARRIE: I don’t talk to people in elevators.  No I kid…20 seconds?  OK, here we go.  Let me start by saying that that guy is right.  I think so many people don’t know who they are or where they’re going when they get to a town like Nashville. And if you showed up to a manager’s office and your answer to that question was “I don’t really know” or “I’m sort of like this and/or that,” then it’s going to be hard for that person to take you seriously.

[So] I’d say I’m the best damn voice you’re ever going to hear!  Ha!  I guess I would hope to say, or rather hope to believe, is that I’m unique from anyone else.  Depending on what genre you’re in, and I won’t name names, there’s all this talk about uniqueness, yet once the mold is broken it’s often just a bunch of copycats.  I guess I’m trying to be that mold, a new mold if you will.  I’ve been told I don’t sound like anyone else, which actually I prefer.  Other than that, I would hope you cared about my music because you liked it, and because you felt the connection I feel with it…not because I fit some mold or I get carried around stage in some large egg.  Did I answer your question?  I think my 20 seconds are way up!

UN:  What do you believe is your most important musical accomplishment to date?

DM:  It’s yet to come.  I guess I’m always looking ahead.  Sure, I could name this or that, that I played here or there, or have made an album, but I guess my most important accomplishment is that I’m still doing it and haven’t gone completely nuts yet!  [Laughs] That, and those moments when I write a song that just totally connects with me and those who listen to it.  Those are my best accomplishments, and once I have one I just look forward to the next one.

UN:  If your musical dreams came true over the next five years, what would we see Darryl MacQuarrie doing in 2016?

DM: Sitting in the Bahamas with a cold beer in my hand.  Oh, you meant musically what would I be doing.  I guess the short answer is touring.  But I don’t like short answers.  I guess the main thing is making my living playing music and writing songs.  Just having the ability to play to more and more people andconnect with them, because that’s really what it’s all about. And like I said, I have the best damn voice they’re ever going to hear, so they need to hear it!  I kid.  Or do I???

For more information about Darryl MacQuarrie and to hear his music, visit And don’t miss Darryl’s gig at the Bluebird Café on Sunday, July 24.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and copywriter.



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