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Musical depth and Christian joy have rarely come together as compellingly as they do in the music of Dara Maclean. Hers is a joyful mix of pop idioms and eternal truths, danceable beats and the good news.
"I love making music you can move and groove to," she says, "but at the same time, as Christian artists we have a responsibility to speak the truth in love."
A singer of incredible grace, power and control as well as a gifted songwriter, she has put together with Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin a debut CD that is as fresh and vibrant as any in recent years. Entitled You Got My Attention and set for release on Fervent Records this summer, the project combines the soul and urban pop influences that infuse her musical approach with elevating vocals in service to intelligently uplifting lyrics.
“Suitcases,” a debut single driven by an infectious beat and a vocal approach alternately intimate and soaring, is an offer of true release from "your burdens, heavy like gravity."
"I want to paint a picture of God's complete restorative love and how through Christ, we have an opportunity to live free," she says. "This song does just that."
Dara grew up outside Fort Worth, Texas, in a family that encouraged her love for music and ministry from her earliest days. She began singing at age 8, then went on to lead worship and actively pursue youth ministry. Maclean continues to serve with her family in their local church. She credits The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill with "helping me discover who I wanted to be as an artist. I remember talking to my mom and dad about how she was quoting scripture in her lyrics in such a unique way. I just loved it. Not long after that, I started playing guitar and diving into writing for myself."
Heavily Influenced by the era of Motown as well by contemporaries like Adele, Natasha Bedingfield, Ray LaMontagne and Marc Broussard, she has also incorporated the funk and soul she grew up loving into her music. The combination makes for a sound that is pure celebration, that captures as few artists ever have the joy and exuberance of being swept up in God's love.
It is an approach she comes by honestly.
"I grew up singing, dancing and acting, and it's been in the church world," she says. "Music has always equaled ministry to me. Ministering to the broken, unloved and discouraged and ultimately showing people God's better way is what's in my heart. It's how I'm wired."