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Ground Control Touring Welcomes Macie Stewart

Ground Control Touring Welcomes Macie Stewart

Posted 10/22/2021

Mouth Full of Glass is the debut album by Chicago-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Macie Stewart (pronouns: she/her/they/them). Written and recorded while finding solace and strength in solitude, Mouth Full of Glass features eight lushly arranged songs that search for the meaning of self within and without partnership. The record explores loneliness as well as the growth and beauty that blooms from within it – through creating it, Stewart reassesses her own relationships in order to communicate with a singular voice.

Stewart began her musical career at the age of 3. Learning piano while she learned to talk, she discovered two foundational modes of communication at once. As the daughter of a career musician (pianist Sami Scot), Stewart was encouraged to explore the piano and violin, and she became proficient on both instruments. After helping to found the Chicago bands Kids These Days and Marrow, Stewart broadened her interests and spent time in the avant-garde jazz scene, performing regularly at Chicago institutions Constellation and The Hungry Brain. It was in that scene Stewart distinguished herself as a go-to collaborator, co-founding the band OHMME (with Sima Cunningham) and performing and improvising with Ken Vandermark’s Marker ensemble, the improvised act The Few (with guitar player Steve Marquette and bassist Charlie Kirchen) and the violin/cello duo Macie Stewart & Lia Kohl. Stewart has also spent years working as a string arranger, drawing on her varied background in classical, jazz, and Irish folk music to create unique arrangements for artists such as the band Whitney, SZA, V.V. Lightbody, Knox Fortune, and many others.

“I have always been drawn to working in partnership. My creative world thrives when I am able to glance inside someone else’s brain and lock into a rhythm with them,” Stewart says. Years of collaborating helped her develop the musical communication skills she needed to craft a project of her own. At a certain point Stewart realized, “I didn’t know who I was or what I sounded like as an individual. I was floating aimlessly and feeling like so many of my choices weren’t made for myself, but rather for the people with whom I shared a partnership.” She started writing and recording music for Mouth Full of Glass about a year before quarantine with Dave Vettraino engineering and providing additional production, his instrumental ear being a key component in the mixing process. Stewart finished the record during the first months of the stay-at-home orders with Vivan McConnell (V.V. Lightbody) being her remote sounding board for ideas. “While I don’t consider this album a ‘quarantine record,’ finishing it during that time was important because I had to spend the most time with the person I had been avoiding: myself.”

Stewart explains, “Life is a perpetual discovery of your own habits and perceptions. This record is about digging into and embracing those less favorable parts of yourself in order to shed them. The hope is always to be present and true with yourself while honoring who you once were, and who you could be. It’s important to give ourselves empathy and space to discover who that is.”

Related Artists: Macie Stewart

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