Exploding into the musical stratosphere in 2007, Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald was a breath of fresh air, standing out from the crowd as a self-taught prodigy with a powerful voice. With her honest songs, she has sung herself into the hearts of her fans and earned 25 platinum and gold discs in 17 countries.
In her recent album, Life in a Beautiful Light, two of the songs were inspired by football. FIFA.com had the chance to talk to Macdonald about her love of the sport and appearance at the FIFA FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.
FIFA.com: Amy, you are known to be a big football fan. Where does your passion for football come from?
It stared when I was at school. I got really into the first World Cup I remember, which was France ’98. It was the last time Scotland was in a major tournament. This is when it started I really loved watching it. I got really excited back then and that was it for me. I was just completely in love with football and have been ever since.
On your most recent album, Life in a Beautiful Light, you dedicated the song The Green and the Blue to football. What do you associate with the Old Firm derby?
I come from Glasgow and being from Glasgow everyone knows about Celtic and Rangers. It is a big part of most people’s lives. I always got very excited by it. I support Rangers and every time an Old Firm match comes up people will talk about it and look forward to it. It does also bring people together. That was what I was trying to pick up on in the song The Green and the Blue.
How would you describe the atmosphere at an Old Firm game?
Like nothing else. It is the most incredible atmosphere I have ever experienced at a football match. Sometimes it can be a bit scary, because there are some crazy people there (laughs). But most people are there for the football thankfully, and it is very good to be part of.
You mentioned that you are a Rangers fan. What’s your prediction for them this season? How do you think Rangers being relegated to the Scottish Third Division has changed the club?
It has been really difficult. The whole year 2012 wasn’t great for the club and the fans. We had to start again at the very bottom division, and we seem to be doing ok. I am looking forward to the summer and hopefully we get promoted to the Second Division. But it has brought all the fans together. There is a new sense of unity and even in the Third Division they regularly get attendances of close to 50,000. For me that is amazing.
What is your favourite football memory?
My favourite football memory is the opening match of France '98, and unfortunately Scotland had drawn Brazil. We thought that we would get absolutely slaughtered but we stuck in there. We were losing 1-0 and then we got a penalty, and I remember that my sister had to get out of the room. She couldn’t bear to watch. I sat in there peeping through my fingers. We scored the penalty and I could not believe it. Unfortunately, we scored an own-goal 15 minutes from the end and we lost 2-1. Technically we scored more goals than Brazil though (laughs).
You will play in front of the best footballers in the world at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala. Will it be special for you?
Tonight definitely feels special. I am such a massive football fan, so I feel like I will be singing for the most important people in the world. In my band we are all huge football fans. We are really, really excited. It definitely feels like something totally different from what I am used to, and I feel honoured to be here.
The best female players will be honoured today as well. What is your opinion of women’s football?
I think it is amazing that the females are getting honoured too. There are some amazing women’s football teams out there and it is good that they are being recognised. I was always terrible at football, so I am a little bit envious of their amazing skills.
What do music and football have in common?
I am not sure what they have directly in common. Both are things that most people are really passionate about. A lot of people absolutely love football and music. It is very good that these two can combine, especially for me because I love both. I am really happy that I am able to come here and perform with my music, but also to be part of an amazing football event at the same time.
If you had to compare the worlds of music and football, what would be the equivalent of the FIFA World Cup Final in the world of music?
That would be probably something like winning a Grammy or maybe doing the half-time performance at the Super Bowl. That is a big thing that everyone wants to do.