This weeks spotlight in arts piece is on a sophomore here at UMass Boston, who is a self-produced musician with two albums out. Though this student is a history major at Umass Boston, Henry McIntyre dabbles in singing, playing the guitar, drums, etc., and hopes to pursue a career in music. He first started playing the guitar when he was 7, and by the time he was 9 he joined his first band! He stayed with the same band until he was about 16, and then went solo in 2018. McIntyre writes his own music and records and produces it on his own, doing so in his bedroom! Though he doesn’t own a drum set, he was able to work around it and still record the album, partially taking place at a friends house who had a drum set he could borrow. It’s not easy to start out in music, and it can be exhausting, expensive, and discouraging. However, don’t underestimate this artist, each of McIntyre’s albums are posted on Spotify and have fantastic sound quality and content.
McIntyre gets a band to play with him when he performs live, but the members aren’t specific, as it can be hard to get people together in college with conflicting schedules and not everyone living as close to one another as they once were. With this, the people who play with him regularly are changing per show and he has to plan things accordingly to ensure he can perform with a full band.
To find shows, McIntyre will search Facebook groups postings looking for performers at different underground shows through Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. It can be difficult to get into venues that are bigger in Boston as a starting musician, as many times they’re looking for performers who have already established a platform of their own. That way they can bring in more people/fans and in turn make more revenue for the venue, so it can be hard to get your foot in the door. Places that might be listed under these Facebook groups that are looking to hold a show can range from someone’s basement in Allston to open mic nights around the city. Something useful that McIntyre has come to find out in music is that the best way to be successful in booking shows is to make connections. Whether it’s a friend, or just reaching out to the venue that you want to play at.
Today, McIntyre takes various lessons with professors on campus. Prior to this, he took lessons on playing the guitar only, and his singing was a natural talent, one he never had coaching for. Writing lyrics to his music occurs naturally for McIntyre; he feels as though his songs represent times in his life that he particularly felt were important. As music takes between six months and a year to write, record and produce it can really capture a specific time in someone’s life. Like many artists, music is a way for McIntyre to express himself.
Inspiration comes to McIntyre from various musicians. As a child, he had a love for country - something he jokingly thanks his mom for. But as he grew older and experienced music in a more holistic sense, he noticed himself expanding his taste. Though it changes, right now McIntyre looks to Elliot Smith for inspiration specifically within playing the acoustic guitar.
Supporting fellow students following their dreams is something we should make a priority at UMass Boston. Having a support system allows for people to grow confidence and eventually succeed how they hoped they would. If you have an interest in chill, indie alternative music, check out Henry McIntyre’s work on Spotify.