INVISIBLE AIRWAVES Issue #045 - Tom MacDonald - Page 12

MP: I figured a good way to start is with the question that we're posing on the cover. Why are we asking that question and what is the answer?

TM: Traditionally, radio and mainstream music has played it pretty safe and has been regurgitating the same songs and same talking points since the beginning of time. I've made a lot of music that people tend to label controversial that talks about different social issues and politics and stuff like that. Mainstream radio has stayed away from that and I think that's a conscious effort. At this point, I have songs that have been deemed controversial by the industry that have 40 million views, 50 million streams, so it just feels like people are being denied something that they want, by the industry and by radio and they're scared because of the outspoken, controversial nature of it.

MP: There's an accepted ideology out there, and if you don't fit that mold, then you don't get to play in the sandbox.

TM: That's it. If you're anything contrary to the popular narrative, you're not allowed in.

MP: Then how do you end up with a number one song?

TM: <laughs> Well, it's difficult, because a lot of the Billboard charts, especially the Hot 100, radio weighs super heavily. In the absence of having any meaningful mainstream radio play thus far, I have had to rely on the overwhelming enthusiasm of my fan base. There's millions of people out there who believe in what I'm doing. My fan base is like a family. They're very active and die hard for what I'm doing. Even without radio play and without the streaming numbers that a lot of huge artists have, we've managed to edge them out and get Number One. This is our 29th time at Number One on Billboard, just through the strength of my fan base downloading records on iTunes and Amazon.

MP: That's amazing. Fill me in on you as a musician. What drew you to making music and how did you get started?