A musician with Antigonish roots is helping people give the gift of music this holiday season.
Ryan MacGrath is holding a holiday song auction, giving people the chance to bid on the opportunity to have a song written for them for the Christmas season.
The original song will include a final professional copy of the song on CD, as well as the lyrics to the song.
MacGrath, who was born in Antigonish and grew up between Antigonish and Guysborough counties, is now based in Halifax.
This holiday-themed project, called By the Chimney with Care, is a song auction, he said, with people bidding the have a song written “just for them.”
“Let’s say they have family traditions surrounding Christmas or the holidays, they can bid on having a song that incorporates their traditions.”
The song can be given as a gift, he said.
This project stems from a similar one MacGrath did for Valentine’s Day earlier this year.
“It was just an idea that popped into my head to do for Valentine’s Day – to write a love song for a couple – so I held this auction and people were really keen on the idea.”
A couple of weeks ago MacGrath was trying to think of a Christmas-related project, adding he had never written a Christmas song before.
Writing a song under these circumstances can be a challenge, but he adds it’s one he welcomes.
“I have a particular way of writing songs, as most songwriters do, and you kind of develop patterns in your approach. Doing something like this gives you subject matter that you, perhaps, wouldn’t normally touch on and it just kind of makes you go outside of your own comfort zone and exercise that song writing muscle. It is a challenge, but one that I welcome.”
MacGrath said he began writing music about 10 years ago.
To make a bid go to www.ryanmacgrath.com and click on the By the Chimney with Care link, call 902-233-0784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bidding closes Dec. 8.
He added song writing has always been a passion for him.
“It was always, kind of, a hobby for the most part and then about four years ago I had some friends encourage me to try and take it a bit further,” he said. “So I did that and over the last four years I’ve been able to build a full-time career out of it.”
MacGrath said he’s heard some positive feedback to this project so far, adding people are excited.
“I’m excited to do it, too. I’ve never really written a Christmas song before. I look forward to diving into it.”
A portion of the proceeds from the song auction will go to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.
“As someone who has battled with severe anxiety and who has seen friends and family members suffer from devastating mental illness, I realize the importance of supporting organizations such as the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia,” he said.
“They are helping to dissolve the fear that surrounds mental illness, which I believe is the first step to creating awareness and, ultimately, building a community that helps those who suffer.”
The musician also released his first full-length album in September, titled Cooper Hatch Paris. The album features East Coast Music Award winning band Gypsophila and a duet with Chantal Kreviazuk.
MacGrath will meet with the winner and discuss the song creation. For those living away, a meeting on the phone and shipment of the song will be arranged.