Hadley McCall Thackston
Born in North Augusta and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the 25-year old Hadley McCall Thackston’s affinity for vintage style clothes and contemporary tattoos mirrors her timeless brand of Southern folk — kindred with modern sounds and singers come and gone decades before she was born.
“This is definitely my last life for sure… I was born tired,” she jokes with a serious edge to her voice. “My mama said I came out a couple months early… kickin’ and screamin’ and hollerin’… and she thought to herself: ‘ooooooh… she mad at something!'”
A self-described “porch sitter”, Hadley’s upbringing in a house where her parents were in the arts and “total music heads” had her immersed in music all her life. She began teaching herself basic guitar chords when she was 10 years of age and started playing stand-up bass in orchestra at 12. When she was younger, she sang all the time (her mom swears Hadley sang before she even spoke) but in her teenage years struggled with anxiety & depression and lost that part of herself.
Fascinated by all things Irish, Hadley decided to move to Ireland in 2011 to become an au pair and then studied theatre at the University of Cork for a year, with the idea that focusing on theatre might be a way for her to escape and be someone else. The theatre immersion didn’t take, however, but her desire and passion for songwriting and singing returned and morphed into another dimension.
It was a complete act of ironic social media fate — as Hadley was not exactly a social media maven — but her best childhood friend, Wyeth Wood, pretty much insisted Hadley finally post a short clip of her singing and within minutes, the formidable, critically-acclaimed Indiana singer-songwriter David Corley — a friend of Hadley’s mother — saw and heard it and sent the clip to his producer Hugh Christopher Brown. Before she knew it, Hadley landed on Wolfe Island, Ontario, where Brown’s Post Office studio was and started recording her tunes.
A little icing on the island turned out to be that Toronto singer-songwriter Stephen Stanley was recording with his new band at Brown’s studio around that same time. Stephen was blown away by Hadley’s voice and asked if she would sing the duet, “Next To Me” with him, one of the tracks on his album Jimmy & the Moon. “Next to Me” was also chosen for Stanley’s first official video, premiered by Exclaim! and has many music writers exclaiming about Hadley McCall Thackston’s exquisite voice.
Hadley’s debut eponymous record (with all songs written by the porch sitter on various porches from Atlanta, Georgia to Cedar Mountain, North Carolina to Wolfe Island), fuses lots of sounds that might be called alt-country, southern folk, or contemporary. As for the latter, well in this chanteuse-songwriter’s mind, timeless is always contemporary.