Declan McKenna performed a stripped-down, acoustic mini-set for the latest installment of Rolling Stone‘s “Take One” performance series. The 19-year-old Brit showcased his soulful voice and simple, hooky song structures during the segment, featuring material from his debut album, 2017’s What Do You Think About the Car?
After teasing the signature guitar riff from Heart hit “Barracuda,” McKenna launched into “Make Me Your Queen,” highlighted by his major-key strumming and gentle falsetto swoops. He also reworked the melancholy “Humongous” and his breakout hit “Brazil.”
McKenna is currently promoting his first LP on a lengthy U.S. tour. During the trek, he will appear at 14 area high schools for intimate performances utilizing the same acoustic mini-set format; he will also take part in a Q&A session with students to discuss his musical journey and life as a young songwriter.
Last year, the singer spoke with Rolling Stone about his transition from student to professional musician after being named one of August’s 10 New Artists You Need to Know.
“The album was created over a long period of time,” he said. “From ‘Brazil’ and ‘Bethlehem,’ which I wrote when I was 15 right up to ‘Humongous,’ which I wrote at the back end of last year. Over that time, there was a lot of change in my life that I found hard to deal with or I didn’t really acknowledge. The album shows a certain level of confusion in being very busy and starting a career rather than being in school. I can’t help but hear that sort of thing. It was an album I made very much growing up at a quicker rate than I’ve ever had to in my entire life.”