Presented at the Trop Rock Music Awards Show on November 4 in Key West
LOOK: Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association’s Single of the Year award for the title track from his current album, Islandology. Above, McDonald speaks to Space Coast Daily’s Giles Malone about his recent award.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FL – Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association’s Single of the Year award for the title track from his current album, Islandology.
Featured at the 15th annual TRMA Too Rock Music Awards show Nov. 4 in Key West, McDonald’s has been nominated in eight award categories for two consecutive years, including Male Vocalist, Group and Entertainer of the Year.
McDonald’s is a staple at several prominent Space Coast music venues, entertaining both locals and solo tourists alike. He also fronts his band, the Mango Men, who perform an energetic brand of too much rock and fun, feel-good classic rock, “Floribean style.”
“It’s really nice to be in contact with people who appreciate what you do,” exclaims McDonald. “I love entertaining people, and it’s especially rewarding when they connect with the songs I write.”
The Trop Rock Music Association recognizes independent musical artists across the country who combine reggae, rock, country and Caribbean music to create an “island vibe”, using tropical instrumentation or production with escapist lyrical themes. Think of popular songs such as “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems”, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, and “Knee Deep”.
LOOK: Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association’s Single of the Year award for the title track from his current album, Islandology.
The TRMA single of the year award is shared with McDonald’s producers, Merritt Island drummer and sound engineer Kevin Kornicki and Nashville producer/collaborator Rick Beresford.
“What really makes Trop Rock a distinct genre is its feel-good, escapist vibe,” according to Squid Lips Cocoa General Manager Don Martin. “And John knows how to create a fun party atmosphere every time he takes the stage.”
McDonald started playing Too Rock, short for Tropical Rock, in Pittsburgh, where he lived for many years before moving to the Space Coast.
“I often joke that I embraced this style of music because it got me through harsh, cold winters, but it’s true,” McDonald said.
McDonald attributes his revitalized creativity as a songwriter to his presence on the Space Coast.
“There’s no shortage of fascinating material to write about anywhere you go in Florida, as Hemingway, Carl Hiaasen and Jimmy Buffett discovered long ago,” McDonald said.
“But at Brevard, I meet a lot of different people with unique stories and incredible life experiences. I have conversations at concerts with Vietnam vets, NASA rocket scientists, Air Force Pararescues, Florida Tech professors, aerospace engineers, European tourists, retirees from all over the country and passionate and fun Parrot Heads. They all feed my imagination and inspire me to write new songs.
McDonald’s certainly likes to rev his creative engine as he juggles upcoming projects and events.
“I’m rushing to release some new Christmas songs, one of which is inspired by our local Surfing Santas,” McDonald said.
“I’m writing songs for my new album 2023 and a concept album based on author Chip Bell’s Jake Sullivan series. I’m also excited about two cruise performances, the Pirates & Parrot Heads Party in Paradise in January on the Margaritaville at Sea with hit songwriter Jesse Rice and one in February with my good friends the Highway 1 Band called Let the Sea Set You Free!”
In addition to performing at music festivals and house concerts along the Gulf of Mexico, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, McDonald’s Space Coast rotation includes waterfront venues like Lou’s Blues, Squid Lips , Manatee Cove Tiki Bar, The Old Fish House, The Lazy Turtle and the Crab Stop; he also enjoys playing smaller venues like the George & Dragon, Balibar Wines & Finds, Pub Americana and Meg O’Malley’s on St. Patrick’s Day.
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