Presented during the Trop Rock Music Awards Show on Nov. 4 in Key West
WATCH: Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association Single of the Year Award for the title track of his current album, Islandology. Above, McDonald talks with Space Coast Daily’s Giles Malone about his recent award.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association Single of the Year Award for the title track of his current album, Islandology.
Presented during the Annual 15th TRMA Trop Rock Music Awards Show on November 4 in Key West, McDonald was nominated in eight award categories for two years in a row, including Male Vocalist, Band and Entertainer of the Year.
McDonald is a staple at several prominent Space Coast music venues, where he entertains both locals and tourists as a solo act. He also fronts his band, the Mango Men, who perform a high-energy brand of Trop Rock and fun, feel-good Classic Rock, ‘Floribbean-style.’
“It’s really nice to connect with people who appreciate what you do,” McDonald exclaims. “I love to entertain people, and it’s especially gratifying 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 like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Knee Deep.”
WATCH: Brevard singer-songwriter John McDonald received the Trop Rock Music Association Single of the Year Award for the title track of his current album, Islandology.
The TRMA Single of the Year Award is shared with McDonald’s producers, Merritt Island-based drummer and audio 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 generate a fun, party atmosphere every time he takes the stage.”
McDonald started playing Trop Rock, short for Tropical Rock, in Pittsburgh, where he lived for many years before his relocation to the Space Coast.
“I often joke that I embraced this style of music because it helped me get through bitter, cold winters, but it’s true,” said McDonald.
McDonald credits 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 a long time ago,” said McDonald.
“But in Brevard, I bump into a lot of different people with unique stories and amazing life experiences. I have conversations at gigs with Vietnam Vets, NASA rocket scientists, Air Force Pararescues, Florida Tech professors, aerospace engineers, European tourists, retirees from all over the country and passionate, fun-loving Parrot Heads. They all feed my imagination and inspire me to write new songs.”
McDonald certainly likes to keep his creative engine humming as he juggles upcoming projects and events.
“I’m rushing to release a couple of new Christmas songs, one of which is inspired by our local Surfing Santas,” said McDonald.
“I’m writing songs for my new 2023 album and a concept album based on author Chip Bell’s Jake Sullivan Series. I’m also jacked up 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!”
Along with 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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