NEWBURY, NH — It was just another Sunday gig for Amanda McCarthy, a local musician from Londonderry, who had made her way to Salt Hill Pub Shanty in Newbury for what she expected would be a typical bar show. She had no idea that she would be singing to Aerosmith front-man Steven Tyler before the night was over.
“I was singing an Ed Sheeran tune,” McCarthy recalls, “and I thought it was going to be my last song of the evening. When I sing, I kind of go off into my own world, but at one point I looked up and that’s when I saw him watching me very closely. You could tell he was really paying attention. It wasn’t an instant realization either — it took me a few seconds for it to really register that Steven Tyler was the man watching and listening to me sing.”
At that point, Tyler made his way to his seat, but McCarthy knew what she had to do. She had to play just one more song.
“It’s really funny,” McCarthy says. “Many people from New Hampshire know that Steven Tyler grew up on Lake Sunapee. So my boyfriend and I have joked about him magically showing up at one of my gigs and me playing one of his songs for him but, of course, we didn’t actually expect that to happen.”
McCarthy took full advantage of the moment and saw it as a sign. So she dug deep into her repertoire and pulled off Aerosmith’s 1988 hit “Angel” as her strategic encore of the evening.
“It was terrifying but I knew I would regret it forever if I didn’t do it.”
This isn’t the first time McCarthy has been in Tyler’s orbit. She was part of the festival line-up when he performed at LaconiaFest in 2016. However, she didn’t get to meet him or interact with him — or sing to him — at the time.
“I’m sure he had no recollection of who I am, I doubt he even saw my set that day. This was much more personal,” McCarthy says of Sunday’s encounter.
Before Tyler left the pub he did what he often does when out and about in New Hampshire: He took some time to chat with McCarthy about the music industry, complimenting her vocal ability and leaving with a copy of her latest album, “Road Trip,” in hand.
“I refused to walk over to him,” McCarthy said of how she handled the whole thing. “I didn’t want to disturb his dinner. But I did ask the manager to give him a little note, thanking him for being such an inspiration to me in pursuing music. And he came over to me and approached me on his own terms. He gave me three or four hugs and cheek kisses as well. I’ve been a huge fan since I was 6 years old. I’m actually surprised I survived.”
It was a blush-worthy moment for sure, but one she’ll never forget.
“He’s a class act,” McCarthy says. “He didn’t have to take the time to speak with me, but he did and I’m so grateful. I will one-hundred percent remember this for the rest of my life.”
As such coincidental moments often go, there is also a twist: McCarthy is releasing a new single on March 6 entitled “Steven,” a song she says has nothing to do with Tyler. Still, it’s a happy coincidence.
“The timing of my chance meeting with him and my single release is purely coincidental. It’s hilarious and I’m dumbfounded,” she says.
It’s been a big year for McCarthy who has also been nominated for two awards in this year’s Limelight Magazine Music Awards out of Providence, RI. She is up for “Album of the Year” with her album “Road Trip,” and for “Song of the Year” with her song “Tiki Bar.” Voting begins at noon on Tuesday March 3 at www.limelightmagazine.com.
More information about McCarthy, including her music and her performance schedule, can be found at www.amandamccarthy.com.