A NORTH-EAST singer-songwriter is following up her first number one hit by announcing the release of a new single written during lockdown.

Darlington-based artist Hayley McKay, whose previous song became a surprise hit in the American charts, penned her new single after the UK went into lockdown and she found she suddenly had the time to step back and appreciate the smaller things in life.

Hayley said: “When we went into lockdown, life slowed down a lot for everyone, and for the first time in years I had a bit of time to step back, reflect, and take a breath. And that’s when I wrote this song, entitled ‘Breathe’.

“When we were abruptly only allowed outside once a day, I suddenly appreciated the beauty and nature on my doorstep in a way I had taken for granted before.

“I wanted to put that into an uplifting song – something to say to people that when things get a bit much, just take that deep breath, and appreciate the small things in life that make you happy’.”

The song was written in partnership with Newcastle-based artist Hattie Murdoch, who Hayley said “was lovely to work with”. Throughout Lockdown, Hayley has also been co-writing extensively with award-winning artists such as Nashville writer Bill Diluigi, and Claire Hamill, who has written for Wishbone Ash and Eva Cassidy.

She has also been live-streaming gigs, teaching, and helping to raise money for grassroots music causes including the Music Venues Trust and the Save our Venues campaign.

This is Hayley’s first release since her last song, Thinking About Last Night, received international acclaim, reaching number one in the Ignition Country Charts in America, and being played on radio stations from Ireland to Australia.

“Thinking About Last Night let me explore my passion for country music, but with Breathe I wanted to get a real message across,” Hayley said. “The two tracks are both are very upbeat, but Breathe is a bit more dancey, bit more bouncey, and driving.”

A music video produced by videographer and musician Richard Doney will also be released alongside the track, featuring shots from various iconic North-East locations.

Breathe will be released via Hayley’s website, Spotify, and other digital platforms on Friday, November 20.

Visit www.hayleymckay.co.uk for more information.