Amy Macdonald is a Scottish singer/songwriter who, at the age of 20, began topping the European charts with her Celtic-tinged folk music. Born on August 25, 1987, she studied social sciences while attending university and, like many teenagers, spent her days dreaming of pilgrimages to music festivals like T in the Park. Inspired by the songwriting skills of Francis Healy and the sweeping pop/rock of Travis, the 12-year-old Macdonald picked up a guitar that had been left lying around the house from her father's pop group days. She taught herself the instrument by following "how to play guitar" advice on the Internet rather than taking structured lessons, and the burgeoning songwriter played with a community music group before graduating to solo shows in the local area. The gigs featured Macdonald, her acoustic guitar, and a set of cover songs including "Everybody Hurts" and a slow version of "Mad World." Before long, her slew of performances in local coffeehouses had turned into a mini-tour of Scotland, where she performed original material alongside headliners like Travis and fellow Scot Paolo Nutini.