Meet Kira Mac, your new favourite providers of glossy, modern-day riff-rock

Kira Mac group shot
(Image credit: Emilia Drag)

Things are happening for Kira Mac. The band’s first three singles all made it on to the A-list of Planet Rock radio. In July they were a hit at the Steelhouse Festival (their biggest show to date by far). Pre-orders were healthy for their debut album Chaos Is Calling, which came out in November. The same month they embarked on their first UK tour, and have just finished a run of dates with The Sweet. And this is all without a label behind them, all off their own back and out of their own pocket. 

“My mum’s our accountant,” says singer Rhiannon Kira Hill, aka Kira Mac. “None of us five can be trusted with money!” 

The band are completed by guitarist/songwriter Joe Worrall, guitarist Alex Novakovic, bassist Bret Barnes and prodigious young drummer Max Rhead. Hill met Worrall in 2015, when they were both studying at music college in Manchester, and they bonded over a shared love for Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge and Nickelback

“I don’t care what anyone says,” Hill asserts, “Chad [Kroeger, Nickelback frontman] has got it going on. He knows his stuff. He’s just got the magic."

There’s also a little magic in Kira Mac’s own glossy, modern-day riff-rock. One Way Ticket is a bolted-on radio anthem with a downtuned guitar hook, big chorus and a country-rock twang. In the striking video for the catchy-heavy Hit Me Again, Hill sings with a boa constrictor draped over her shoulders, Alice Cooper/Britney Spears-style. 

Worrall came up with Dead Man Walking after a Metallica jag – its slinky, evil riff is delivered via a huge wall of fuzzed-up guitars. He was inspired to write Mississippi Swingin’, Kira Mac’s new, fourth single, when Hill got him into country star Jason Aldean. 

“Your influences always show,” Hill reckons. “Rock is always changing. There’s stuff coming through like Måneskin and Yungblud, but then there’s the classic rock stuff – Dirty Holly, Dorothy and Alter Bridge – and we turn our hand better to that side of things, because that’s what we love.” 

Born and bred in Stoke, Hill is warm and down-to-earth; on record, video and stage she’s a firecracker, a real presence. Coming up through the covers circuit in the 2010s, she played her share of girl-and-guitar country gigs, and it was after one too many bookers assumed she was a Rihanna tribute act that she took the name Kira Mac. 

After college she performed on cruise ships, singing everything from AC/DC to Miranda Lambert to Wham!. When she finally came ashore, in 2019, Worrall was waiting for her, with a pile of new songs and a plan. The work they’ve put in since is starting to pay off. 

“We’re called Kira Mac, but it isn’t my band,” Hill/Mac stresses. “It’s the boys’ band too, and we’re a solid unit. It’s close-knit, family vibes.”

Chaos Is Calling is out now on Kira Mac Music.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.