It’s been a whirlwind twelve months for rising country artist MacKenzie Porter, earlier this year becoming the first female artist to have three back-to-back #1 singles at Canadian Country radio in 22 years with “About You,” “These Days” and “Seeing Other People” mirroring Shania Twain in 1998. To date her catalogue has amassed over 80 million streams, and she received three nominations in the 2020 Canadian Country Music Association awards.
MacKenzie also earned her first crossover Top 10 at Canadian pop-radio — a first since 2003 for a Canadian female country artist — with “These Days (Remix)” which has been on the airplay charts in both the US and Canada for 12 non-consecutive months and was certified Gold in Canada.
But it obviously takes a lot more than a global pandemic to halt MacKenzie, and last Friday she surprised her fast-growing fanbase with the release of her 7-track”Drinkin’ Songs : The Collection”( stream here https://mackenzieporter.ffm.to/drinkinsongsthecollection.ois ) which combines her previous singles with a brand new track “The One” which she had teased about via social media. And no, this is not the love song the title suggests but in fact a real heartbreaker of a track about watching your ex marrying the girl who came after you, pretending to be happy for them but all the time realising you were “the pearl before the diamond”.
I was fortunate enough to get some time to chat to MacKenzie on release day, and find out a bit more about her music and her upcoming plans ….which I was happy to hear include some UK dates whenever things permit! I hope you enjoy out transatlantic chat!
1. LH Hi and thanks for your time on what must be a very busy day for you!
Congratulations on all your recent career achievements….obviously there’s been frustrating changes to your plans this year, but you must still be in a pretty good place and positive mindset right now?
MP Yeah it definitely looked very very different at the top of the year to what it looks like now, but that’s the same for all of us! But I’ve been adjusting, doing things over Zoom and on the phone like this and doing my very best …… because who knows how long this will go on for!
2. LH And of course today you’ve surprised your fans by releasing your Drinkin’ Songs collection ( MP giggles !) ….can I focus on the new song that’s included, ” The One” and ask you a bit about the inspiration and writing process behind it please? I must say I think it’s my favourite from you to date!
MP Thank you! Yes…so obviously it’s about being ” the one BEFORE the one”, I think many of us have been in that situation and I certainly have! You’re with somebody says they don’t want to get to get married, it’s not their plan in life, you break up with them and then they marry the next person! Or even if they don’t get married, if they say they don’t want a girlfriend right now …….then they’re in a relationship and you feel second best, I think we’ve all been there. We just wrote it in a clever a way, it was a song that just came naturally once we ran by that hook.
( Written by Mackenzie alongside Tom Douglas, Claire Douglas and Madison Kozak)
3. LH I gather you’d been playing it at some of your shows last year and it got really good feedback and reactions from your fans… is that something that’s an important factor in deciding which songs to go into the studio to record?
MP Oh absolutely! It’s the best way to do it! They will let you know with an honest truth ….I had a lot of people asking about that song and when it was coming out so I made it the last song of this project, it was the right way to wrap up this era.
4. LH One of the things you’ve already hinted about is how relatable your songs are . Is that something you set out to achieve when you write?
MP I think it’s a big part of it. I feel if I’ve gone through it, then probably a million other people have. I don’t have a life that’s special or different, just regular heartbreak, love and nostalgia, the things everybody feels.
5. LH And all the songs you’ve written for on this collection have been co-writes I notice, something Nashville is obviously renown for. What is it about collaborating with other songwriters that excites and inspires you?
MP I love bringing in a concept to a writing session, and saying ” hey this is how I see it” and then someone else says ” that’s cool but what if we see it like THIS” . Someone can take a really simple title and make it totally amazing…..or someone can wreck a title …you never know what you’re going to get! Nashville really has the best writers in the world so luckily that second scenario doesn’t happen that often!
6. LH And who’s on your bucket list to co-write with?
MP Hillary Lindsey would probably be the top one …and Shane McAnally, I’m actually sitting right across from his publishing office right now
LH Ha, say his name really loud and he might just hear you!
7. LH I love the fantastic videos you’ve put out for some of your singles, too. I guess your acting experience comes in handy! Is that a part of the creative process you particularly enjoy?
MP I love making the videos, honestly …and you’re right, I haven’t been acting that much lately as I’ve been so busy so it’s great to do a bit of that again! I love coming in with a concept and then the team bringing everything together…in fact we’re coming up with a concept right now for my single ” Drinkin’ Songs” , it’s really collaborative thing, I love working together .
8. LH I gather you have a certificate in musical engineering….how hands on are you with that side of your music?
MP Well since quarantine started I’ve been doing some of my own demos but when it comes to putting out my own music my producer ( Joey Moi) is so awesome I trust him with everything!
9. LH And you’ve said how this release is wrapping up this chapter of your career, so what’s the plan now?
MP Obviously as soon as I can I’m going to come over there to see you all and I’m working on a new record for next year …..
LH You mean a full album?
LH And do you have any tracks in mind for it yet?
MP I’ve written probably four that i really want on there, I’m still writing for it but I think there’ll be a single from it coming out at the top of the year .
10. LH And it’s great that your plans include some UK shows… what have you heard about the UK country audiences ?
MP I’ve only heard amazing things……they know how to party! I’m just so excited to see them! I’ve been over there but just for personal travel so I can’t wait to be there and play live music, see the venues, just hang with people over there!
LH We’ll really welcome you, for sure…we do know how to party but also we are known as being intent listeners so if we’re quiet at times we’re not being rude or bored!
MP That’s amazing, my favourite kind of show when people are so tuned in like that!
11. LH And have you got any message for your fans, wherever they may be its the world?
MP Yes…I really appreciate what they’ve shown me over the last few years, so much love and support. There’s so many crappy things in the world right now but the people who surround my pages and my shows are just the kindest, most supportive and I love them all!
LH That’s a lovely sentiment. I’ll just wrap this up by thanking you again, and congratulating you and Jake on your marriage and wishing you both a happy holiday season!
I really hope I get to meet you in person at one of your shows before too long!
MP Thank you so much, I really appreciate it ….and I’d love that too!
More information and links to all MacKenzie’s socials can be found at mackenzieporter.com
Article written and interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)