Since releasing her debut EP Dive Bar Diva in May 2018, Mackenzie Leigh Meyer has been getting industry nods for her unique style and enchanting vocals, while catching the attention of country music fans, including renowned producer Ken Scott (David Bowie, Supertramp) who commented “Watch out Carrie Underwood” after working with Meyer on her EP “Should Have Known”.
Her vibrant stage presence and dynamic live show has been wowing audiences on some of country music’s favourite stages such as Boots and Hearts, Havelock Jamboree, Lucknow’s Music in the Fields, and landed her a finalist spot in the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase and a CMA Ontario nominee hyperlink to the CMAO website for “Roots Artist of the Year” in 2019.
Mackenzie’s latest single “Dial Tone,” is a relatable tune about a guy who comes across as a self-centered, uninteresting, dial-tone personality type.
A native of Hamilton, Ontario, you’ve come a long way from your humble beginnings of community theatre and songwriting on the family piano. What did you come to learn growing up that taught you how to set goals and make sacrifices, in order to accomplish everything your heart desires?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer (ML): “Tom Wilson, an acclaimed artist from Hamilton once said, ‘”If I could choose not to be an artist, I would.” I think this statement is so true when it comes to making sacrifices and working hard for your craft. Being an artist involves so much work, and none of it feels like a choice. Growing up in a household that was very supportive of my pursuit of music was definitely a contributing factor in being able to ‘make’ these sacrifices, but I think the desire to put music over everything isn’t something you can learn or unlearn. When it comes to your purpose, you pursue it automatically.”
Emerging onto the country music scene in 2018 with the release of your debut EP Dive Bar Diva, how have you come to see yourself evolve as both an artist and individual since then? What more have you come to understand about the industry as well as the culture of country music, that has led you to identify with, and create, the music you do today?
ML: “I have definitely noticed a lot of personal growth since I released Dive Bar Diva. Over the last few years, I’ve really been able to dial in on who I am and what I stand for as an individual. Ultimately that has led to creating music that aligns more authentically with my beliefs and experiences.”
“As my understanding of the industry and culture has grown, my music too, has evolved. Primarily in the sound itself. Dive Bar Diva is a reflection of my music degree in jazz combined with my love of roots, folk, and country music. As my influences have stepped more into country, and further out of jazz/folk, my writing has reflected that. The music I’m creating now tends to lean more towards mainstream country, and I’m really excited to see where that leads me.”
Your latest single “Dial Tone” is a catchy and relatable track about a guy who comes across as a self-centered, uninteresting, dial tone personality type. Explain your thoughts toward writing on real-life experience and how it allows you to be more vulnerable and transparent with your audience, as well as learn things about yourself you may not otherwise.
ML: “I like to say that my songs are “exaggerations of my experiences” and “Dial Tone” is no exception to that. Lol. I think writing about your real-life allows you to deliver your lyrics more passionately because you’re telling your truths. People pick up on that right away. They feel more connected to what you’re saying because they know you actually mean it. Even in this case when what you “mean” is a little…well… mean. Lol. Something I’ve learned about myself writing this way is that the process is very cathartic. The material that usually ends up turning into a song for me are situations that bother me or have made me feel emotional in some way. Writing them into song has always been how I put these experiences in the past to make room for what the future holds.”
To complement your songwriting, your vibrant stage presence and dynamic live shows have been wowing audiences on some of country music’s favourite stages such as Boots and Hearts, Havelock Jamboree, and Lucknow’s Music in the Fields. What were these experiences like? Do you have a dream collaboration?
ML: “Getting to perform on these stages was such a dream come true moment for me. It’s been years of work in the making, and stepping on those stages and just doing what I do best was truly a full-circle moment for me. All three of these festivals have such vibrant, easy-going audiences that just want to have a good time and hear some country. That makes doing my job so fun.”
“Hands down, Kacey Musgraves is my dream collaboration. I’ll probably say that until the day I die. I am a huge fan of the way she writes lyrics, chooses chord progressions, and challenges the country music industry with some pretty progressive material. I would love to write with her one day, if the stars align.”
What’s next for Mackenzie Leigh Meyer in the coming months?
ML: “Well, over the course of the pandemic I have had a lot of time to write music, so there may or may not be a little EP in the works ;). But that’s all I’m giving away! So if you like “Dial Tone,” make sure you connect with me on my socials to stay tuned for what I’ve got next.”
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