Next Wave #1174: Mackenzy Mackay

"We’re all human and we don’t need permission to feel the way we do..."

Growing up between Yorkshire and Scotland [Calle, Portmahomack and Rosemarkie], Mackenzy Mackay recalls his mother singing and his grandfather playing guitar from a young age. Introducing the now hit maker to music, his family played a significant role in inspiring Mackenzy to pick up the art.

Growing up listening to 90s hip-hop from Tupac and Biggie, to alt-rock artists including Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Artic Monkeys, his curiosity for music grew larger. Mackay’s love for writing fiction eventually led him to writing songs: “Romance and creative arts inspired me. I love songs, movies, and books! I’ve always written songs, shit ones, forever and gradually improved through the years. I have definitely put the 10000 hours in!” he explains.

Noting household names Post Malone, Noah Kahan and Kid Laroi as recent influences, Mackay’s love for songwriting is evident. Grabbing global hearts with his use of lyricism and masterful penmanship, he’s just as much of a student as the rest of us. Uploading snippets of his songs to social media, Mackenzy swiftly found virality and built a huge support system that spans the UK’s borders. Since his debut single in 2022, he’s accumulated over 100 million streams in only 18 months – wow. 

Reputed for his heart-pulling lyrics, the viral sensation has a knack for writing unrivalled love songs. “I write a lot of love songs. I want everyone to know that they can love, be loved, and no one’s alone in any of this. We’re all human and we don’t need permission to feel the way we do. Happy, sad, in love or heartbroken… whatever the feeling is, we’ve all been there.”

One song named ‘The One That You Call’ catapulted his career. Inspired by someone special, he comments: “The message is loving what you’ve got and never wanting the moment to finish, expressing feelings for someone you connect with and explaining you’ll be there through all the good and bad. It’s wanting to be the one they can lean on whenever they need to.”

Off the back of his recent sold-out UK and European tour, and taking the stage in many iconic locations, Mackenzy has been gearing up for the ‘Life, Love & Upsets’ EP. It’s a six-track project that embodies the human experience, more specifically his over the past 12 months. “Going through the mix of emotions, the ups and downs of life. It’s about everyday life, everyone’s different but we’re all not too dissimilar. It’s about love, upsets, the things that hurt us, loss of our loved ones, not getting to say goodbye properly, and heartbreaks,” he shares. His candid approach has enabled a strong relationship between him and his supporters, being his most vulnerable project yet Mackenzy Mackay has continued to push boundaries and solidify his creative triumph. With more music on the way, this is just the start for Mackenzy Mackay.

‘Life, Love & Upsets’ EP is out now.

Words: Elle Evans
Photo Credit: Nicholas O Donnell

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