Wax Meets: Mackenzy Mackay

Posted on: Sunday, 12th May 2024 – Words by

As we head into Richmond Park to meet the rising star whose journey from pub life to festival stages epitomises dedication and passion. Mackenzy divulges to us why he loves Richmond Park so much “it reminds me of home”.

We delve into the life of Mackenzy, exploring the stark differences between his typical day now and five years ago. From crafting lyrics in the studio to gracing festival stages across Europe, Mackenzy's schedule brims with creativity and productivity. Yet, amidst the whirlwind of success, he remains grounded, cherishing every moment onstage where his lyrics are echoed by a fervent crowd.

What does a typical day look like for you now compared to 5 years ago?

It’s different each day I suppose. Generally, I get up… have a bit of brekkie, head to the studio to write some lyrics or finish some music I’ve been working on… go to the park for a walk or I make some more content. Meetings with my manager planning and preparing shows. A lot of productivity. I like to keep working. Whereas 5 years ago, I actually worked behind the bar at this pub, pulling pints. Now I’m having a cheeky pint myself!

How do you spend your downtime?

No downtime. Not yet. We are working constantly at the moment. Finishing music…scheduling releases…prepping the tours and festivals coming up. I’ve got a busy summer of festivals this year; playing in Paris, Reading, Leads, Frequency in Austria and one in Hamburg. It’s going to be good fun.

I’m really keen for Leeds Festival. That’s the first festival I ever went to, but I never thought I’d be playing there myself. Festival Republic stage; Be there!

How does it feel being on the stage?

When you’re on that stage and you have people singing your own lyrics back to you… it’s a bit of a pinch me moment. I’ve dreamt of this since I was a kid… and as much as people always drill it into your head when you’re younger that it’s unlikely to happen, I think being stubborn and just carrying on doing what I wanted to do definitely helped me to get to where I am now. I always knew where I wanted to be. I feel like I’m very much on the right path. And this is only the beginning…

Do you ever get nervous performing?

Massively. I get so nervous. I don’t know if that will ever change. I’ve done a lot of shows now and there was not one show where I didn’t feel the nerves. Sing the first few songs and then you remember this is why you signed up to the job. Sometimes I step back and realise I could be working in a job I would be unhappy in, but I’ve been lucky enough to do the job I’ve always wanted to do. If I was to tell 18-year-old Mack that you’d be here at 27 years old, I would have looked up to myself. And that’s really special. Whenever I catch myself about to complain, I stop myself and remind myself why I’m doing this. I count myself very lucky.

How do you feel after your gigs?

Gigs are exhausting… but I love it. The buzz. I love meeting the people. When people come to watch you play, and you go next door and have a few pints after with some of the people who came to your show… It’s the best feeling. It’s really cool. It’s never invasive. Everyone’s so chilled. When you get home, you just conk out, but it’s so worth it.

What would be your dream collaboration?

I’d love to do a song one day with Post Malone. That would be really cool. Fleetwood Mac would also be incredible. It just makes sense: Fleetwood…MACK! I’d also love to do a song with Louis Armstrong too, trying to match his incredible voice. The list goes on.

Where did your love for music come from?

Busted. Ahaha, I’m joking. From a young age, my mum and grandpa always played the guitar and sang. I used to pick it up and pretend I knew how to play it. I always knew I wanted to be a singer. And I never let it go. I was bought up in the North of Scotland and my mum put me onto all sorts of music.

I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Goo-Goo Dolls, and Arctic Monkeys. When I moved to England aged 9, I really started to dig deep into Hip Hop, listening to a lot of Shyheim, Big L, the Last Emperor, 2pac, and Biggie…and am massively influenced by them. And then a lot of older stuff too like The Everly Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and so on. Real love songs.

The biggest influence on me right now is the fact that I’m just madly in love. That’s where a lot of my songs come from. I have a huge heart… and I love to express that through music.

I’ve written a song recently about being 80 years old, looking back on the life that you’ve lived with your loved one. Reminiscing throughout the whole life you’ve lived. The whole journey and how beautiful it is. I take a lot of influence from how I feel… it’s the most real form of song writing. And people connect with it.

What do you miss the most about Yorkshire/home?

The countryside and the people. I miss all my friends and family. But I love London…it’s as much of a home to me as Yorkshire is. If I’m away for a week or so, I miss it. I constantly miss Yorkshire. Scotland too! All of them have a massive place in my heart. I did a support tour in February and although I loved the experience… I could not wait to get back to London.

Pint or tea?

Pint. For sure. I do drink a fair amount of tea and coffee but trying to lay off the caffeine a bit. More time on the tea again. But definitely pints over tea.

Where do you feel most inspired?

If I’m writing at home, it’s a lot more natural and free flowing. I’ll just pick the guitar up and start singing if something comes to me. Also, the tube…. my phone’s full of random ideas and voice notes, which ends up coming in useful later in the studio.

I have hundreds of songs, but it’s about sieving them out and saving bits from each one and blending them together. Like my most recent song… I had all the right parts, but didn’t know how to put them together. We sat there for ages trying to figure it out but hit a bit of a wall. So we went for some chicken soup and a pint to take a break and came back and got it straight away. Sometimes that’s all you need; to step away and take a break.

You asked me what inspires me and motivates me the most? Chicken soup.

What is your favourite spot in London?

Great question….My house!

In all seriousness, if we are talking food…there’s a really nice Georgian Restaurant near me. The horseshoe in Hampstead Heath too, best roast dinner in London.

We went to Richmond Park today, that’s another spot. It reminds me of Yorkshire. I love making music outside. We’ve been recently recording in a Skatepark too. We don’t just shoot content there though… we have an hour after just messing about. I used to go there most days when I first moved to London, but I don’t skate half as much as I used to now.

What’s next for Mackenzy Mackay?

I’ve got my tour coming up in May and June. Aiming to get out to Australia & New Zealand at the end of the year too, which will be wicked. Other than that? Finishing more music and releasing it! We’ve got so much to share which I’m really excited for the world to hear.

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