Going after two dreams (singing/acting) can be very hard and only few seem to manage to do both well. Up and coming Country singer and actress MacKenzie Porter falls in that category. With grace, talent, ambition and determination MacKenzie is working hard at both her dreams and excelling to the highest level possible. SayWhatNews was able to squeeze some precious time with the busy starlet and talk about her ever so busy music/acting career:
SayWhatNews: Good morning MacKenzie. Thanks so much for sitting down and speaking with SayWhatNews. First tell us who is MacKenzie Porter?
MacKenzie: Hey Say What! Thank you for talking with me. It's very hard for me to describe myself but I think I would have to say that I am a small town girl with big time dreams. For as long as I can remember, I have had this deep passion to perform whether it be as a singer or an actor (I am presently doing both) and even though, at times, it seems overwhelming and unattainable, I will continue to pour all of my energy into trying to achieve my many goals and aspirations. So far… I am who I dream to be!
SayWhatNews: MacKenzie you toured with your family band, how did the band come to be?
MacKenzie: I grew up on a Ranch in Alberta with my family, my cousins and my grandparents. My Grandmother was very passionate about music so she would have all her grandchildren over to have sing-a-longs. We started rehearsing in the living room just for fun, singing along with my Grandma and it progressed into the garage as we started adding more instruments and dance routines. We were like the “Albertan” Jackson 5. It just built from there.
SayWhatNews: At what age did you realize you had the gift of song?
MacKenzie: My entire family will say that as soon as I learned to speak, I started singing.... at the top of my lungs for hours! I guess I liked the sound of my own voice? Who doesn't? I would impersonate Britney or Christina or Celine. I continually got in trouble for singing too loudly! So I guess you could say that from the moment I realized I had a voice, I used it for song.
SayWhatNews: You are a classically trained violinist who also studied piano. What inspired you to learn how to play those instruments?
MacKenzie: When I was four, my older brother was eight and he had been studying classical violin for a couple of years. I saw him playing and practicing and wanted to be like him. My parents also encouraged me to start an instrument. So I began my studies at four years old.
SayWhatNews: MacKenzie you are not just a singer/songwriter, you are also a Chamber Musician who has performed with various Symphonies. For those who don’t know, tell us what is a Chamber Musician?
MacKenzie: Chamber music is music written for a small group of classical instruments. An example of this is a “Quartet” which is a group of four chamber musicians, 1st violin, 2nd violin, viola and cello who perform together…similar to a small band. I played in a chamber quartet for several years. We would play gigs such as weddings, anniversaries, and corporate events. We made $50 an hour which was huge mullah for a young girl in her teens.
SayWhatNews: Tell us how did a young girl raised on a cattle and bison ranch in Southern Alberta, Canada end up opening for Country mega star Kenny Chesney at the Saddledome stadium?
MacKenzie: I entered into a singing competition at the Calgary Stampede last year called the Nashville North Star Competition. There were so many talented people competing, I didn’t even know if I would make it past the first round. I just went in and did my thing and ended up winning the competition! The 1st place prize was opening for the Kenny Chesney concert! I was so stoked! From there, I went on to open the entire Capitol Hoedown Music Festival in Ottawa. It was an awesome summer!!
SayWhatNews: Was that your first huge show opening for 15-17,000 fans? And what went through your mind when you hit the stage?
MacKenzie: It was my first stadium show and I’ll never forget it! I was incredibly nervous. All I remember thinking was "breathe MacKenzie breathe." I've had to calm a lot of nerves in my life but this was on a whole other level! Also, Vince Vaughn was in the front row! Really?? What a way to make me even more nervous. But I did it, got through it, and am so proud of it.
SayWhatNews: Winning the North Star competition opened many doors: you mentioned you performed at the Ottawa Capital Hoedown which featured Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Kenny Chesney. How amazing was that experience?
MacKenzie: The Capital Hoedown was such a ride for me. I had never been involved in a music festival like that. I got to meet all of the other musicians and share a green room with them. It was the first time I felt like, "holy crap! I’m really doing this, this is my life and it is unbelievably amazing!"
SayWhatNews: MacKenzie your music career has been on a none-stop moving machine. Just this past August you also performed at the Boots and Heart Music Festival which featured the line-up with Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, Carrie Underwood and Lionel Richie. You had to have a WOW moment. Tell us about it?
MacKenzie: I have WOW moments all the time. It’s funny, but usually when I’m at a festival like that I’m so focused on my own show that it’s hard to step back from it and realize how incredible it is. The second I get home, however, and crawl into bed the WOW's and OMG's hit me.
SayWhatNews: Your debut single is set to be released sometime this Fall (2012). Can you tell us the name of the single and the actual date it will be released?
MacKenzie: I’m so excited and proud to release my first single. It’s taken me a long time and finally I can say with confidence this is me and this is where I am in my musical journey. My single is called "I Wish I'd Known." We are finishing the final mix this week!
SayWhatNews: MacKenzie the single “Wherever You Go” will debut in the closing credits of Tom, Dick & Harriet, a Hallmark Channel Original Film in which you also star. What inspired the song?
MacKenzie: The film and a boy inspired the song! I wrote the song in Nashville with Caitlin Evanson (Taylor Swift's fiddle player) and one of my mangers, Chris Burke- Gaffney. I had a clip of the movie that we had to work around and build off of. But, it's hard to write like that so I also brought in some of my own personal experience.
SayWhatNews: Your summer has been busy from all you’re musical performances, working on your debut single and also several acting jobs. How did you get the acting bug and land your first professional job at the age of 16 on a TV series?
MacKenzie: I started acting in local theatre when I was really young. My mom encouraged me to take part because she knew how much of a drama queen I am. I then started studying with my acting coach, Clare Lapinskie. I worked with her for several years developing my acting chops. Then, at 15, I flew out to Vancouver to meet with agents. The first agent I met, I signed with and have been with him ever since. I booked my first TV series about 6 months after signing.
SayWhatNews: Your 2012 acting projects consist of “Tom, Dick and Harriet” (Hallmark Channel); “Killer Among Us” (Lifetime Network); “The Horses of McBride” (CTV) and “Seattle Super Storm” (SyFy Channel), just to name a few. How have you found time to relax?
MacKenzie: It's been a bit hectic, I’ll admit, but I really do love being busy. I’m going to Costa Rica over Christmas so I will be able to relax then…while I am whitewater rafting, caving and surfing.
SayWhatNews: Sounds like its going to be an awesome Christmas vacation. Now, MacKenzie you have acted alongside some talented actors like Patrick Swayze, Aidan Quinn, Jason Priestley and Carmen Electra. What other actor/actress would you love to work with and why?
MacKenzie: Oh, there are so many. I could of course say Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis, to name a few of my favorites, but my number one choice right now would be Michelle Williams. I think she is so elegant and beautiful and so incredibly talented. She just seems like the kind of actress that would be so gracious to work with.
SayWhatNews: Ooh yes, Michelle Williams is a really good number one choice along with Meryl Streep. In 2010 you won the Best Actress Award at the Rosies, the Alberta Film and Television Awards; and in 2011 you were part of the Top 11 Talents to Watch by BC Living. How amazing was it to be recognized for your acting?
MacKenzie: It is such an incredible honor to be recognized. I won the Rosie for best actress and my best friend won the Rosie for best actor that year. It was such a fun night!
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for MacKenzie Porter?
MacKenzie: Music and Acting! I don't know where it will take me but that’s what I will be working on. I really love both of these crafts so watch for me!MacKenzie Porter Website