It is a privilege to welcome Mackenzie Dayle to zoomdune.com!
This Canadian rising star caught my attention through her YouTube videos. Her impeccable covers of “Roar,” “Skyfall” and “Stay” gave me chills and her vocals are unbelievably amazing.
As an artist, Mackenzie has made it her mission to help out her community! She has performed at countless high profile non-profit organizations and benefit concerts over the past couple of years.
Recently, Mackenzie wrapped up a trip to Los Angeles, where she worked with several music producers including Wendy Starland and created new tracks, which will help her, grow her incredible musical career.
In this edition of The Five Question Challenge, Mackenzie shared her songwriting process and how Hollywood mogul Kent Speakman is helping her broaden her horizons by diving into the film and social media realms.
Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in music? How did that passion lead you to the desire of wanting a career in the recording industry?
Mackenzie Dayle: I actually began my journey in music when I was five-years-old. My mother heard about a small singing competition and entered me into it thinking that it would be a fun experience for me. I agreed, having no clue what I would actually have to do in this singing competition. When I arrived there, all practiced and ready to go, I was told that I would be on first and that’s when it hit me. I started crying and refused to go on stage. My mom was very supportive and told me that I did not have to and that we would just watch backstage incase I changed my mind. I was an extremely over confident child at the time, and after watching a few performers go on I looked at my mom and said, “Oh, I can do that.” Next thing I know, I was on that stage looking out at the crowd singing the song “Cruella de Vil” from 101 Dalmatians. I stood rigid as a board, holding onto the microphone for dear life, but somehow I managed to sing my way through it. Once the song was finished, I felt so amazing, as if I belonged on that stage. I was terrified, but I did not seem to mind. It was at that moment that I realized that the stage is where I belonged. As time went on, I took music more seriously, and gravitated from competitions to the recording studio.
JE: Could you please share your songwriting process with my readers?
MD: In the last year, I have been co-writing with my mentor, Wendy Starland, to create eight amazing songs, so my most recent songwriting process has involved her. Before I begin the writing process, I start by brainstorming ideas and coming up with a general topic that I want the song to be about. After getting my ideas out in the open, the songwriting process goes quite smoothly. I have found it really affective to use tracks previously created by some of the amazing producers I have been working with. They gave me some really amazing material to write to. Once I find the track that I feel suits the message of the song, it is all about humming and rocking out to the song until you find a killer melody. As we jam out to the song, the words tend to fall right into place with the melody, especially if you brainstorm lyrics and ideas beforehand. I also found using quotes to be of great help when looking for writing ideas. I have to say that my skill in the writing department has really grown in the past year. Working with Wendy has taught me a great deal about songwriting and she helps pull things out of me that I never thought was possible.
JE: Recently, you traveled to Los Angeles to work with a diverse group of A-list music producers including Wendy Starland. What lessons did you learn from these producers? How will you incorporate them into the next chapter in your music career?
MD: The main lesson I have learned is to take risks. When I go into a recording session, I have learned to keep an open mind, and be willing to try everything. You never know what little idea will add so much to the song. A lot of decisions are made during the actual recording of the song that is really amazing and essential. I have learned to sing those notes that may feel to hard to sing, to be creative and try every ad lib you can think of. When you can relax and get out of your own head, incredible things can happen. Working with Wendy Starland has been especially amazing because she has taught me so much about songwriting. Working with someone that has as picky of an ear as I do has inspired me to better myself even more as a recording artist and writer. I am really excited to see how the new music will resonate with everyone – we are hoping to release the songs in the near future, with music videos to follow.
I have also been working with the amazing Kent Speakman. He has been working with me in the realm of film and social media in Los Angeles. I recently landed a role in the upcoming feature film Branded, which is produced by Speakman, which stars The Blind Side’s Quinton Aaron and Jennifer’s Body’s Josh Emerson. That will be an exciting journey, which I am sure will bring many more lessons and experiences in the future.
JE: What are some of the challenges that you faced in the music industry? How did overcome them?
MD: One of the main challenges that I have faced as an aspiring recording artist is when someone in the music circle deemed me as too young. I would constantly get comments like “You are too young, you have lots of time” and “You are too young to be doing this”. This always frustrated me because I was working equally as hard as the older performers were, and I did not understand what was wrong with getting a young start. Even at my age now, I still get the occasional young comment thrown at me. But when I first met Wendy Starland and told her about this challenge, she said to me “Listen, those people don’t know what they are talking about and you should not listen to people who do not believe in you”. That really hit me, and since then those comments go in through one ear and out the other.
Another challenge is how to make my mark as a unique, original performer. There are so many flavors in the music industry these days that it’s hard to find something that will make you stand out amongst the crowd. This challenge is not an easy one to overcome and takes time. I’m still working on it to this day. But I have grown so much as an artist in the last few years and become more “me” every day. It’s all about knowing who you are, knowing your strengths and knowing what is missing in the industry, so you can find where you fit in.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with other aspiring musicians who want to work in the recording industry, what advice would you share with them?
MD: Basically it is all about sticking to your guns and believing in yourself when you feel like no one else does. I firmly believe that if you know you are good enough and keep working hard to share that belief with everyone you meet, eventually someone has to agree with you. It only takes one believer to start a movement. I have been working at this for a very long time, and even though that journey is not yet complete, I have gone leaps and bounds just in this past year because of people finally believing that I am meant to be in this industry. It’s a lot of work, but the feeling you get from being a musician is unlike any other and definitely worth the struggle.