AS the warm weather teases my mind with alluring brightness…
I am thinking of Makk Mikkael and her latest track, How It Feels. I have been listening to the song for a bit and learning more about myself from hearing it. The Canadian songwriter has been telling me about that track - and what she has planned for the coming months. I ask how influential relationships, good or bad, are to her songwriting; if she will come and see us in Britain this year – if there are new artists we need to get behind.
Makk Mikkael gives me the skinny about her creative flow and how she has transitioned as an artist; which albums mean the most to her; if she gets time to detach from the demands of the music day – she offers some sound advice for artists coming through.
Hi, Makk. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I am doing good, thanks! I’ve been in the studio lots working on my third single - so stay tuned exciting things are coming.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey guys. My name is Makk Mikkael. I’m nineteen-years-old; currently living between Calgary and Toronto right now. I love creating music/listening to music, probably more than anything else in the world. I’m working on my debut album right now - so am super-stoked. Thank you all so much for listening to my music and for the support. Hope to see you on the road.
How It Feels is new. It is inspired by a dark time – the end of a relationship. Was it hard translating that hurt and upset into music?!
How It Feels was written in ten minutes in my basement. Haha. It was written from an experience I had from my trip to L.A. My friend sent me a beat, and it inspired How It Feels pretty instantly. I was so happy turning my anger, sadness towards someone into music; so, it was a very emotionally rewarding process which closed the chapter for me.
The video looks like it was pretty epic and interesting to film. What was it like filming it? Do you enjoy music videos?
I love watching music videos. You get to see the artists thought process when they were writing portrayed through visuals, which is super-dope.
For How It Feels; we started setting up at the first location at 4 P.M. and ended the shoot at 4 A.M. It was a long night, but super-cool to shoot at so many different locations. I love making music so I can make videos for it: I think they go hand in hand and people may relate to the video more than the song, or vice versa. But, it’s just another way of showing what you felt or experienced through visuals.
Have relationships, good and bad, played a big role in your career? Are you in a happier place at the moment?
I am in a really good place right now.
I’m surrounded by such great individuals and my family so it’s a really special time. As far as relationships go; the bad ones are the ones I write about. I typically don’t write happy songs: I like to write from a deep place and write the good and bad I experienced with that person all in one.
Is there more material arriving later this year?
There will, 100%, be new material this year. My third single will be released, hopefully soon; we’re just getting it mastered right now. After that, I will start working on my debut album, which I’m all kinds of excited for.
You hail from Calgary and started recording music aged fourteen – under the name of ‘Mackenzie Rose’. How do you think you have changed in the past five years?
Haha. I’ve changed a lot. I don’t listen to Country music - and haven't since I was fourteen. I was really into Taylor Swift though; so that influenced my sound then. Now, I’m just into different stuff and have grown a lot with my sound/style.
How important was it going to L.A. and experience a new creative and personal lease? Do you think you might move away in future years? Are you quite rooted right now?
I think it’s important to try going to different places. Everything is a different experience - and you get the good and bad, but getting out of your comfort zone is so important. I loved living in L.A.; I learned a lot about the industry when I was there and was surrounded by super-talented individuals. L.A. has such different vibe then Toronto. It’s a huge music hub for everyone around the world to gather which, I think, Toronto is now turning into.
Before I move anywhere again, I want to finish my album. When I get on the road, I feel like that will help me decide where I wanna be. I’ve always been super in love with London, though.
Which artists inspired you as a child? Has music always been in your life?
Music has always been in my life. When I was younger, I listened to JoJo, Taylor Swift; The Pussycat Dolls, Maroon 5 (love their early stuff so much); Hootie and the Blowfish, Hilary Duff; deadmau5 and Lilly Allen. It pretty much ranged from everything my parents listened to - to what was on Disney Channel.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
I don’t have any gigs lined up. Hopefully, some shows will start in the summer. I’m super-busy creating right now.
Will you come and play the U.K. at all? Do you like the music over here?
I love the vibes in the U.K. The music that comes out of there is crazy-good. I’m so inspired by the sound over there. I will definitely come play there once this album is out.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most; which would they be and why?
The Internet - Ego Death
I saw them live in the summer in Toronto and was like: ‘What the heck; who are they?!’ They have such an energy and vibe on stage. Love the beats, lyrics: everything is spot on. The perfect way to describe them is (chill Lounge music), which is so inspiring for my sound and vision.
Toro y Moi - Boo Boo
When I was living on my own in Toronto, a friend showed me Toro y Moi. I’d never heard of him and I was completely taken to a different universe. For the next five months, after he introduced me to him, Boo Boo was the only album I had on rotate. I would walk everywhere in the city by myself and his music made me feel so comforted everywhere I went.
The 1975 - The 1975 (Deluxe Version)
The first song I heard from them was Girls. I was hooked. I recently saw them in concert and there just incredible live. They have released so much since there early stuff and it’s all great music - absolutely my favourites. They inspired me to release music and be myself in this industry.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I want to release this album, tour and constantly keep creating.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yes. I was on the back of a motorcycle on the outskirts of Toronto and I got a D.M. from Bipolar Sunshine, who was, at the time, coming to Toronto to perform at the Drake Hotel. He asked me if I wanted to open for him. So that was pretty dope...
Obviously, I said yes.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Just do your thing. The more original and true to yourself you are the more chance you have of being successful. If you have it in you then you're good. Stay true to the music.
IN THIS PHOTO: Alex Lustig
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
For sure. I live thirty minutes away from the mountains, so I get outside as much as I can. I get inspiration when I take time away from it and usually come back with lots of ideas, so it’s great. Honestly, I love it though; so, I don’t really need breaks from creating.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Wasted Times - The Weeknd
Follow Makk Mikkael