Check our interview with rising pop star, Sonny Mackenzi.
Sonny recently released a brand new video for her debut single, “New Crush”. Co-written by Hot Chelle Rae’s Nash Overstreet and RCA recording artist Kiana Brown, star of MTV’s Scream, “New Crush” was produced in Los Angeles by Craig King (Kanye West, Ludacris), and perfectly showcases Sonny’s girl-next-door-with-an-edge persona and flawless vocals.
Hi Sonny, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Heyyy! Well, for starters my name is Sonny Mackenzi and I’m a pop artist. I was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado and I grew up a total tomboy who loved the mountains and four wheeling, fishing, etc. I come from a big family and I love them more than anything. I love to play pranks on people. I’ve been singing since I was 3 and modeling and acting since I was 15. I began pursuing music professionally at 17, when I began traveling a lot to LA and working with Warner Bros. Records. Now I am signed to Main Attraction Music and just last year I moved from Colorado to Atlanta with my music manager and have been here ever since doing the music thing full time.
Can you describe yourself in 3 words?
Playful. Headstrong. Perfectionist.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I’ve been singing since I was 3ish (since before I can remember really) and I have always known that’s what I wanted to do with my life. As I got older, I really found myself at home on stage, whether it was modeling or acting or singing. I really love to write as well, so in the end, what nailed music for me was that I am able to be creative every way I love being creative. I am able to write songs, sing them, act in the music videos, perform live on stage etc. Most importantly, through my artistry I feel like I have a better chance at making a positive impact on someone else since I get to be genuinely me, and I try to spread that positivity everywhere I go.
What is your musical background?
I think from an early age my parents recognized how much I loved to sing and perform, so they put me in a traveling children’s choir when I was about three, and I remained with that group for several years. I grew up listening to mostly Country music and oldies, like The Animals and Sam Cooke, The Supremes, and then I fell in love with Pop when the Spice Girls and Britney Spears hit the scene. I began writing my own songs by 12 and my dad started teaching me guitar at 16, but I wasn’t very good. When I moved to Atlanta, I began really honing in on older Mariah Carey records and Beyoncé, Tina Turner, and Janet Jackson to create my new sound, and I also began training with Peggy Johnson, who taught me piano, which I’m basically addicted to now.
Is your family musical?
On a professional level, the short answer is no. My mom is a second grade teacher and my dad is a retired archeologist, but on their down time my mom sings Opera in the living room and my dad is a self-taught guitarist who’s best known for his Willie Nelson impressions. My brother is an exceptionally talented rapper and writer, and one of my sisters was a model while the other is an actress. I am the only professional singer in the family—EXCEPT for when we go to our family cabin. When we’re up there, we like to sit on the deck at night and bless our neighbors with our glorious jam sessions. It’s pretty fab. One time we even had an impromptu performance for this investor dude in Boulder who affectionately (or sarcastically) referred to us as the Von Trapp family. It was great.
What kind of music do you listen to normally?
I love all kinds of genres. Depending on my mood, I’ll go from obsessing over super underground indie groups to rocking anything Top 40. Basically I just love good music and anything cool and new and unusual.
Tell us about your hit song “New Crush”?
“New Crush” is just a really sweet, fun, summery song about new love. It’s got this cool 90’s throw back vibe, which I adore, with super fun sing-along melodies and really visual lyrics. What I think is the most special about it is that it captures that feeling you have when you’re in that puppy love stage—the butterflies, the high-on-life mood, the I-can-do-anything-as-long-as-I-have-you moment. For me, it’s just 3 minutes of happy.
Can you explain your sound in 3 words?
Worldly. Infectious. Timeless.
What were your influences for the EP, both musically and content-wise?
Musically I took bits and pieces from some of my favorite artists, past and present. I was studying a lot of Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, etc. One of my main producers, Craig King, was instrumental in helping me come up with my sound, and he introduced me to a lot of worldly music that I hadn’t even considered, and the EP came out a little more dance than I had anticipated because of that, which is amazing. As far as the content, I pulled from my own experiences as a person and as an artist. Every song on the EP tells a story of something I have personally experienced and is very genuine to me. It’s very real, and it’s very personal, which I think makes it really relatable to my audience.
What is your next goal as a musician?
I’ve been in recording mode for the past year and now I’m chomping at the bit to get out and start touring. I just want to share this music with the world, and I want to start meeting my fans in person. I want them to know how much I adore them and how grateful I am for their support.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
My family, my team, my dog, my piano, and my computer (so I can write and create).
What music would we find in your iPod?
You would find so much random stuff lol you’d probably be super confused. Mostly what’s on my iPod right now to be honest is a bunch of demo songs I’ve written and recorded that are like half done, and then a lot of indie music.
Any loves other than music?
I love to write. I’ve actually written two novels, which is why my computer is one of the things I said I couldn’t live without. Writing is my escape from everything, and the stories I’ve created in my head are my own little way of decompressing when things get a little hectic in the real world.
Best advice you were ever given?
The best advice I was ever given was to stay true to who I am and to stand up for my faith and morals, especially in this industry. Treat everyone with respect and love, but don’t be afraid to show some fang if necessary, and remember that happiness comes from within so stop always looking ahead and try to enjoy the journey.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Omg SO nervous! But the crazy thing is that the moment I hit the stage and see the fans, all the nerves go away and I am just so stoked to be up there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE performing more than anything else.
Any advice for upcoming singers?
Yes! Get yourself a great team that believes in you and your project as much as you do. Don’t settle, know who you are and stand by that, and if this is really what you want, then never, ever give it up.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
I’d be doing something with kids. I love kids and I have a soft spot for troubled youth, so probably something in child psychology. That, or I’d be an author.
Any exciting news you want to share with us?
For sure!! We are gearing up to release my EP at the end of the year, so all the music I have been working so hard on will finally be out for the world to hear. You don’t even know how excited I am about that right now. I can’t even handle it.
How important is Social Media for you?
Very important right now, especially since I haven’t started touring yet. Social media is the main way I stay involved with my fans and that’s major for me. It’s really cool to live in a time where I can receive direct messages from them and engage with them on a regular basis and just check in with them and see what they’re up to, what they’re into, what’s going on with them, etc. It actually helps me relate to them better and vice versa, which makes me a better artist and also makes me better equipped to reach them and be helpful to them on other levels. And let me just say that I have the best fans ever. There is so much love and support and positivity going on and I’m just head over heels for all of them.
Where can we follow you?
The best place to stay up to date with me is at sonnymackenzi.com, but you can also find me at @sonnymackenzi on Twitter, Facebook, IG, Snapchat and musical.ly.
Quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Food: Chipotle or Spaghetti
Actor/Actress: Actor-Denzel Washington. Actress-Emma Watson.
Drink: Red wine.
Movie: Boondock Saints or Father of The Bride 1 and 2
Sport Team: Denver Broncos!!!
Song: My Girl by The Temptations