Rising New Zealand singer/songwriter MCK spoke to The Ticket Fairy discussing her anticipated EP Hot Sounds, the shift from being a self-producer to collaborating with Kiwi producer Wells*, her experience as an artist in the tumultuous year of 2020, and more!
Right off the bat, MCK (aka Mckenzie Comer) disclosed her hope and determination coming into 2020 like the rest of us. “As an artist, I have done so much, and the music has been a great distraction from all the chaos – but as a human being, I’ve found it difficult to feel inspired when the world is falling apart and everything is significantly heavier. It’s definitely made me reflect on what my bigger purpose is and what I’m contributing to this planet while it’s still turning,” she stated.
As the days merged into one while the world came to a cessation in confinement, MCK delivered her self-produced EP Confessions, and a new EP ready to be released under her belt. The closeness of release dates give off the impression of a seemingly quick and facile production, but the truth was endured by MCK alone.
She spent the greater deal of 2019, writing and producing Confessions with the new-found confidence to trust her instincts. “Making Confessions was a long and arduous process that took up most of 2019 (I thought that year was hard…). I wanted to finish a project without relying on anybody else’s creative input or validation, and there were a lot of things I wanted to say and needed to heal from.”
She rewarded herself with the pleasures of collaboration to enjoy the creative process after the tedious, painful creation of Confessions. With a hoard of inspirations following a memorable summer, she teamed up with Wells* (aka Josh Naley) in February and what resulted was a brand new project – Hot Sounds – with five finished songs almost instantaneously.
Hot Sounds was a little catchphrase used by Wells* and MCK to denote the music they made, “aka if we loved something it was ‘a hot sound’.” Talking about the EP she says, “It’s quite the rollercoaster — it starts out high energy and ends on more emotional terrain, which pretty accurately reflects the wide range of feelings that I was experiencing at the time.” The entire EP is produced alongside Wells* from start to finish. “He is such a special person with the most beautiful heart, and his talent is boundless”, MCK remarks Wells*.
Over the process of producing the EP, the singer subdued feeling lost and conflicted (which will be heard in the track ‘Falling’). She is most excited for her listeners to hear ‘Trippin’ up’ whose production is quite divergent from the remaining songs in the project, and it also features ‘an epic guitar solo’ from Wells*. MCK describes the song to be “about healing, and how not dealing with something or not taking responsibility stops you from moving forward.”
In comparison with Hot Sounds, Confessions had no proper strategy sonically. “I just had the stories and I was okay with letting it evolve organically, even if it wasn’t exactly one particular genre or a sonically cohesive experience. It was more about me taking ownership of my art and forging my own path,” she said. The sonic elements of Hot Sounds are influenced by Wells*, whom MCK describes as a ‘pop connoisseur’. With the latest EP, the singer approached intending to love what they made.
Like most artists this year, MCK says she hasn’t felt very creative in the last few months. Self-describing her creative process as “unpredictable”, the bouts of inspiration usually start with her writing the lyrics and piecing it together with its suitable sounds in her head, only then does it move forward to Wells* to try his hand at producing it.
MCK was a teenage sensation culled from the internet from New Zealand to the US of A. She, however, took an arbitrary hiatus to hone her skills, then returning as MCK. The singer cites Auckland-based singer/songwriter Jordan Arts (HIGH HØØPS and ex-member of Kids of 88) as someone who had a huge impact on her return as a rebranded artist. “He didn’t have to listen to my voice memos and take the time to coax me back out of my shell but he did, and I really do attribute a large part of my return to his mentorship. As an artist and friend, I have huge love, respect and admiration for him.”
The singer is in preparation for a release show in Auckland soon for Hot Sounds. What’s next for MCK after that, you ask? “I’m going to have a great summer. It’s been a hell of a year.”
Read about MCK’s second single ‘Better’ from ‘Hot Sounds’ here.
Find MCK Online:
Feature Image Via MCK, shot by Connor Lambert.