Hailing from Hamilton, ON, is the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase and CMA Ontario nominee for “Roots Artist of the Year”, 26-year-old multi-Canadian country artist Mackenzie Leigh Meyer. With a background in community theatre and songwriting, the emerging artist made her professional debut in the country music scene in 2018 with her 4-track EP “Dive Bar Diva”. Following up her EP, in 2020 she released her Candian country radio debut single, “Before You”. Produced by 2018-2019 Canadian Country Music Association Producer of the Year Jeff Dalziel, the single was added on the day of its release to Spotify’s “Live Country” playlist. Since then, it’s surpassed 60,000 streams on Spotify alone.
Recently I spoke to Meyer about her latest single release, “Before You”, co-writing and her goals for this year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become an artist?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: Something Tom Wilson once mentioned that I think is so true is “ If you can choose not to be an artist, you shouldn’t be”. So I guess to answer this question I would say that I’ve always wanted to be an artist in one shape or another. I grew up loving piano, participating in musicals, doing high school band, writing little songs; always putting myself in places where I could be artistic. But winning the Rising Star Contest at my hometown Hamilton Music Awards in 2013 was definitely the “push over the edge” for me to decide to pursue this as a career.
KP: Your latest single, “Before You” speaks about being in the right relationship, and how their significant other makes even the most mundane things better. What inspired the story you tell through the song?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: Funny enough, this song was actually inspired by NOT having that “right” relationship. Originally, the song was called “Black Flies” and the lyrics leading into the chorus went “ All that I know from love IS black flies, not butterflies,” etc. The opposite of what they are now. When I brought the idea to my co-writer Lizzie Lyon, who is very blunt, she said “ Okay Mack, not another sad song. Let’s turn it into a love song”. And with a few lyric swaps, the song took on its current version.
KP: What according to you, are signs that you’ve found that right person?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: I think the biggest indicator for me is when a relationship feels really easy. You feel completely comfortable, accepted, safe, supported and you trust that person wholeheartedly. I also think someone that brings out the best in you and helps you grow unconsciously but isn’t trying to “change you” is really important. Don’t change for anybody pals. There’s 7 billion fish in the sea.
KP: Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song? How did you come up with the hook for the song?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: Before You was born out of a descending duo guitar line that I really liked the sound of. When I started writing the lyrics I really something that jumped back and forth between opposites to really reflect the “ I want this” “but I’m getting this” concept without being as literal. So I tried to find things in nature that were bad and good (ie Black flies vs Butterflies) and to use them as metaphors for what I had before my soulmate vs what I got because of my soulmate.
Recording this was super fun. I spent two very long days recording the vocal RIGHT before the pandemic started, and Jeff Dalziel, the wizard that he is, was able to keep this thing rolling by taking the parts that the musician’s recorded from their homes and putting it all together while nobody could get together. So other than my boyfriend Jeff who did the guitar work, I have yet to meet any of the other musicians!
KP: You also recently released the official music video for the song, which was realized in collaboration with Roadhouse Productions. Can you tell us a bit about the creative direction that went into the project?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: First off, I cannot say enough good things about Roadhouse Productions. I hired them specifically for a music video, but they also do live-off-the-floor recording, mixing/engineering/production, etc. so if you ever need something like that definitely hit them up.
For this video, I really wanted something that captured the “before” and “after” you find your soulmate idea that the lyrics highlight. So we set up the video to showcase what it’s like being in the same scenario with your “soulmate” versus a “bad boyfriend” and made the colouring of both scenes dramatically different (yellow for happy, blue of sad). I’m in love with how Aj put everything together. He really brought the idea to life.
KP: What has been the best part of this release for you so far? What do you hope fans will get out of the song?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: For me, the best part has been getting to meet and connect with so many new people over the course of releasing this tune. My producer Jeff, radio tracker Bill, other artists and new fans have all been wonderful byproducts of releasing this song. I am so grateful for all of it.
Being that Before You is a love song, I hope fans will get something they can slow dance to, something that reminds them to cherish their loved ones, and something that reminds them to hold out for what they deserve in love.
KP: You also co-write often. How has co-writing with fellow artists and songwriters impacted your own music? What is something you’ve learnt from it?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: Co-writing has impacted my music greatly! It’s made me learn a lot about myself. What I want to say, how I want to say it, and how important it is to find people that really understand your vision/writing style in order to make the song the best it could be. I’ve been writing a lot with Jesse Slack and Daryl Scott and we’ve been turning out some pretty cool songs I’m stoked about that *perhaps* people will get to hear soon (hint hint).
KP: Moving forward in 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than “Before You”?
Mackenzie Leigh Meyer: I guess I hinted at this above but I am planning on releasing a bit of new music this year! That is my big goal for this year. For the time being, the release date is on the down-low. But definitely expect a little “something something” from me this year, and maybe a whole lotta “something something” in 2022.
Listen to Before You now:
Stay up to date with Mackenzie Leigh Meyer:
iTunes/Apple Music: https://apple.co/2QXyPue
Amazon Music: https://amzn.to/3wCWzTF
Leigh Meyer, Mackenzie. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, May 1 2021.
Leigh Meyer. Mackenzie. “Featured: Canadian country artist Mackenzie Leigh Meyer”. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Leigh Meyer. Accessed May 30 2021.