INTERVIEW: Mackenzie Sol
British newcomer Mackenzie Sol is one of the new breed of internet musicians. He first introduced himself to the world at only four years old when he auditioned for The X Factor UK. He impressed with his courage and determination which was heartwarming and cute. Since then he had grown up a lot, relocated to Los Angeles and has been further working on music and dancing. The now 16 year old has released a couple of singles and has found himself a number one fan in Dance Moms queen Abby Lee Miller. He has just released his new single “Taken” which hears him introducing a bolder production that comes closer to that mainstream and chart ready sound he’s been chasing. I recently chatted to Mackenzie about working wth Diane Warren on the new single, how social media has made it harder to stand out as an artist and also found out what his mentor Abby Lee Miller thinks of the new single. Check it out;
TB: Your new single “Taken” is out now and is written by the incredible Diane Warren. So how did this collaboration of you two working together come along?
MS: I was introduced to Diane by my Manager. I was so excited to meet and work with her. My parents both sang in cover bands and sang a couple of her hits such as Debarge “Rhythm Of The Night” and I loved Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”. This woman is a legend and it was amazing as I stood and worked in the studio with her and what was even more insane was Diane complimenting my vocals.
TB: What is your favourite lyric from the song and why?
MS: ”Look at everybody puttin’ the moves on you.” It just has a cool edge to it. It’s fun chatting up the girl also, it’s a little tongue in cheek showing that everyone wants my girl.
TB: This song is all about being protective over the person you are dating and being head over heels for them. So how have you found your dating life has changed since your social media attention?
MS: I don’t really think my dating life has changed any. I do get noticed more now, which is awesome as I get to meet so many new people.
TB: The lyric video for “Taken” is out now and is choreographed and performed by Yorelis Apolinario. But are you also currently working on a music video for the track? And if so what can we expect?
MS: Yes, I actually released the official Video today and I’m so excited. My love interest in the video is one of my friends, Kendal Vertes who stars in the reality TV Show Dance Moms. I also loved having half of the Cheetah Girls cast in the video too. It was really cool that I’m from the U.K. and the director Paul Boyd is too. Wow, that was three giveaways in one question *laughs*.
TB: You’ve been working on a lot of other new music so what else can your fans expect sonically from your future releases? Is there a sound that you want to experiment with that you haven’t yet?
MS: I’m a huge fan of the Motown era and was brought up listening to Motown music with the likes of Sam Cooke, The Temptations, etc and I’d love to release a real Motown sound with a modern drop and dance twist.
TB: One of your mentors is the fabulous Abby Lee Miller and you recently reunited with her for Easter Mass after she got released from Jail. So how was catching up with her and what does she think of the new single?
MS: Abby has always been my Number ONE fan. She’s my American mother. I wasn’t really reunited as I’ve seen her nearly every week however it was great to be out and about again. She loves the new song! She has even choreographed “Taken” with some of the young people who are in the half way house. Abby wants them to perform it for TMZ *laughs*. I dance all through the official Video and Abby loves that.
TB: You’re very young and have already spent a majority of your life in the spotlight so what is something you’ve learnt about yourself from this experience so far?
MS: I’ve learned that I strive for greatness and will never stop working at that. You can always be better and you’ve always got to work at it and put in the hours to be your best.
TB: When you look back at the video of you as a four year old auditioning for X Factor what are your thoughts? You were a very confident 4 year old *laughs*!
MS: I can actually remember that day and people making a fuss. I remember feeling “I got this!!”. I didn’t understand it really, I think I really believed that I had won *laughs*.
TB: With artists like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Cody Simpson breaking through to mainstream success thanks to social media do you think it’s made it easier or harder for you as an artist to stand out?
MS: 100 percent harder in my opinion. Everyone works so hard at social media and I have the upmost respect for that. But now everyone wants to be a singer even if it wasn’t their original direction or their leading talent. I feel it overcrowds the space and makes it more difficult for talented musicians and singers to be noticed. In fact this question brings me to the story of how I met Abby Lee Miller. I walked into her studio and she looked at me and called me a Justin Bieber wannabe. Then said: “I bet your another one of these so called singers with a few followers”. I replied with “NO, I am a Singer!”. She said, “then sing!”. She thought I’d turn shy but not me. I belted out Michael Jackson’s “Who’s Loving You” in front of everyone in the studio. From that day on she’s been my Number one supporter.
TB: Lets play a little game when you answer these questions with the first thing that comes to mind.
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
MS: To fly
TB: Most people think I…
MS: Am Funny
TB: If I could collaborate with one artist it would be…
MS: James Arthur
TB: Most mornings I…
MS: have beans on toast for breakfast, it’s very British!
TB: The emoji that best describes me is…
MS: The flame!