INTERVIEW: Rising Pop Artist Sonny Mackenzi

Hi Sonny, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! I’ve been so good, thank you for having me.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “New Crush”?

“New Crush” is just a happy, feel good song about that honey-moonstage of brand new love. There isliterally nothing like the high of a new crush—it just makes you super happy about life and you feel like nothing can go wrong, and I think that this song does a great job of capturing that emotion.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I am super involved in writing and co-writing of my music, but actually “New Crush” was written by Nash Overstreet and Kiana Brown in LA. I was in Atlanta working on my EP when my manager played the song for me and asked if I wanted to do it. Funny enough, at first I wanted to pass on it because it was so different from a lot of the other music I was doing. Later that night and throughout the next week, though, “New Crush” was on repeat in my head and I couldn’t stop singing it. I totally fell in love with the way it made me feel and I knew then it had to be mine.

What was it like filming the video?

The video shoot was exhausting, but AH-MA-ZINGG. It was a 14 hour shoot day, with the first four hours being a photo shoot for the album. Then we drove out and shot the video at the Swan Drive-In in Blue Ridge Georgia, and I felt like the whole town came out to be a part of it. Everyone was so awesome, and the extras were really fun to work with. The owners of the theater even ended up makinga cameo in the video, which turned out to be my favorite scene! Derek Blanks is a phenomenal director and the whole shoot and story was really genuine to my life and who I am. I grew up in Colorado, so going to drive-ins and hanging out in the mountains is kind of my thing, and I felt right at home the entire time.

How was the recording process for the single?

“New Crush” is definitely one of the most challenging songs vocally I’ve done yet, but my vocal coach is amazing and really prepared me for the work. My manager and I traveled to LA to record with Nash Overstreet, and we got the song knocked out in about 12 hours at Nash’s studio.

What was it like to work with Nash Overstreet and how did that relationship develop?

Actually one of my producers in Atlanta, Craig King, knew Nash and introduced us. It was funny, the way it happened, because Craig and I were sending a lot of music back and fourth trying to develop my new sound. Nash’s band Hot Chelle Rae had been one of my favorite bands since high school, so I sent Craig the song “Tonight, Tonight” to reference their writing style. That’s when Craig told me he knew Nash and made the introduction. Nash and I ended up recording a few songs together before we recorded “New Crush” so I already knew his formula pretty well by then. He’s really fun to work with, very easy going and laid back, and pretty funny, so there’s a lot of laughing during the recording process, which is great when you’re locked in a dark booth for 12 hours singing the same thing over and over again.

How much did he get to influence your music?

Nash has definitely had a big influence on my sound. He and I have similar personalities and so the storytelling in the songs is pretty much spot on. I appreciate his honesty and his experience in the industry. Hereally hastaught me a lot.

How much does fashion influence your music?

Actually I think it’s the other way around for me. I think my music influences my fashion. Before I jumped into music full time, I made my living through modeling, but even then, I wasn’t as into fashion as I am now. My music has definitely brought out a more fashionable, unique side of who I am, because I want to look like what I’m representing, which is self love and empowerment. My style is like my music—fun, edgy, sexy, and free.

How’s your new album coming along?

You know, it took a good nine months to develop my sound and my message, which is kind of ironic because that’s how long it takes to grow a human…and there was a lot of personal growth in those nine months for me. I thought a lot about what I wanted to say to the world, and who I was and what my purpose was as an artist. Once I locked on to that part of me, though, the album just started piecing together easily and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turning out.The whole process has been such an incredible journey, and I feel so blessed.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Not yet, but I’ll definitely be updating my website and socials, so stay tuned.

Any plans to hit the road?

I am currently in rehearsals four days a week, and the plan is to be ready for a tour, but like my album release, no exact dates just yet.

What else is happening next in Sonny Mackenzi’s world?

All my focus right now is going towards my upcoming show at the CallanwoldeFine Arts Center in Atlanta on September 10th. I’m one of a few artists sharing the stage with CeeLo Green for a wonderful cause that benefits youth and the arts. For anyone interested, they can go to my website, for details.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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