Canadian singer MacKenzie Porter sets her sights on the United States – WWD
MacKenzie Porter has never met Shania Twain, but she would like to follow in her footsteps.
Much like her Canadian counterpart, Porter is a star in her homeland with three consecutive number one singles – the first female artist since Twain to earn that accomplishment – and a successful acting career with her role in the science-fiction series. “Travelers” fiction on Netflix. Her 2020 marriage to actor Jacob Etheridge was even featured in People magazine.
Even so, she has yet to make her mark in the United States – but she is on the right track. His single with Dustin Lynch, “Thinking ‘Bout You,” spent six weeks atop the country charts and put Porter on the map in America.
“I’m trying to get by in Nashville and in the States and start on a different level,” she says. “It’s definitely weird. I live in Nashville now, so when I come back to Canada, it’s like a big confidence boost because I can play really big gigs. Honestly, it’s probably good for my health mental because I can gain confidence in Canada and then have a little bit of reality here, but things have built up really well.
That momentum was starting to build when the pandemic hit and Porter’s plans to release a country radio single came to a screeching halt. “I had a single, it was going to be this big year for me – and then it all stopped,” she says. Because she had only done half of her scheduled radio tour, her label said she would have to wait until the pandemic was over before releasing the song.
She was disappointed but when she received a call a few months later asking if she would like to audition for a duet with Lynch, she jumped at the chance. She recorded her part, like a number of other singers, and waited to hear.
“We went into the studio, I cut a vocal that I felt really confident about and then I didn’t hear anything for months. Then one day Dustin followed me on Instagram and I said to my team: ‘I think that means I’m going to do the song,'” she recalled. “And they say, ‘No, that’s definitely not the case, relax. Then again, I don’t. didn’t hear anything, but a few weeks later he called and asked if I would attend.
The song is a crowd pleaser at Porter’s concerts, where she performs her Canadian hits and tackles “Thinking ‘Bout You” on her own. But she will be able to perform it with Lynch a few times this summer when they perform at festivals with Sam Hunt. And it will be a busy summer. She plans to play a few shows in Australia and is also about to finalize “a really cool fall opening slot”, she said.
Beyond that, she hopes to release that long-awaited single to country radio soon. “I cut two new songs in the studio and we think we got our single out of that batch. Obviously it has to start reacting online before it hits the radio with it, but we feel really good about it. this subject.
And Porter thinks she can finally “make it” in the United States. “I’m confident, and maybe it’s delusional, but I really believe I will, that’s why I’ve been working on it for so long. I’ll be the first person to say that technically I’m not Ariana Grande, but when I sing it sounds honest.
That honesty and relatability was also tied to Nasty Gal, who enlists her as an ambassador and will release an assortment called the MacKenzie Collection earlier this month in what marks Porter’s first fashion partnership.
“I’m playing all of these shows and I’m at the level where we’re currently building,” Porter said. “So I have to buy clothes that I can afford and still look cool on stage. Nasty Gal is a company that I’ve been buying from for years, they reached out to us and the partnership grew.
Porter admits to being a true fashion lover, as evidenced by her shoot with WWD at the Moxy Times Square Hotel, where she worked with stylist Krista Roser and selected two different looks: a fire engine red ensemble from RVN and an outfit all white by Brandon Maxwell.
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Canada on a cattle and bison ranch,” she says. “My parents aren’t into fashion. My dad is the kind of guy who will get a free t-shirt from the local RV dealership and that’s what he’ll wear. But since I was little I’ve always been fascinated by magazines and loved the fashion side of things and bringing it into country music. Sometimes that’s an area that’s a bit lacking in this industry. I love designers but I also love Zara and Urban Outfitters, more accessible stuff that I can afford when I don’t have a stylist and it’s just me.
As her career progresses, Porter may be able to dabble more in designer merchandise, but she may well mix it up a bit until that time comes. And she is determined to do whatever she can to replicate her success in Canada in the United States.
“If there’s anything else I feel strongly about or could do, I probably would because it’s a tough industry, but it’s the only thing I know in my heart that I’m supposed to do” , she says. “My path hasn’t been an upward trajectory all the time, that’s entertainment, but I don’t know if I would do anything else, I can’t, I’m not good at anything else.”