Opening up and making yourself vulnerable is a very difficult task for each and every one of us. On her single, “House”, Page Mackenzie finds the strength to delve into issues that many leave untouched. On “House” Mackenzie tells the story of a crumbling relationship that has been crushed by reality setting in and ruining the honeymoon phase they had thought they’d live in forever. What makes this song so personal for Mackenzie is the parallelism between the couple in the song and her parents, who divorced when she was younger. On “House”, Mackenzie is able to find that sweet spot between personal and relatable, and craft a song that is sure to leave few unmoved.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with Mackenzie about “House”, her musical journey, and finding her place in Nashville.
Worlds Of Country: When did you sort of know that music was something you wanted to do with your life?
Page: When I knew music was the thing for me, I think when my dad, he’s not a singer, but he loves to sing. He always kind of showed me, I grew up with, Bill Withers and things like that. And he always would do karaoke and stuff with me. So I think that was kind of like where it all began. I specifically remember, with country music, Tim McGraw’s Red Ragtop was the song that changed my whole outlook on what I wanted to do creatively. It was also like the first song my mom had a serious talk about, like explaining the song to me.
Worlds Of Country: Once you realized it was something you could really do, what was your first step towards making it a reality.
Page: When I decided this was the career I wanted to do and everything like that, I just started playing around town. I’m from Charleston, South Carolina, so I just played wherever they would let us. I have a really good friend, one of my dearest friends, Emily Curtis, there. I don’t even know when we started, I guess we were in college or maybe just out of college when we started to play out live. And she was like, let’s just do it, let’s play. So we were playing like small bars around town. And then I was like, I got to get to Nashville. I have to be there. And so I moved here like coming up on five years ago. And from then, just like I said, where everyone anyone would let me play, I would play and I did the Broadway thing and now just try to travel outside and all over the states and try to just play wherever we can, honestly, where anyone will let us come in.
Worlds Of Country: So when you first moved out to Nashville, was there a bit of a culture shock or not so much?
Page: The biggest thing for me when I moved out to Nashville was like, I’m going to take over, they’re going to love me. It was a blessing in disguise because when I got here, I was surrounded by so many talented people, so many people that were ten times better than I was. So that helped me, I was like, you’ve got to work harder. You’ve got to practice more and be better. And that was the biggest thing, because when you’re in a small town, there’s only so many people play music. You come to Nashville and everybody’s amazing. So that was the biggest thing, was just like, OK, pump the brakes, Page. You’re not as good. It was like a biggest thing for me.
Worlds Of Country: Can you tell us the story behind your new song, “House”?
Page: Yes, “House” is one of the most vulnerable songs that I’ve put out. I wrote it with David, Michael and Taylor Baynham well over maybe two years ago. And then when everything happened with the pandemic and stuff, we kind of just pushed it back. But we knew it was something special. I’d come to the write with this idea of like when you’re playing house, when you’re younger, you create this fantasy love life. You’ve got Barbie and Ken, your three story mansion and your convertible, and you’re like, wow, I can’t wait to grow up and fall in love. And when you do grow up, you’re kind of realize like it’s a lot harder than they warn you about. And I remember being in that write, and we were like, we’re not going to make it about divorce, just about the generic relationship when you get comfortable and things aren’t as amazing as they once were. But as time went on and the more I sat with the song, it was just so relatable to me. My parents separated when I was 11 and from then on, that’s just how my story evolved with that. But I think this song can go either way for anyone, whether it’s divorced parents or that relationship, that’s kind of just blah, and you’re just going through the motions and stuff. But, yeah, we knew when we wrote it, we realized this was a special song. It sat in our vault for quite some time and now it’s out for the world to hear.
Worlds Of Country: Is there any fear with putting out such a vulnerable and personal song or is it something that you felt you had to put out there?
Page: There is a lot of fear before putting this song out. One of the bigger things and I’ve talked to a couple of people about this is the album artwork, I was afraid to put that out. I don’t know if you looked at it, but that’s my family. That’s my parents before they separated. And it was just like the meaning behind it was for me. I never really talked about why I did the way I did it, but it was just an impactful and scary thing for me to have to show my parents and be like, are you guys OK with this? Is this comfortable? And they were really supportive about it and just kind of like it’s creative. It’s you making music for people to relate to and do what makes you confident with the song and that putting the album artwork was the scariest. And now with the music video is even scarier because there’s a storyline within that of me and my mom and what we went through. So it’s just kind of scary letting people into something that was super traumatic and personal for me. But also at the same time, I know there’s so many people who went through it that I’m excited for people to relate and kind of know that if you’re going through this, there’s other people as well and we can all kind of get together with that. So, yeah, that was the scariest part, just letting people see a little bit of a darker side to the to my family and stuff.
Worlds Of Country: You said that you wrote it a while ago, what made you make the decision to put it out now?
Page: With the pandemic and everything, I didn’t want to put it out, I had put out a song during when everything was shut down and that was great and all. But I knew with this song, I wanted to put a lot of effort into a music video and to lyrics and the behind the scenes and production and things like that. So really, a lot of that time we sat with it. I was just brainstorming what I wanted and how I wanted the release to look like, because obviously as an independent artist, we have to do everything. But yeah, it just felt right. I put out some sassy song last time and it was like a fun, jokey song, but I wanted to put something out a little bit more serious. And we just felt like this was the perfect time.