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Rising Stars: Meet McKayla Marie

Today we’d like to introduce you to McKayla Marie. 

Hi McKayla, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My musical journey started with songwriting when I was about five or six years old. At home, there never was a time when we didn’t have music circulating. Music was what kept the entire family the happiest. My mom would blast the AC/DC while my dad would sneak in his Garth Brook’s soundtrack. They both didn’t like each other’s music, but I was content with whatever they had on as long as something was playing. I loved it all. I was so amazed with the fact that an artist out there somewhere was able to put words to music in such a perfect way, and those words made people from all over the world feel happy. I decided one day that I wanted to be able to do that too. So, I sat in my room with my floor pad full of paper and began to draw pictures of what I wanted in a song. I practiced and practiced, and right around Christmas time, I sang my family my first song ever called, “Welcome to Jinglebell Town”. From there, I took off, and I began to write about absolutely everything in life. It made me love the world around me as I was able to find the beauty in all that I did. 

When I was nine years old, I told my parents I was ready for an instrument, and I wanted a violin. I would draw pictures and talk about violins and pretend to play one, so when my parents told me for my birthday I would get lessons for an instrument, I. was. ready. Except I wasn’t ready because they came home with the wrong instrument. They had bought a guitar for me, and they told me it was time to get playing. I was not happy at first, but I am so thankful that my parents made the decision to get me that guitar because learning how to play has made me into everything I am today. Playing the guitar also opened me up to performing and enhanced my ability to write music. 

In January 2021, I decided to move from Oregon to Nashville to pursue my love for songwriting, and I immediately fell in love with the community. Since then, I have spent a lot of time co-writing with some amazing musicians as well as recording, I can’t wait to see what lies in store. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My biggest struggle has been stepping out of my comfort zone to reach my goals. I have worked for my family’s business since I was young, and it would be the easy route to stay in Oregon and continue working a 9-to-5 there. I knew, however, if I never tried to achieve my goals, I would forever wonder if I could reach them. So, I did something completely out of my character: I packed up all my stuff and moved all the way across the country. Another bump in the road was that my boyfriend of five years had to stay in Oregon, so we are currently long-distance which has been difficult. We are making the best of it though, and thankfully I have had an amazing support group to encourage and support me on this journey. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a country songwriter and artist at heart. I love absolutely everything about country music. My most favorite thing, however, has to be the honesty and story-telling behind the lyrics. They are relatable and they quickly catch your attention. 

I have spent many years listening to country music and have incorporated these characteristics in my own songs. This is typically one of the things I am told I am best known for, and I am most grateful for those comments. 

It has taken many years to get to the point where I can write songs that are truthful to my story. When I was younger, I would take inspiration from the lives of others and write about what was happening in their lives. I only recently, in the last couple years, have been able to take my own personal experiences and turn those into songs that can also apply to others. I am most proud of this as it has taken many years to refine, and it is something that I am constantly working on, even today. 

I have been told by people that the most unique characteristic about me is my voice itself and how I carry the emotion behind the words. Whether the song conveys something happy, sad, or heavy, people say I have the power to carry those emotions across to the listener. I am very passionate about what I do, and as a songwriter, it makes my day to hear that my songs affect people. This is the big reason I choose to get up each day and continue to push toward my goals. 

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Over the years, I have reached out a bunch on social media. to get advice. I have found that there are so many talented musicians out there with tons of music industry knowledge and oftentimes just getting to hear what they do is encouraging and helpful. 

I also try to say “yes” to just about every write and recording session, etc. because you never know what you will learn from someone on any given day. 

There is always something to learn and someone who is willing to teach you about it. You just have to keep your eyes on the lookout. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nichole Thompson Photography
Nicole Briann Photography

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