It’s New Zealand music month! We are spotlighting some of our favourite kiwi artists who are pushing the limits and making waves in our local scene.
Words by Oli Spencer
Photography by Oli Spencer
Our next 'Get To Know' is with the angelic songstress MCK - pouring emotion into heartfelt, open book lyricism as she details her past experiences with relationships and heartbreak.
It is already clear that MCK’s journey will be stellar as she continues to unfold the layers of her forthcoming album ‘Becoming’, releasing her latest single ‘Paragraphs’. The song portrays the anxiety that comes after sending a risky text message, written in one of these moments after regretting hitting send. The song perfectly encapsulates the spiraling thought process you can find yourself in - finding itself a well deserved place in Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist.
Seeming wise beyond her years, she explores her own journey of becoming, forgiving herself for “not being exactly who or where I thought I’d be”. Taking the time to process her emotions, heal and find new perspectives, she has created a body of work that captures the unpredictability in knowing yourself while life throws emotional hurdles your way. She describes the album as her greatest reflection of self so far.
Get to know the soulful singer and songwriter MCK below.
GET TO KNOW: MCK
Who is your O.G New Zealand artist?
One of the first songs I ever learnt to sing was Pōkarekare Ana. I listened to Hayley Westenra’s version a lot when I was younger, so she was probably the first NZ artist I was exposed to.
First CD you ever bought?
I think it was Delta Goodrem’s “Innocent Eyes”. I studied and loved every single song on that record. It was the reason I wanted to learn to play piano… and definitely one of the very first examples of songwriting that I wanted to emulate in my own music.
What’s your favorite lyric you’ve ever written?
Such a hard question – “now you’ve seen me at my best, can you handle all the rest?” on my last single Paragraphs is one of my favorites along with the chorus of my next single, “just ran a red, over the limit, I’ll keep driving, tunnel vision”.
Last song you listened to?
'hate to be lame' by Lizzy McAlpine and FINNEAS.
Who would make you the most starstruck?
Harry Styles… His new album is wonderful.
What’s the most rewarding part about making music?
There’s this kind of juxtaposition where to make your art you have to sacrifice exposing your deepest vulnerability in exchange for the possibility to connect with people on a larger scale, and as human beings and artists we crave that deeper understanding. The creative process can be isolating but it’s the “your song got me through this” or “your song was my soundtrack when I fell in love for the first time” that make it worth it.
How are you feeling about the NZ music scene right now?
It’s incredible, the amount of music being made and the talent in our young artists coming up right now is incredible. The confidence and the drive is there too. I’m starting to feel like an old dog (kidding, but not really). It's exciting for me to watch and encourage new artists in the community.
Who are some of your favorite kiwi artists right now?
Crystal Chen is so multi-faceted and talented..I can’t believe she’s 19, Goodwill’s two latest singles blew me away, and Judah is a really exciting artist to watch – she has a powerful voice and presence on stage.
Most recent tick off the bucket list?
Kind of cheesy but I’m really happy in a relationship right now. My mum was starting to think I’d be alone forever so *tick*.
Have you found a perfect place to write?
The initial concept for Becoming came to me during the first lockdown of 2020 which feels like such a long time ago now, but I was on Great Barrier Island at my parents place. Getting out of the city and slowing down really helps my creativity, but I also wrote most of the songs on the album in my bedroom.
I do also write a lot on the move, I mull over words and melodies as I go about my day and then put phrases into my notes or record a quick voice memo when something falls into place.
How do you go about staying true to yourself in your music?
The last two years have been a reality check for sure, especially when I didn’t mean to do another project so soon after Hot Sounds. The songs that came out were quite different from what people have come to know from my platform. I went back to my instruments and just wanted to write good songs. I’m really proud of what I’ve released to date but think I did try to achieve a certain sound and image in my last EP whereas this is the greatest reflection of self so far.
What can you tell us about your upcoming debut album?