It’s been one hell of a ride for Mackenzie Carpenter, and it’s only the beginning.
The 23-year-old Georgia native grew up in a musical family with dreams of being a country singer, as she would write songs thanks to her father and play guitar with her two older brothers. Fast forward years later and Mackenzie would find herself enrolled at Belmont University in Nashville, where she immediately immersed herself in the city’s culture and local songwriting community.
But when the world came to a halt in 2020 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, Mackenzie packed her things and moved back to Hull, Georgia wondering if she’d ever get back in town to write songs again.
“I went to Belmont [University] and during COVID, it got kind of wonky,” she recalls.
But then, TikTok happened.
Mackenzie joined the platform to post covers, original music, and even moments from home; but to no surprise, she found herself quickly gaining traction thanks to her sassy personality and incredible talent. It also helped her realize that being a songwriter was her true passion, noting that it inspired her to “come back to town and jump back into it.”
“I wrote ‘Villain’ with Lily Rose and that song did super well. It was my first cut to Country Radio,” she shares. “She started popping up on TikTok and I was like, ‘I guess I’ll post my own.’ I started writing myself and posting on TikTok, and that’s when I signed my record deal.”
Since singing with The Valory Music Co., Carpenter dropped multiple singles, including SiriusXM Highway Find “Can’t Nobody,” the viral “Huntin’ Season,” the vulnerable “Jesus I’m Jealous,” the anthemic “Don’t Mess With Exes,” and newly released “Throw You Back,” which can all be heard on her self-titled EP that dropped on music streaming platforms last Friday (April 14).
The collection is an accumulation of the first tracks the young talent ever created and draws its name from the independent and unfiltered spirit of its formation. It offers five personality-driven — or as she calls them “tacky country” — songs that offer a window into the heart of the cheeky yet nuanced songwriter.
“I always say I call my music tacky country,” she says with a giggle. “I grew up in a town where a lot of times I felt embarrassed about the car we drove, where I came from, what my parents did or the money that we didn’t have, and then I realized that the more you lean into who you are and where you come from, it’s unique. It’s your superpower. I used to be scared of being tacky, but now I’m just like, ‘screw it.’ I’m gonna show up and be who I am and we all should. I hope to inspire people to do that and just be tacky.”
And while she’s loving recording her own cuts and performing them live on stage, Carpenter tells Celeb Secrets Country that she’ll never stop writing for other artists. Since penning “Villain” with Lily Rose, the 23-year-old has collaborated with renowned songwriter Nicolle Galyon, her brother Micah, and other artists like Peytan Porter and Steve Moakler. She’s also had her hand in contributing lyrics for Megan Moroney‘s “I’m Not Pretty” and “Hair Salon.”
“I like to be behind-the-scenes, but I also want to tell my own stories and sing my own songs. I’m trying to do it all,” she says. “I can’t just have pasta… I need pizza and pasta.”
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With festival season in full swing, Carpenter will find herself headed to the desert for the first time for a performance at Stagecoach 2023, which takes place at the end of the month at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Set to perform on alongside artists like Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, Elle King, BRELAND and Priscilla Block, the 23-year-old tells CS Country that she’s “beyond excited” for the opportunity.
“I’m so thankful for the people that have allowed this to happen because it’s a whole process getting into the festival world,” she says. “There’s so many people that want to do it, so I appreciate all of the people that have worked their butts off to get me here and pushing to get my music out. It’s gonna be a fun summer.”
She’ll then hit the road with country crooner Conner Smith for his “If I Went To College” tour before slots at incredible events like CMA Fest and Crawfish Music Festival, along with a Grand Ole Opry debut in June.
“It’s pretty special,” Mackenzie says of her musical journey. “There’s a lot of things that I’ve accomplished so far that definitely didn’t happen on my own. It takes a village, a lot of faith, and a lot of hard work. Who knows where we could go from here.”
Take a listen to Mackenzie’s self-titled EP below and let us know what you think of it by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sliding into our DMs on Instagram at @celebsecretscountry.
You can connect with Mackenzie by giving her a follow on Instagram at @mackcarpmusic.
For more Country news, visit CelebSecretsCountry.com.