Wilson to host CD release partySongstress to raise money for THS chorus
Anyone who knows MacKenzie Leigh Wilson knows that she's been throwing herself into music for years.
In high school it was clear, even before she performed her own songs at Tuscola's annual county music show or released her first CD in her senior year. It was obvious when she packed her bags for Nashville to study songwriting at Belmont University and is even more so whenever she comes home, raving about the place just about everyone knows as "Music City."
All this said, Wilson believes her first full-length album, "The Start," lives up to its name. Though the 19-year-old has been playing for a long while and writing her own songs for two years, as she sees it, the 10-track CD shows the "start" of her coming into her own.
"It represents, I feel like, the beginnings of my music and the beginnings of really becoming a musician," she said, during a recent break from school.
While her country-tinged tunes have always been filled with emotion, she thinks now their themes are more universal, less limited to her own view of the world. Written over a year and a half and recorded in a whirlwind two days at Crossroads Music in Arden, "The Start" is meant to speak to all walks of life.
"It kind of tells my story," Wilson said, "but also I want it to really connect with people so they can listen to it in good times — and bad times and happy times and sad times."
Wherever they fall on this spectrum, folks will get their first chance to try Wilson's CD on for size at 7 p.m. this Saturday at her release party. To be held at Tuscola High School's auditorium, the show will both be a showcase for Wilson's first-ever full-length album (and her Nashville-based band) and a fundraiser for Tuscola's choral department.
Wilson's happy to give lots of credit to her old school's program, explaining that it gave her an outlet to perform while she was developing. Not every high school has such a vibrant department — and she knows it.
"I mean, you don't find that anywhere else, so it was the perfect place for me," she said.
Needless to say, she's happy to ask her friends, family and fans who come to Saturday's show to make a "love offering" to hep support the department, where she felt so at home for years.
While few people — Wilson included — feel entirely comfortable asking for money, regardless of how good the cause, the up-and-coming songstress actually has a bit of experience with the fundraising at this point. In true modern fashion, her newest CD wasn't bankrolled by a big record label but instead by a grassroots effort that still kind of amazes her when she talks about it.
Called a Kickstarter campaign, the online funding platform enabled Wilson to gather donations to help make this CD a reality. During the 45-day drive, she offered up plum prizes like customized songs and tickets to future shows to those who pledged various amounts. While many of the donations came in from people she knew, others were from fans she'd never met. She smiled as recalled that first big pledge she received from a complete stranger: a $250 donation that came in the very first night.
"It was the craziest thing," she said. "It was just like the most amazing feeling."
She had hoped to raise $3,000 for her CD, but in the end took in $3,400 from 35 or so supporters.That still seems to blow her away. Wilson makes no bones about the fact that she's still starting out, still finding her way, but she sounds excited about it, ready for it. In her heart, she explained, all she feels is momentum, a forward motion that might just carry her to her place in the music industry — wherever it may be.
"I think that's — I know that's where I'm at right now," she said, sounding absolutely unafraid to dream big.
For more information about Wilson's upcoming show, connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MacLeighWilson.