Starting off the #Junos Shows in Calgary on March 31 st is Dru and our friend Kayla MacKenzie. Come kick off your #JUNOS2016 weekend at the Nite Owl in Calgary. Kayla and Dru are celebrating his 4th JUNO nomination for RnB Soul Recording Of The Year.
1. When did you first know you had a passion for singing?
I think from in the womb! My mom was at an Eric Clapton concert and I apparently was spinning in her tummy! I was definitely born with a love for music that I absolutely can’t live without and I believe that with my life experience naturally it turned into my ‘passion’ for it. I see how music influences people and so my passion I feel is a wonderful gift of influence that I keep in mind when I’m writing and performing.
2. What was your first performance
My first performance was also one of the most embarrassing experiences for me. It was a grade eight talent show where I sang Broadways “Trolley Song.” Needless to say my actions and choice of song was not the most popular, however to this day I still would have sung the same song because let’s face it….I LOVE BROADWAY.
*We were at that performance and we loved it! It was an old school song for someone your age but you did amazing, I knew it because I listened to this era with my family! – I’m here with
3. Who inspired you in entertainment to follow your dreams?
I had many influences. In entertainment as a whole I loved Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand’s vocal legacy and Audrey Hepburn’s Humanitarianism. I’ve always wanted to achieve a legacy out of respect for talent and the type of person I am.
4. What musicians are you inspired by?
I am inspired by Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey and of course Mary J. Blige. I by no means strive to be a diva, however if it happens to be labeled by a parallel style and range to these queens, then I’m doing ok.
5. How do you see yourself to the world?
I see myself as another strong woman with an opportunity to make a positive influence on everyone I encounter.
6. Where do you want your path to lead you in 5 years?
In the next five years, I would love to be able to have an album out and be touring. I would love to have my own non-for profit Arts Centre and a Musical Campaign to empower individuals against bullying. A Broadway cameo in the bag would be wonderful too. I’m one of those “go big or go home people” I find it keeps me ambitiously motivated.
7. How do you balance being in the public eye and being you with just your friends? Are you the same when performing as a person or do you have a persona?
I don’t believe in ‘personas.’ As the great Dolly Parton once said “Find out who you are and do it on purpose!” I believe that we each have a duty to stay true to ourselves and that our personalities are the gifts to each other. My job as a performer is to entertain but prove that staying true to yourself with get you further than playing fake and the crowd will respect you more because of it. I have always found that if I’m truthful with the crowd they will respect me for it and as much as I want them to follow me and love my music, I need to earn a reason for them to follow me. What’s better than vulnerability in lights with instrumentals?
8. What is your favorite style of music and which bands do you actually listen to?
I really can’t say that I have a favorite style of music because I’ve have had an affair with almost all of them lol. I was in a country rock band for three years, I dabbled in Musical Theatre for 15 years, I studied classical for four years, played with Punk Rock and now have eight years experience with Hip-hop and R&B. Respecting that there are other genres out there, I keep my mind and heart open to all of them because I have had enough experience to know that they all will teach me something different and keep me growing as an artist.
9. Being a Canadian Artist do you find it more difficult or see a difference with American Artists doing what you do
I do in certain aspects because I feel there are more ‘Big Showcase’ opportunities in America than in Canada. However it’s an exciting time to be a Calgarian Artist what with the National Music Centre being built and the attention our local artists seem to be getting now with the Juno’s in town. It’s time to put Calgary’s artists on the map because we have been here for a minute and don’t plan on slowing down. So if anything I think America should be keeping an eye on us. After Drake, The Weekend and Justin Bieber taking reign, us Canadians are only that much more inspired and plan to keep holding down the titles! Of course I say this with love and a friendly competitive spirit!
10. How do you get ready for a performance?
I usually freak out, forget my lyrics and try to give myself a pep talk. Seems to work so far, because the minute I hit that stage I’m at home and all is calm. Hydration and practice helps too.
11. What do you like to wear on stage, do you have stylists?
I like to wear anything funky with a gypsy ‘free spirit’ feel. I like warmer tones and not too much hairspray or makeup BLECK! I am blessed that my stylist Tacita Hayes (The1Hayes) knows exactly what looks great and so therefore she makes a talented effort to make sure I always look fierce.
12. What do you do to stay beautiful?
Well thank you!! I am one of those “Beauty is on the inside” people, so beyond natural hygiene I would say this: Do you, keep smiling, surround yourself with good vibes and believe that you can achieve anything. Believe me that happy spirit will shine through and you’ll be able to see that natural beauty.
13. What are your other passions in life?
I love acting and dance.
14. What are the most known shows you’ve played in the last year?
I have recently performed at Dickens Pub, Night Owl, Marquee and Distortion. I am blessed to have promoters such as Mike Koryakuss of Say Sum’n Records, Kalmin Precise of True Rhythm, Fredie ‘Frenzy’ Hampton of Karma Records and Justin Hayes of Just Haze Entertainment looking out for me and aligning me with past and upcoming shows. If i’m not performing at an Urban show then you can find me on stage with the local community of Musical Theatre. I recently just played ‘Anita’ in West Side Story with the University of Calgary Music Theatre Program.
15. What do you have coming up next in your career?
In may I will be working with a Dance Intensive Workshop in Toronto and for the next few months I am currently recording at Calgary’s Studio ‘The Beach Recording Studio’ with their very talented Urban Producer. Thanks to Owner Lanny Williamson for taking a chance on me! Beyond that, I am continuously busy with writing and working towards new opportunities.
16. Do you find it hard to have a relationship in entertainment?
I would say it’s all up to the dynamic and mindset of the people involved. You can make anything work if love is involved but patience and negotiation are going to be fighting factors in the works too. Anything is possible when it comes to love!
17. What is your sign, birthday month?
I am the one and only Sagittarius! Shout outs to my fellow ‘sags.’ I was born in December, ironic because I hate the winter!
18. How do you react with your fans now? Do you respond and get close or keep at a distance?
I have a hard time trusting people because I have had enough relationships to know that people don’t trust themselves, so I find that my best course of action is to keep individuals at ‘arms length’ so that I can still get to know them and hopefully be a positive in their lives but still keep my own space too. I have a few BEST friends and family members that hold me down and that’s all a girl needs.
19. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m very sensitive. I have a lot of people who know me to be opinionated and strong because I come across that way. I think it’s a protective thing for my passions and principles but beyond the hard exterior I’m a very sensitive person. I love very deeply and hold on to it for a long time.
20. Where can we find you on social media?
I can be found on YouTube at
Reverbnation at www.reverbnation.com/kaylacmackenzie and
Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaylacmackenzie
Photo Credit for Kayla: Levente Kovacs