Sonny Side Up
Combining the theatrical flair of Britney Spears, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, with the world-class pop diva appeal of Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato and delivering the vocal chops of a young Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, Colorado-born Sonny Mackenzi has dreamed of singing, writing and performing from the age of three. She has already put in her requisite 10,000 hours, putting aside her successful career as a fashion model while still a teenager to head to Los Angeles, where she was discovered by veteran Warner Bros. Records A&R executive Nick Haussling, who took her under his wing with plans to eventually sign her.
With her brand-new, four-song EP, Mackenzi is positioned to be your “New Crush,” the first single/video from the collection, a spirited ode to first love.
Co-written by Hot Chelle Rae’s Nash Overstreet and RCA recording artist Kiana Brown, star of MTV’s Scream, “New Crush” was produced in L.A. by Craig King [Kanye West, Ludacris], and perfectly showcases Sonny’s persona – variously described as “a mischievous daredevil and the girl-next-door with an edge.”
“I want to be honest and put out positive vibes,” she says about her musical approach. “Usually I try to stay away from negativity, but the truth is I’m just a normal girl living life, and I like to tell stories in my songs about the human experience.
“Mostly I want to put out messages of strength and self-love, especially for my younger fans, so that they feel like they too can attain the things they want in life without sacrificing their core beliefs and morals. I want to show how we can thrive even while dealing with adversity.”
Sonny worked with some of the industry’s most sought-after talents on the new release, including Grammy-winning engineer Phil Tan [Mariah Carey, Rihanna], Leslie Brathwaite [Pharrell, Future] and John Horesco [Janet Jackson] as well as her piano and vocal coach Peggy Johnson [America’s Got Talent, Stephen King, John Mellencamp] and choreographer Cici Kelley [Beyonce, Toni Braxton].
“I’m in 100% artist mode right now,” she says of the proverbial calm before the storm. “To be doing music 24/7 is a dream come true. I’m literally living the life I envisioned growing up.”
Indeed, Sonny has been working towards her goal since she was a youngster in Littleton, CO, where she was weaned on her parents listening to country artists like Willie Nelson. Shortly thereafter, she performed her first solo song, a cover of The Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and – with her educator parents’ permission – skipped college to pursue a career in entertainment.
A stint with Colorado’s most successful fashion model agency Donna Baldwin led to her image being used for the mannequin displays at such retail outlets as Guess and Express, before giving it all up pursuing her childhood ambition.
Posting music videos on Facebook and YouTube – as well as an appearance on the “Ready to Blow” new talent showcase at Denver’s Gothic Theater -- Sonny attracted the attention of Dino Delvaille, a Senior Vice President of Urban Music at both Sony and Universal, where he signed Cash Money, working with Lil Wayne and Jay Z, and her current manager, Main Attraction Music’s Thomas Page. She has released a pair of singles, “Love Makes Me Stupid” and “Shoulda Never,” with the latter garnering exposure via NBC’s The Today Show. She was also the featured vocalist on DJ Luis Lopez’s international dance-floor hit, “God Invented Fridays.”
Gearing up for her debut EP, Sonny is hard at work in her adopted Atlanta home, working on dance routines and perfecting her newfound piano playing skills to create a dynamic live show that will wow audiences.
“My favorite thing is seeing the fans react to the music, experiencing that energy,” she says. “That’s what made me want to be a pop artist in the first place, performing for people.”
Now signed for marketing to Primary Wave Music, and set to release her EP digitally through TuneCore, Sonny barely has time for any other pursuits, let alone relationships, though she is working on a mystery novel in her spare time.
“I’m proud of our message, our morals and our outlook in what we want to accomplish. It’s important for me to enjoy every step of the journey. I’m just taking things one day at a time, perfecting my skills, trying to get better tomorrow.”
Sonny Mackenzi is about to seize stardom and not let go.