[Cover photo credit to Ashley Hylbert]

Nashville-based singer, songwriter and classically trained pianist MacKenzie Grant has returned to music after a 15-year break with the upcoming release of her sophomore full-length album Wonder World due out March 18th via BlackBird Record Label. Produced and engineered by Phil Dubnick, the album was inspired by Grant’s time away from music working as a school counselor in a high-poverty and high-trauma preschool. The new album embraces themes such as as self-reckoning, feminine empowerment and overcoming negative mindsets.  

Wonder World features original songs plus a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Borderline.” The album’s first single, “Putting Down Some Things”, has been released alongside a video.

Grant comments on her experiences informing the music:

As a former counselor, I worked with children affected by poverty, marginalization, domestic violence, generational trauma–all things that were not their fault or theirs to carry as innocents. I tried to foster resilience and self-compassion in them. When I took a break from this work, I found I was crippled by many of the mindsets they lived with on a daily basis: shame, self-blame, fear, criticism, etc. I knew I had to give the same allowance and self-compassion to myself that I had encouraged in them. 

She adds about the track “Putting Down Some Things”:

[The song] is born of the idea that the way so many of us treat ourselves, the mental self-degradation, is ultimately just our brain trying to stay safe and protected. But that’s the big lie; that we have to beat ourselves up in order to find motivation and growth. I had to start putting down that self-criticism because it no longer worked. We’re all connected in our suffering and with the events of the past couple of years, we’ve experienced it exponentially. But for most of us it’s our own inner voice doing the most damage. It’s accepting ourselves and giving our suffering compassion that is needed to heal us, individually and collectively.