Makenna Hope is a singer-songwriter from St. Albans, West Virginia. She grew up in a family of music lovers, listening to and falling in love with the voices and music of some of the all-time great country artists – Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynn.
Their influence shine through in her impressive vocal range and establish this young musician as an up and coming musical star to be reckoned with.
Makenna’s latest single ‘Ghost of Us‘ launches today. It is about losing someone who has been a consistent presence in your life and feeling uncertain about who you are without them. It deals with the struggle to come to terms with your feelings when everything around you reminds you of who the two of you were together.
Makenna, through her commanding vocals, is able to move between confusion, frustration and sadness with beautiful dexterity. Her emotionally resonant vocals, the haunting strings and unembellished production perfectly capture the sense of mourning for the past and uncertainty over how to begin again, “I can’t remember who I was before you came“.
This single is proof of her extraordinary talent and it was wonderful to speak to Mackenna, ahead of the release of her single, about her artistic influences, favourite lyrics and performing live…
How did you first get into music and when did you decide it was something that you wanted to pursue?
I first started music at seven years old when I joined my school’s talent show. I realised immediately that I wanted to be a musician. I started singing in competitions and by the time I was 13, I was performing three hour shows.
How would you describe the sound and style of your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Americana with country and folk influences. I take inspiration from multiple different genres.
Can you tell us about ‘Ghost of Us’? What was the inspiration behind it?
‘Ghost of Us‘ is a song about grief and losing someone that had become a large part of your life and also losing who you are as a person. I personally believe that everybody can relate to that feeling at some point in their life. Whether that’s from a break up or someone passing away. It is an extremely hard thing to go through.
Do you have a favourite lyric from this song?
My favourite lyric from ‘Ghost of Us‘ is the beginning of the second verse, “I’m laying candles on a stone that has your name”. I feel it portrays the surreal feeling of realising someone is really gone and having to learn who you are without such a key person in your life and find yourself all over again.
Can you share some insights into your songwriting process? How do you typically come up with lyrics and melodies?
I honestly don’t have much of a process. I’m more of an emotional writer. I mostly just write what I know and feel. I use my songwriting as a way to come to terms with my emotions.
The things I can’t seem to express with just my words, I find a melody that resonates with me and just start singing what I feel. It isn’t always perfect but it is me.
In addition to your music, do you have any other artistic influences or hobbies that inspire your work?
I have many hobbies such as baking and hiking but I don’t feel that those attribute to my music all that much. Although, I do always have to have music playing while I do my other hobbies. There is not a thing I do without music on. I’m not myself without it.
Can you talk about any upcoming tours, performances, or events where fans can see you live?
I will be playing at the Woody Hawley concert series October 7th at the Clay Center accompanied by musicians such as Holly Forbes, Andrew Adkins, and Ron Sowell.
What do you enjoy most about the live performance aspect of being a musician, and how does it compare to the studio recording process?
I love the adrenaline rush that I get from being on stage. Whether it’s to an empty room or a packed house, I simply love the aspect of performing. Singing, in a studio or on a stage, is the place where I feel most at home.
Are there any rituals or routines you follow before going on stage or entering the recording studio?
I have a mix of different vocal warm ups and exercises that I do before every one of my shows.
Can you share any details about your future projects or what’s next for you as an artist?
As for my future, I will continue trying to better my songwriting and improving my performance style. All I want in this life is to be able to pursue music as my full time career and to continue being able to connect with others through my music.