FROM ACTING TO SINGING, THIS DOUBLE THREAT DOES IT ALL
Mackenzie Porter fulfills her longtime goals, excitingly awaiting what the future holds.
From songwriting and recording her new album in both LA and Nashville, to filming her successful science fiction Netflix original series “Travelers” in Canada, Mackenzie Porter is a double threat. “Travelers” is based on a thrilling plot, set in the future as the survivors discover how to send consciousness back through the 21st century, experimenting to alter the path of humanity. The 28 year old is fabulously thriving with her new singles coming out November titled “About You” and “Drive Thru,” followed by season three of “Travelers” premiering on December 14th. The superstar makes it look easy while fulfilling her life long dreams as an entertainer. Porter is relentless when it comes to her career as she expressed her willingness to work to provide beloved fans with empathetic music, along with surprising her fans taking on drastically different roles.
Siena Severino - How did you get this particular role in Travelers?
Mackenzie Porter - In early 2016 all the new shows were getting picked up, and once I got the script for the pilot I loved it. I actually auditioned for Carly, and once they saw the tape, they asked me to retape for Marcy. Within two days I booked the part, which never happens. Because I live in Nashville working on my album, I have a studio in my house and I just do self tapes there, so the auditioning process is sometimes stressful at times, but in the end it is all worth it. I am very proud of the TV work that I am doing; definitely Hell on Wheels and Travelers stand out. I still want to do more film, so thats my next goal.
How did you prepare for your roll Marcy? What is the most challenging part about playing Marcy on the show and do you see any similarities between the two of you?
I did a lot of research on her because she has a learning disability, and I wasn't sure how much of that I was going to play. So just reading and watching tons of videos on other actors who have played characters along the same line as mine was helpful to watch. So that was extremely helpful once I started working on portraying the character. I also began boxing and training with guns because there are a lot of fighting scenes, and I wanted to make sure, you know, I was holding a gun correctly. It’s seriously the best workout ever and such a great stress relief. However, the most difficult part is sometimes the dialogue is tricky to memorize because she is a doctor, so every time I get a scene I have to look up these advanced medical terms and try to learn them in a way I understand. But out of the whole cast, Marcy is the more sensitive one of the group, as am I in my life. I tend to take on other people’s emotions.
So you guys left your audience on a huge cliff hanger in season two, what’s going to surprise people about this upcoming season? Also, what is the dynamic like on set?
Well, we definitely have to cover up the fact that we are now exposed travelers. How are we going to cover up that message that we are not travelers. Throughout the season, there are some incredibly sad moments, I would read the script and just start crying. There will be some tears throughout the season. As far as the dynamic on set, we are all super close. We are really lucky that we all get along so well and have made such great friends out of each other. We go to each others house parties, and even have Karaoke nights. I am lucky to say that I know that I will be friends with them after the series is over.
Which career path did you focus on first, music or acting? Which is more effortless?
I had been doing music since I was four, I mean my first instrument I studied was the violin. Although I have been doing music for much longer, professionally where I am providing a lifestyle for myself is with acting. Music has always been apart of my life, as I started from an early age with violin, followed by guitar and piano. They both have things that come easy to me, but I also struggle with things in both lines of work. With songwriting it is something I have had to work on and do every single day. Some people are born brilliant writers, however most really need to develop that particular muscle. However, being on stage is when I feel my best and just free and effortless. It can also be the same for acting. Once I memorize the lines and start building the connection with my co-workers on set and making it honest, feels effortless. But sometimes memorizing can be tricky and you want to make sure that the way you’re portraying the character is done well and correctly. They both have things I feel confident about and things I need to work on. But you just get better at it with practice. Ith memorizing, I obviously do that throughout making music, so to get into a rhythm with the lines helps me.
What is your inspiration for songwriting?
I always try to write from something that’s happened in my life. I want fans to relate to my music. The new music I have coming out is all about personal stories of things that have happened to me, because I feel like if I have gone through it, someone else must have gone through it and can relate to me. I think that is the best thing about music, is listening to it, knowing that you’re not alone and someone else went through the same ordeal. It’s the beauty of music. My two first teaser songs of my new album are coming out late November. It’s been a long time so I’m ready for people to hear my music. Right now, being done with filming, I am focussing on music because since I have been doing the show I have been writing a lot for the future.
Did you always know you wanted to be a performer? What advice would you give to someone following the same career path?
I have been following this line of work since forever. I remember my mom found a journal entry that said “when I grow up I want to be a singer and actress” So that’s honestly all I have ever done and all I know. I never feel like I am working. Sometimes I don’t understand how I am getting paid because I feel like I just get to wake up and do everything that I love. I feel so lucky that I have two of the best jobs in the entire world. My advice would be to really work hard and understand it doesn’t happen overnight. It has taken me about 10 years to get to where I am. You really have to believe in yourself and keep working. You will hear no a million times before you hear yes, so don’t let that take you down or hurt you. I don’t know any other industry where you get so judged and it is just out of your control. People will tell you “she’s too short, or she’s too blonde” Just hearing over and over again like “your not right, or your not good enough” For me it’s a motivator, I just think oh just wait because I am going to prove you wrong. That’s why I just work really hard and try not let any of that get into my head.
Siena Severino is a student at Parsons in New York City, majoring in journalism with a minor in fashion communications. She intends to continue writing articles, along with studying all areas of fashion design.