Encore: Mackenzie Carpenter

The first song you learnt all the words to? 


I think it was this song called ‘When I Call On Jesus’. I can’t even remember who sang it but I used to belt that song out in my car. It was either that or Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’. 


A song that makes you think of touring? 


Probably ‘Good Company’, because that is the song that I sang with Jake Owen on our first tour. So that song is constantly in my head. If I hear that music start playing, I have to run out there and get to the stage. 


A live show that changed your life? 


Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood when they were doing a tour together. That was the first big concert that I saw. That was when I thought, Wait, how do I do that? My dad took me to that concert, we have a picture in our house with the tour bus. So it’s just like a really core memory. 


A song that reminds you of growing up? 


That Ed Sheeran song, ‘Castle on the Hill’. When I was in college, every time I would go home, I would turn on that song. It was just the best song to listen to on a road trip. It just feels like coming home.  


A song you can no longer listen to? 


Probably the first songs I ever wrote because they’re kind of cringey. 


An album that made you want to be a musician? 


Either Shania or Adele. 


Can you tell me the story behind ‘Jesus I’m Jealous’? 


I wrote this with another songwriter in Nashville named Steve Moakler. I had heard the phrase at some point, and I wrote it down. I was just playing around on my guitar, and started using that phrase, kind of like, as a prayer. I feel like I was at a time in my life where I had a lot of people around me that didn’t really feel like life was going the way that they thought it would. I’ve felt like that as well, not just about love, it can be about anything. You look at what somebody else has and you’re like, really, when I look back when I was little, I really thought that by now, I would have accomplished that. I was mellowing in that thought and I started writing the chorus. I went into a write with Steve that day and he really loved it and kind of helped me put it all together. The top line goes, is it okay to pray at a bar? And we were just like, well, even if someone’s not attracted to the title, hopefully when they hear that they’ll be intrigued enough to listen further. 


You also co-wrote a song that was quite a big, viral sensation last year with ‘Villain’. Tell me a little bit about how that collaboration came about and did you know that that song was going to have the impact that it did? 


Lily is from Athens and we had some mutual friends. Kyle Clark went to high school with my brother and we’re in a write and to this day, that is the only song that the three of us have ever written together. We were at the firehouse at Sony Music. I’m pretty sure Lily came in with the title and it was one of those things where I just kind of start riffing. If it’s good people get excited. And if it’s not, then it’s probably not going to be a good day. I actually had to leave like right before they recorded the work tape, which like, we didn’t have a producer in the room. So they were just like recording it on their phone. Kyle sang it, so we didn’t even know that Lily liked the song. Months later, Lily had gotten a demo from our other friend Matt and she had posted on TikTok, and she was texting us and she was like, Y’all, this song is like blowing up. She was kind of in that first, era of TikTok success. We didn’t even know that she had recorded the song but she says, is it okay if I release it? We’re like, yes, please. So I specifically remember going home and seeing my now fiancé and I said I can’t really tell if it’s like the best thing ever, or like the worst thing ever. But it was really special to be a part of. 

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