Ginger MacKenzie

Ginger MacKenzie
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Texas-born Ginger Mackenzie’s music invokes the spirit of wide-open spaces and those individuals that inhabit them. The years she spent as a child on the Lakota Nation reservation in South Dakota influenced this expanse in her songwriting. “It was a very stimulating place,” Ginger recalls. “There were so many characters living around us, so there was always some sort of high drama going on.” But when her father became frustrated with his employer, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he moved his family to Ipswich, South Dakota, a very small, isolated town. Her primary memories of Ipswich are of being cold, bored, and in trouble, until the Christmas Day she received a stereo as a gift. This marked the start of Ginger’s habit of buying one record a week from the drugstore, the only source in town for music. She would learn it end to end and without radio or MTV, this became her musical self-education. Ginger took home Jimi Hendrix, Patsy Cline, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, big bands, and the Beatles, among others. “My vocal coaches ended up being Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell and my aunt. My aunt sang with Tommy Dorsey and I listened to her records for hours on end until I could sing all the songs the way she did. And my mother taught me how to play the ragtime classics on piano; I still remember most of them.” At 15, Ginger realized her spirit was being confined by Ipswich, so she boarded a Greyhound bus back to Texas, and moved in with her aunt. This marks the beginning of frustrating dual existence for her: living the life of an artist by night, and working within the music industry by day. She began singing professionally with a variety of bands, acting in the theater, and working as a disc jockey. Ginger eventually built a successful career in radio promotion for major labels, but this was not the career that could fulfill the needs of her spirit. Finally, the creative surroundings of life in Austin, Texas, gave Ginger the support and focus she needed to write and play full time. In 1997 Ginger Mackenzie recorded her debut solo album for Earthnoise records, Earthbound, a bright mosaic of original songs. Released in February 1998, over 3,000 copies of this record were sold in Austin during 1998. It received airplay on Austin’s Mix 94.7, KGSR, KUT, and KROX. This energetic independently released album, along with the buzz on Ginger’s live shows and television appearances, grabbed the attention of Atlantic Records. After seeing her open for Edwin McCain, Lava/Atlantic’s Jason Flom offered Ginger a development deal. Since Earthbound had been recorded in her flight path home while planes landed in the background, Ginger decided to use Lava/Atlantic’s support to re-record five of the songs from this album and also to record five fresh songs. The new pieces were primarily composed on the piano, a departure from the guitar base of Ginger’s earlier work. The sparkling new album, to be released in March, 1999, is titled Kismet, another word for destiny. This seems an appropriate title for a work that is poised to deliver Ginger to her destiny as a songwriter and performer. Each song in this collection contributes a different facet to her view of life. “I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can really bare my soul is through music,” Ginger says. “It is teaching me to be more expressive and not to be afraid of being human. Besides, writing songs is cheaper than therapy.” All that “therapy” paid off once again when she entered the Austin Songwriters Group-sponsored Song Competition 1998 and took home six awards, including First, Second and Third prizes in the Pop category and the grand prize, Best Overall, for the song “Garden of You and I,” which is the first single off Kismet. In the previous year, Ginger took home more prizes in Song Competition 1997 than any individual had ever won in the contest’s nine-year history. Invested in all of Ginger’s songs is an encompassing spirit that interconnects human emotions and experiences. This is her strength and her goal, unification through music. She finds time to interconnect further by doing the occasional VJ stint on the Austin Music Network, and fill in DJ-ing on the morning at The Mix Morning Show. With such boundless energy, an undeniable songwriting talent and a voice that evokes the sound of a clear waterfall leaping earthward, Ginger is a building force about to become a tidal wave.
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Average Rating : 5              Total Reviews: 1

Ginger MacKenzie  08/25/2003            
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