Transcript with Mackenzie Green - The New Power Generation (Music Inisight)
Featured Image - Mackenzie Green. Picture: Corey Falkenthaul
I got the chance to interview Morris Hayes and Mackenzie Green for Music Insight on the New Power Generation, what it was like to be with Prince, what their plans are for the future, and their upcoming tour of Australia.
You can check out the article here.
There was so many amazing moments from the interview that unfortunately had to be left out. Chatting to these guys was absolutely unbelievable, and I'm still pinching myself that I got the chance to do it.
Below is the transcript I had with Mackenzie Green, which later was put into the article for Music Insight.
Nick: Now you’re about to go out on the road, how do you feel now you’re close to getting the ball rolling and going on tour?
Mackenzie: You know, it's a lot of mixed emotions. I am a newcomer to the band, so we're doing these shows to keep the music to keep the legend of Prince alive and pay homage to him and the best way we know how it is on stage. So, you have all of that pressure, but its coupled with excitement,a little bit of freaking out cause I'm looking around stage and I'm surrounded by all these incredible musicians and legends that played with Prince. We are really happy with the responses that we've gotten so far just from the fans over in Australia. It’s a lot of mixed emotions but they're all good
Nick: What's the thing you enjoy most about putting the whole show together? I’ve seen all the stuff that the new power generation to be putting up about the rehearsals, and it looks like a really relax kind of vibe. With working behind the scenes, what's the thing you most enjoy with Prince’s backing band?
Mackenzie: Oh well, it would have to be multiple things. I was unfortunate in that I never got the chance to meet him but I've been blessed in this situation to get to talk to people who he considered brothers. I'm getting a lot of behind the scenes stories and learning a lot. Between the stories and just getting the knowledge from people who have been doing this for twenty plus years now has been the most exciting thing. I've been performing and singing professionally since I was 18, I've been singing my whole life but I've never been on stage like this. To get this type of training, this type of exposure to this type of wisdom, and this type of knowledge, you are most excited about learning and I'm most excited about being able to travel the world with these guys. I mean, I've never been to Australia. I'm very excited about that.
Nick: So was Prince a big influence for you? Wish it was his influence where your passion for music began?
Mackenzie: yeah, it's a funny story that. He's definitely one that I can consider a mentor but he wasn't there at the beginning. I was raised in a Southern Baptist in Northern Virginia, so his music was more or less taboo as far as my parents were concerned. I wasn't allowed to listen to Prince or anything that wasn't part of the gospel as a kid. So, I didn't really get to dive into his catalogue until I left home and really started my musical studies and my career, but I do remember about sneaking into the big walk in closet that I had as a kid. I would take my parents records they used to listen to before they had kids, and Prince was stuck in there but between The Temptations and Michael Jackson, and a bunch of other great musicians. I think the first record I ever heard of his was probably Purple Rain and I just remember, even at an early age of not understanding what he was necessarily talking about just feeling the freedom in his music. So, I definitely say that he inspired me to be comfortable with being a creative. As creatives we are looked upon as weirdos, we don't really fit into the norms of society because we tend to see the world through a different lens, and Prince was someone who you can feel, and made me feel comfortable just being myself.
Nick: the thing I love about Princes’ music is, He's theatricality his stage presence everything the rules do not matter.
Mackenzie: That was the main rule. The main rule was there was no rules. I think from driving into the mans’ catalogue, which I've been able to do now is exactly that: you've got to be free if you want to do this at that level, if you want to tap into the creative space and really dig into who you are as a person, so you can show that to the rest of the world. You can't be restricted by what someone else might think.
Nick: First time I got in touch with him was the Superbowl show, and I was chatting to Morris about it and with that show, it was just the way he commanded that stage, and the way the rain was pouring down and it when he played ‘Purple Rain’, just thought ‘wow’. And also, just before the show how the organisers was saying to him ‘I just want to let you know that it was raining’, it's the first time it's rained at a Super Bowl, and his response was ‘can you make rain harder?’ That's the kind of attitude that you want to see: it's inspiring to see that kind of attitude, and that kind of approach, not just to music but the way he did everything. He wasn’t promoting himself, he was just making music…
Mackenzie: He wasn't just making music, he was making moments. Cause we're sitting here talking about that show right now, and it's was that good, it was over a decade ago and we're still talking about it like it was yesterday, because it was that beautiful moment that showed who he was as an artist. He was willing to be as authentic, and as honest in himself. He was unapologetically Prince.
Nick: How are you going to translate that theatricality into the live show now, because you've got life dancers and other elements. What's the main ways that will see that theatricality into the live show?
Mackenzie: You know, I think one of the best things about this situation, obviously with me being one of the newcomers, we have the incredible band, and we’re surrounded by fantastic people, they've given me leeway to be myself. That's the only way that you can do this, [because] there will never be another Prince. They didn't ask me to come in to impersonate him, they didn’t asked me to don purple garments and pretend to be him. They asked me to be myself, and that's the only way that you can bring anything even remotely close to that.
Nick: You mentioned this is the first time that you're coming to Australia. What's the thing you’re most looking forward to about performing in Australia? You’re performing at Bluesfest and then you're also playing a lot of other venues as well like the Enmore and in Melbourne; what are you looking most forward to about playing down here?
Mackenzie: I think it's the opportunity to be in front of his fans. Like I said, I was unfortunate that I never got the chance to meet him, but to be able to say thank you on stage and in front of his fans, I think that's what I'm looking forward to. I want to meet everybody, I want to shake people's hands. I got with the band for the first time this past February in his hometown and we played the Super Bowl show, and we played some shows at the Dakota which is a venue that he frequented; and it was great to meet the fans and hear the stories. To have people come up and shake my hand and say just a little bit about their first time meeting Prince, that's been the most exciting thing. The thing that I'm looking forward to the most is meeting people that he touched, and try my most hardest and my best to bring them somewhere closer to the emotions that he brought to them.
Nick: One of the great things about him is that his music was worldwide, there was no one who could be excluded from it. It showed how far his music stretched, and I think fans will absolutely love this show. For you and all the performers, these songs have a lot more meaning because the band knew him personally, and you mentioned it had such huge influence in the song that you’ve put your own meeting on those songs. What are the thoughts that are going through your head when you go on stage? Morris talked a lot about how it felt like a release and a chance to be himself. Would you say that would be similar for you?
Mackenzie: I think it's absolutely that. I'm getting the opportunity to say thank you to him the only way I know how, which is to doing his music and his legacy justice the best way I know how. It’s almost as if he's reaching from the beyond, and bringing something else to them. That was something he was known for, finding younger talent and introducing him to the world; whether it was this band or whether it was anyone else. I think being on stage, in soaking up the excitement and the energy from the crowd, and… living in the Purple Rain, I think that all of those things, it's too hard to put in one word. It's just all these different things brought together. I'm just really looking forward to the opportunity to become a better musician because of what I'm surrounded by, which is his legacy. The New Power Generation was put together by him and it was raised by him, and just getting the chance to sit at the genius’s feet … I'm getting to learn from those same people. I think that's the most exciting part about it for me, just getting the opportunity to grow in a way that you can't any other way. You learn some things in elementary, then more stuff in high school, and then you learn certain things at college. This feels like a graduation to me. What Morris said, I really agree with that. It's a release. I'm always mindful of that whenever I'm on stage with these guys, and what this feels like for them to continue to play these songs. But then, you’ve got this new guy up there, but I look around and I see everybody smiling, and I think these shows in some ways is part of the grieving process, and that's it’s just exciting to be a part of that and to get an opportunity to have a hands at the influence of his legacy.
Nick: It's not also just not just remember. it's also celebrating the artists legacy. Just what he gave to us…
Mackenzie: When I said that he's feel ok being myself, I'm not the only person who felt like that. I realise that the more I encounter his loyal fans on social media and live, it shows Facebook, Instagram and you see all these people, and you to think yourself ‘well, he set them free..’ well, it's ok to be you, it's ok to be is incredibly unique as you are. I think that's what it is. It's a celebration of our uniqueness, a celebration about individuality as a collective, and there's a lot of power in that.
Nick: One last thing. what do you want fans take away from the show? what's the big personal goals that you hope but you want fans to take away from seeing you guys?
Mackenzie: I'd say two things for me personally. It's my own personal thank you for me to Prince because I didn't get to do it in person. I'm not trying to impersonate him, because I can't. I'm not trying to imitate him, because I won’t. But I will do everything I can to honour the legacy that is Prince Rogers Nelson. I want them to grasp it that I want them to see into my heart, and see that I'm grateful for the opportunity to be in front of them and for the opportunity to share this man's music and to continue to do that. Like I said, this is my thank you and as far as the bands concerned without talking to all them, I would have to say that this is a celebration of the most incredible artist that the world has ever seen.