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Meet Mackenzie Howe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mackenzie Howe.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up with a single mother in the San Fernando Valley and attended Waldorf school pre-k through 12th grade. After I attended college in the San Gabriel Valley, I spent a year in Nepal but moved home only to finally admit to myself that all I’d ever actually wanted was to pursue music. Fast forward eight years of touring, recording, and performing in an indie band (the Wild Reeds), I am now 30, my band has come to a stand still and once again I’m faced with the fear that maybe I am STILL supposed to pursue music…alone. So I’ve launched my solo project Pet Dress. My first EP is coming out this spring, and until then I’m playing as many shows as possible.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Growing up without a father seemed normal at the time, however when my mom relapsed after ten years of sobriety, my whole adolescence was turned upside down. I was passed around between friend’s homes and I believe that gave me a unique perspective at a very young age, but the subsequent effects of childhood trauma like that have been my greatest hurdle in my adulthood. That explains much of the content of my songwriting.

Seven years of touring was incredible but also did not afford me stability and I often found myself in survival mode, trying to physically and mentally stop spinning for one second on what felt like a never ending carousel. Being in a band with three front-women is one of the greatest joys and accomplishments of my life, and it’s also as complicated as it sounds. We’ve always fought against our own instincts for security or power because we believe in being examples of what it can look like when women share the spotlight and empower each other. But that fight is tiring, and as that project is no longer what consumes all of my time, I’m faced with so many questions about whether it is selfish to pursue music as a solo artist, whether the music industry is even something I want to be involved in, and whether you choose a creative path or whether it chooses you…I don’t know but I’m carrying on anyhow.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I can’t say that being a songwriter or performer is a company but it can often feel like a small business. You find creative ways to supplement your income. I sell vintage clothes online and work for my mother’s business when I can. As far as what I feel like I do best? Attempt to create honest music, and perform with gusto. I believe that if the process of creating is cathartic for me, hopefully the product will be cathartic for others. The same goes for performing, I try to lose myself on stage in hopes that it helps the audience lose themselves for a moment as well. I aim to inspire and to poke fun at life.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
After chasing success in the music industry for eight years, I’ve found more joy and fulfillment in slow living than I ever did chasing affirmation. The fiscal success I hope to experience as a musician is really just being able to live simply and comfortably because I feel like in terms of love in my life, I am rich. Honesty in what you bring to the table, be it in your art or your product is always going to speak to the consumer. That is what’s most important to my past success, my internal success and my future success; the personal is always the most universal and for me the personal is marrying the sadness and absurdity of life; finding ways to paint pictures with words so that others might feel more human, and less alone.

Contact Info:

  • Email: mackenziehowe@mac.com
  • Instagram: @pet_dress_
  • Twitter: @petdress4u


Image Credit:

Grady Wenrich, Kendall Rock, Brittany Damico, Angie Lipscomb

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