On last week’s Make Or Break: The Linda Perry Project, Linda asked another young musician to leave the house. Like Noah Hunt before her, Mackenzie Johnson was always at odds with Linda’s directness whether when busking on the street or playing an acoustic set in the living room.
VH1 had a chat with Mackenzie about whether she saw her exit coming, what Linda is really like and who she’s rooting for her in the house.
What was the experience like living in a house with such a diverse group of musicians?
Mackenzie: It was actually really, really cool. There were so many different types of us and we all have different backgrounds. And we’re all at different points in our careers. It was interesting to see how different artists work and tick. We’re all living music.
Did you sense that you were going to be asked to leave the Make Or Break house? Or did that take you by surprise?
Mackenzie: You know, how you have this kind of gut feeling? Going into the house I didn’t know that [people being eliminated] was going to be something that was happening. “Cut,” so to speak. I think it became apparent early on that it wasn’t the right fit.
Who are you rooting for to make it in the end to work with Linda on their album? Who were you closest with?
Mackenzie: The first person that I connected with in the house was Garbiel [Mayers]. The whole experience itself was kind of intimidating, kind of unfamiliar and I was looking for that comfort, and I found that in Gabriel. He is such a positive energy plus he’s really talented. Since the show, I’ve become quite close with Jess from VanJess and Noah Hunt.
What was it like really working so hands-on with Linda? What’s her style like
Mackenzie: It was intense. I never met anyone like Linda before who was all out on the table. It was eye opening for me to see somebody else’s creative process. Hers is a lot different than what I would generally use. It’s not exactly the way I go about doing things. I would say it was pretty intense and emotional a lot. Just, a lot, is the best way to sum it up.
What was going through your head when Linda was telling you to scream?! Could you really not give her the yell that she wanted?
Mackenzie: I think the thing was, when she asked me to scream that day. That’s not really how I outlet my emotions. I physically cannot scream the way Linda does. She has this far reach and sort of reverberates off the walls. I think that comes back to that thing she was trying to get out of me that wasn’t there.
What’s life like for Mackenzie Johnson since Make Or Break ended? What can we expect next from you as an artist?
Mackenzie: I’ve been grinding away and doing my thing. I write and perform constantly. I’m slowly but surely recording this EP. I “YouTube” pretty much weekly. I have a pretty devoted fan base on YouTube.
Whose career inspires you, Mackenzie? Whose career would you love to model?
Mackenzie: I really look up to Sara Bareilles. I think she’s skillful in all she does. I admire how she has these pop hits but they have substance. They’re these incredibly written pieces of music. I feel she’s humble and even though she has this insane career she’s still grounded. It’s not explosive crazy fame but it’s just the right amount to be happy and do what you want. That’s ultimately what I want. I don’t need a “bajillion” fans but I just need to be able to do this and make a living and be happy.
Tune into an all new episode of Make Or Break: The Linda Perry Project Wednesday night at 11 PM ET/PT.