Talented artist and writer, Mack Davis is our special guest this week. She is best known for the song “Issues” and has been featured by The Source.com and many more. We also had her perform at our anniversary concert this past April.
On this episode, Mack Davis shared details about her decision to drop out of university to pursue music. We talked about what that journey was, how writing got her into music, why female empowerment is really important to her, and so much more.
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Excerpts from our conversation.
Find Opportunities [02:30]
Chedo: Tell me about your upbringing. What was like growing in your household? How it led you to music?
Mack Davis: You wouldn’t probably predict from my household that I would ever get into music. My parents are pretty traditional in terms of what they expected of me. Everyone in my household went to U of T (University of Toronto). I went and I didn’t graduate. But, I grew up being on the honor roll. I always got straight A’s. I don’t think I really had any known talents other than being good at school. One thing I took from school was the writing. It was writing that got me into music. I wrote songs when I was 7 years old. I had a song book as soon as I learn to write.
Education is always very important in my family. I also put a lot of pressure for myself. I didn’t realize that music could be a realistic career. I thought I had to get these straight A’s like this is my only choice. Being on my own made me realize that there’s not just one path. There are different opportunities and I just got exposed to this whole other world. I felt like myself in that world.
Do your Research [30:30]
Chedo: I noticed the Toronto Arts Council. Artists have mixed feelings about grants because some of them will say, “I have applied this many times. I ain’t got sh*t.” You said it was your first time applying and you got it. What do you think you did right?
Mack Davis: I wrote tons of essays in my time in university. I am a strong writer. If you are not a strong writer, get someone who is. Different grants look for different things. I did my research. We are so lucky in Canada. There are so many resources for arts and people don’t know about them. I went to these grant-writing workshops. I took the time to speak to these people who look at the grants and ask them questions. It wasn’t a fluke.
I really put my effort. I had it edited. I had people read it over. I knew what I wanted to do with the money. If you can manage your own money they can trust you to manage their money. If you will apply for grants, have a purpose. Some grants wanted you to prove that you can sell records. So prove that you can sell records. Some grants wanted to know if you are gonna like do something to change the music community. I had done my research. Do your research. Don’t just cry because no one will hand you money for no reason.
Think of the Consequences [33:00]
Chedo: The EP called “Over the Influence”. What’s the meaning of the title? People say under the influence but over the influence?
Mack Davis: I wanted to play the drug metaphors. But, this is beyond drugs. I think anything can become a drug. Some people are addicted to food. Some people are addicted to love. The tile is about separating yourself from things that are consuming you and controlling your actions. A lot of people think that I chose that title to say, “Don’t be under the influence… Don’t drink.” It’s not about that.
We are such a drug-obsessed culture. I’m not saying that it is necessarily bad. People are not thinking of the consequences. I’m not trying to sound that I’m lecturing. But, there’s glamorization of it. Popping Xanax… For me, it really changes your mind state and puts you in a different place. If you are not aware of the effect, you will eventually spiral.