The strange states we find ourselves in while growing are where Nicky MacKenzie’s soulful new EP MORALS was born. Leaving behind the safe familiarity of adolescence, MORALS is an exploration of the emotional landscape the 23-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter has traversed in the years since her debut album, 2018’s Honeydew. In that time, MacKenzie has left her hometown, navigated shifting relationships, graced the stages of huge festivals, and played intimate shows. In the background, she’s worked on new collaborations and participated in prestigious songwriting workshops, constantly pushing the boundaries of her artistry. The tracks on MORALS are a record of this growth.
Growing up in a small island community off the coast of British Columbia encouraged MacKenzie to focus on the arts at a young age, starting with piano at age seven. Afternoons spent at her mother’s music store allowed Nicky to experiment with different instruments: drums, violin, and harp were all tried out before she found guitar at age ten. She taught herself some chords, wrote her first song, and never looked back. Early exposure to a diversity of genres – from classic rock to film scores to the legends of Motown – gives MacKenzie a musical dexterity well beyond her years, her sound seamlessly blends old-school soul with modern pop sensibilities.
On MORALS, MacKenzie’s commanding vocals weave into hypnotic R&B melodies, drawing inspiration from the likes of Charlotte Day Wilson, Daniel Caesar, and Hozier. Adding layers to Nicky’s vision is LA-based production duo Likeminds, who infused the EP with body-moving synths and percussion. The EP moves from the quiet, introspective crackle of “Lost and Found” to powerhouse pop offerings like “I Should Go” and “No Man’s Land,” a dynamic, Dua Lipa-esque ride erupting with vibrant brass. Tracks “Grown” and “Comfortable” examine the space between adolescence and young adulthood, questioning what it will feel like to finally arrive in a place of self-reliance.
MORALS establishes MacKenzie as a gifted songwriter capable of both hauntingly poignant restraint and irresistibly catchy pop melodies. By focusing on the universalities that shape us—breakups, self-doubt, nights out—Nicky leaves space for her audience to unpack their own experiences. There is both grit and grandeur on MORALS, showcasing Nicky’s indelible talent for crafting soul-moving songs that linger in the heart, body, and mind.
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