For Kaylan Mackinnon, it all started with a bedroom floor and a country classic.
You could definitely say Im a country girl at heart. I may not be pursing country music, but my two sisters and I grew up riding horses and loved singing along to Shania Twain.
Growing up in the Ontario countryside, the affinity for some wholesome twang was no surprise, and by age 15 Mackinnon was fully immersed in music, writing songs on her bedroom floor and continuing the classical voice lessons she had started at the age 13. From there, it was only a matter of time before she found a voice of her own, and began pursing her own style of music.
I started writing my own songs shortly after I began vocal lessons, along with my own YouTube channel, which within a year attracted 30,000 followers.
Her first major exposure came at 18, when she was nominated for the Toronto International Music Awards Best Young Songwriter award by a panel of judges (including Juno-nominated singer- songwriter Jully Black) for her original song Remember Me. She then started working with former NEVEREST band member, Mike Klose, who is now a Toronto-based producer. Together, they released Mackinnon's first single titled Down to You in the summer of 2013, which received high praise from her supporters.
The next year, Mackinnon placed as one of the Top 10 musicians for the worldwide Hard Rock Rising Contest in March of 2014, where she was flown to perform at the famous Hard Rock Cafe in the heart of downtown Toronto. Just months later, she was accepted into the 2014 Canadian Music Week Festival, where she had the opportunity to perform at the Cadillac Lounge in Toronto, and attend conferences, as well as learn and network with industry professionals.
It was an incredible experience and I hope to play at more festivals in the future.
Near the end of 2014, Mackinnon teamed up with producer-writer and owner of Vancity Records Jordy Birch and together had their song titled I'm the Captain featured in the VIFF and TIFF independent feature film Preggoland.
At the end of summer 2015 Mackinnon was contacted by Soul Surfer director/producer Sean McNamara to use her original song Espresso Kiss in the Hallmark feature film Just in Time for Christmas starring Eloise Mumford, William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd, which is now available on DVD.
The movie Soul Surfer is one of my favourite films, so being able to have a song of mine placed in a film that one of my favourite directors worked on was incredible. Im still in shock and am very thankful for the opportunity.
Today, Mackinnon continues to study towards her degree at the University of British Columbia, while also working in the studio for an upcoming album, to be released later in 2016.