When does a musician finally hit upon his or her particular “sound”? For some, it bursts forth from their body fully formed; for others, it takes months or sometimes years of trial-and-error. For Mackenzie Scott, the singer-songwriter from Nashville who performs under the name Torres, the foundation and framework of her distinctive sound were already in place but it just needed that one crucial final piece: an electric guitar.
Listen to her self-titled debut album and you’ll hear just how crucial that instrument is to her songs now. The delicacy and intimacy that was born from acoustic roots are still there, but now that she’s fully plugged in, her music has intensified, with deeper shades of darkness creeping into the mix.
We caught up with Mackenzie Scott of Torres to talk about the new album, her musical influences and her exciting plans for the rest of the year! Check it out!
Who or what inspired you to become a musician?
It was a combination of a lot of influences along the way, but I would say seeing the Phantom of the Opera when I was fourteen. I was obsessed with the movie. It is still my favorite musical. It was my introduction into the world of singing.
Who are some of your greatest musical influences?
Brandi Carlile is my real big one. She has been my favorite for years now.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing your songs?
Usually it’s just something that I feel is really pressing. It’s usually something that is weighing on me so heavily that I have to write it down so I can flush it out. It’s really a self exploratory process and whenever it becomes a song that I start playing in front of people it becomes a process that is projected outward rather than inward.
Where does the name Torres come from?
Torres was my grandfather’s last name. It’s a name that means a lot to me and it’s my opportunity to carry on both sides of my family’s name.
Do you remember the first gig you ever attended?
Probably Collective Soul with Lifehouse. At the time, I was in middle school and Lifehouse was my favorite band.
What is your dream lineup? Venue?
My dream venue is the Red Rocks Amphitheater. That is the ultimate. It’s just magical. The lineup would have to include a number of people, it would probably include Brandi Carlile, St. Vincent, Johnny Cash, I would bring him back for the show, Ryan Adams, Joan Jett and Fleetwood Mac.
When your playing a show, how do you connect with a crowd?
A couple things, I’m all in to making it a point to be extremely honest and transparent with the audience I’m playing for. That can be really difficult a lot of times, but stripping yourself emotionally for an audience always translates if you are doing it honestly. The other thing is just reading the crowd that I’m performing in front of. I tailor my set to ride that wave whatever it is.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013?
I’m moving to Brooklyn! I’m really excited, besides touring, it’s my big thing this year. I love the city and the chaos. It’s one of those things that everybody talks about having to try, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m just going to go for it.
Make sure to catch Mackenzie Scott of Torres playing at The EARL this Friday, May 10!