By DONNA BALANCIA
Mackenzie Nicole said now more than ever it’s vital to push on through the tough times.
It’s part of her credo at this point, and the pop star sat down to talk to California Rocker about her new album, Mystic, motivation, and mental health. Check out the California Rocker interview on Soundcloud.
CR: Can you tell us about the meaning of your new album Mystic?
MN: Mystic is a concept album in three parts chronicling my experience with mental illness and wellness. During the first six months of 2018, I underwent a severe mental breakdown, a disastrous period over which I developed a very high-risk, self-destructive lifestyle and nearly took my life on several occasions.
The breakdown culminated in June of 2018 with my decision to visit a psychiatrist, getting diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder, and beginning the process of recovery. This process included a life-saving cocktail of psychiatric medications and therapy sessions with my psychiatrist at least once a week, among other important changes. Come fall of 2018, a few months into my recovery, I had a responsibility to record an album. At a time when I felt my breakdown defined me, what else could I possibly write about? I immediately began recording the project that would later become Mystic.
Listen to the California Rocker Interview here:
CR: How is the album planned out?
MN: The album is divided into three parts to represent the stages of tribulation, transition, and triumph as I endured them from breakdown to recovery. The first chapter is called The Rabbit Hole, and it is about my absolute rock bottom. In it, I detail abusive relationships with self and others. The second chapter is called Purgatory, and it is about the metamorphosis from suffering to survival. In it, I describe the acknowledgement and self-awareness of one’s condition and the choice to change it. The third chapter is called Oxygen, and it is about making it to “the other side”, whatever that means. In it, I discuss the ongoing process of recovery.
CR: What direction are you taking with the music these days?
MN: With my prior single “Complications” and, now, Mystic, I finally have full creative control and am making the music I want to make without the influence or restrictions of others. Strange Music’s in-house producer and my personal mentor / hero Michael “Seven” Summers and I just got together and got to make whatever we wanted. We didn’t have to adhere to a certain sound or genre, and the product is an album that really transcends genre and conformity. I don’t really have any one direction. Right now, my focus is just getting weird, experimenting, and making good art. Everything else is secondary.
What is coming up for you in lieu of touring?
I was supposed to be on tour for six weeks right now with an amazing organization called High School Nation, but that got postponed for now (thanks, corona). It looks like I won’t be going out again until the fall or whenever this coronavirus business clears up. So, in other words, touring for me (as is the case with most artists right now) is kind of up in the air.
What advice do you give others?
Mystic, as I’ve stated many times, is about mental illness and wellness. After going through what I went through, I implore those who are in the darkness to seek the light, even though it may seem nonexistent. You are not the special case that cannot be solved. As they say, if you’re going through hell, keep going. There are people and things out there that can help you, and if they aren’t in your immediate vicinity, you must keep searching until you find them. I know it is difficult and often seems virtually impossible, to say the least, but I promise you can make it. I am proof. You deserve happiness. I believe in you. I am proud of you. For those who may not be suffering right now, be patient with those who are. We are trying. Overall, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.