Lerchen has always had a passion for music, ever since an early age but it wasn't until she discovered the violin that her passion started to fully develop.
"I've always loved music, but my first memory of wanting to be a musician was inspired from a classical concert my parents took me to one summer at the Interlochen Center for Arts when I was young. It wasn’t long after I began playing the violin that I realized I had finally found something that clicked with my interests and my talent. It was always exciting to play, and practicing never seemed like a task," said Lerchen.
Lerchen has taken her musical strengths into many genres here in Michigan, from classical to country. If you aren't already familiar with Mackenize Lerchen, you can bet by the end of 2013 she will have officially made her mark on the Michigan music industry and you will know her name.
I had the chance to interview Mackenize Lerchen, we discussed everything from her multiple musical projects to how she feels social media has changed the music scene here in Michigan. The entire interview is below.
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C: When did you first discover your passion for music?
M: I've always loved music, but my first memory of wanting to be a musician was inspired from a classical concert my parents took me to one summer at the Interlochen Center for Arts when I was young.
It wasn’t long after I began playing the violin that I realized I had finally found something that clicked with my interests and my talent. It was always exciting to play, and practicing never seemed like a task.
C: What would you consider to be some of your most notable music influences at a younger age?
M: I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a music-thriving community (Saline, MI). The majority of students in Saline from fifth through twelfth grade are involved in band, orchestra or choir. I had countless opportunities to play and took as many as I could. ...not much has changed! I played with the school orchestras, pit orchestras for musicals, the University of Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra, and most notably, I was a member of the Saline Fiddler's Philharmonic. It was impossible to not have a blast playing with the Fiddler's, with our busy gig schedule that took us to special events, like President Bush's Inaugural Ball (2000), opening and playing with national artists, and several opportunities to travel all over the world.
My teachers also had a strong influence on my music career. Bob Phillips was my orchestra teacher from elementary through high school. He was also the founder and director of the Saline Fiddler's Philharmonic. He taught music with a fun, easy-to-understand method. He also gave all string students the opportunity to learn both classical and fiddle music...which gave me an appreciation for a variety of styles, and have led me to where I stand as a musician today. My private teachers (Pamela Stuckey of the Toledo Symphony; Hollis Bauman; Paula Elliott of the Ann Arbor Symphony) all supported and encouraged me to continue playing and take my music career to the next step.
C: In a few words, how would you describe the band's musical sound?
M: I play in several different groups, which gives me the opportunity to play several styles.
My calendar is full of gigs with the Scott Thompson Band, which prides itself for playing “Country: The Way It Should Be.” The band plays a mix of popular country hits (both recent and traditional) and original songs. The group has an exciting list of upcoming shows this summer and will be sharing the stage with national acts such as Toby Keith, Justin Moore and Josh Thompson.
Our band will be playing at the Whiskey Barrel in East Lansing on February 15-16.
Devil’s Dream; This trio is comprised of two violins and guitar that play acoustic jams and shows. We play a mix of traditional bluegrass and Celtic tunes. Recently, we have focused on recording an album of original tunes composed by Bert Stein (fiddle).
We are excited to premier our album at a CD Release Party on Sunday, March 3rd at a café (Goldfish Tea) in Royal Oak, MI.
The Bluewater Kings Band is composed of a pool of musicians from the Detroit area that play for weddings and corporate events. This group gives me the opportunity to tap into two other styles of music – classical (for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours) and pop/rock (for receptions and events).
I've also recently been invited to play with an Americana group called The Flutter and Wow. This band has a mix of very talented musicians featuring Tasha Lord on vocals. Bouncing between original tunes and classic hits, this group gives me the chance to play a ton of great music that is unique from my other music settings.
C: What musical influences do you pull from when you are performing or writing music?
M: Alison Krauss has been my most significant inspiration. She’s influenced me with her multiple talents of singing, fiddling and performing. I’ve always loved the style of her music and I’ve strived to become a player of her caliber. I also have an appreciation for the expression and tone that she pulls from her instrument.
C: You are going quite a large following in the Midwest, what was the process of coming up in the industry like?
M: Both challenging and exciting. It is a ton of work that requires a lot of practicing, networking and a dedication to succeed. Every opportunity needs to be taken seriously but should also be fun…after all, that’s what it’s all about!
C: How would you describe the Midwest music scene?
M: Musicians in general, but especially in the Midwest, are all about supporting each other. It’s like a big group of friends that all do the same thing for fun.
C: How do you feel social media has helped and will continue to help your career?
M: Social media has been a huge support to my music career! I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’ve connected with a lot of musicians through facebook that have then turned into friendships and bandmates. Social media sites make it easy to promote shows and keep in touch with fans.
C: What does your future hold?
M: I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop playing. My goal is to make music my career and be able to support a healthy lifestyle (i.e., not the starving musician stereotype). It’d be great to maintain a balance between gigs, jams, studio sessions and other music-related engagements.
I look forward to a year of amazing opportunities and shows all over the Midwest.