MacKenzie Porter is a multi-talented singer/songwriter and actress who is raking up an impressive list of accomplishments. As an actress, MacKenzie has joined the AMC Emmy nominated series Hell on Wheels as a series regular. She will be playing the role of Naomi Bohannon when the series returns with season 4 on August 2nd. After winning the Nashville North Star competition, her musical talents were thrown into the spotlight and MacKenzie has come a long way since then. She is not only gearing up to release her debut album on July 29th, but will also be going on tour and opening for Blake Shelton and Rascal Flatts.
We had the chance to chat with MacKenzie about all of the exciting things she has coming up.
Check out our exclusive interview with MacKenzie Porter below:
How did you get into acting? Has anyone inspired you in that area or is there anyone you’d love to work with someday?
I started taking film and TV acting classes at the age of 12. I begged my mom to find someone who could help me learn how to become an “actor”. We found an amazing coach. After a couple of years of training, she took me to Vancouver to sign with an agent (he is still my agent today.) I was very fortunate to find an incredibly supportive team which has been with me right from the start. I am inspired by so many different actors, directors and writers. I would die if I ever got the chance to work with Meryl Streep or Leonardo DiCaprio. I’d also die if I got to work with Ryan Gosling, but that’s a whole other story ;).
Can you talk a little about your character Naomi Bohannon that will be joining Hell On Wheels next season?
Naomi is a young Mormon girl who unexpectedly gets pregnant with Cullen Bohannon’s child. She ends up in a marriage that neither she nor Cullen expects or necessarily wants. Throughout season 4 you will see Naomi placed in many situations which force her to lose her naiveté and quickly mature beyond her years.
What can viewers expect from her when Hell On Wheels returns with season 4?
Living in Hell On Wheels is not an easy life..Naomi will be faced with many challenges as a pregnant young woman married to an extremely complex man she barely knows while trying to make a life in a rough and uncivilized part of the world.
How did you react when you found out you would be a series regular on an Emmy nominated series?
I got a call from my agent who also had my managers on the line. They said “Three words, HELL ON WHEELS.” I squealed like a little kid, did an awkward dance and then started crying.
It must be standard for you right now what with all the awards and recognition you have under your belt. Your music career is on the fast track to super stardom after winning the Nashville North Star competition and being nominated for a CCMA. What was going through your mind when you won the competition?
That was 3 years ago already!! I remember being ecstatic! I didn’t expect it to boost my career the way that it has. It’s really incredible how the ball just started rolling after that competition.
I guess it’s safe to say it doesn’t get old seeing your singles climbing the charts. And you have another amazing opportunity this Summer opening for The Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton! How excited were you when you found out? Were you a fan beforehand?
Huge fan beforehand. I found out on my way home from set. I was so excited… then instantly started worrying about scheduling conflicts. The producers of Hell On Wheels are huge supporters of my music career, so once they cleared me to go on tour, I got little girl giddy. I have a crush on Blake, but who doesn’t?
What can your fans look forward to from you on this Summer tour?
I just released my debut album so we are playing a lot of songs from it. I’m so excited to see how people respond to the new music.
As a songwriter, what were your inspirations for your album?
Lyrically the whole album was inspired by one relationship. There is a song called “Wherever you go” which I wrote at the beginning of the relationship, and a song called “Today Ain’t That Day” which I wrote at the end. Everything else I wrote in between.
As a classically trained violinist, what do you enjoy most about incorporating that distinct and unique sound into your music?
I think classical instruments always sound amazing in pop or country music. It’s different. I love writing musical hooks on the violin.
Has anyone influenced or inspired you as a musician and a songwriter?
I’m in love with Alanis Morissette.
Your talents are almost too long to list! How do you manage everything and do it so well?
There is always so much organization, scheduling and logistics. That is why it has to be a team effort! My wonderful, very competent and supportive team is a huge help allowing me to focus on the acting, singing and songwriting.
Finally, how has the fan support been? What else can they look forward to from you next?
I have amazingly supportive fans. Hopefully another album, another season of Hell On Wheels…and surprises for all of us along the way :):)
We’d like to thank MacKenzie Porter for taking the time to answer some questions for us! Be sure to check out her debut album when it is released on iTunes in July 29th.
You can also keep up to take with MacKenzie by following her on twitter @MacKenziePMusic.