Makayla Lynn is on an accelerated academic path, but the rest of her life is moving along at a pretty good clip, too.
The 16-year-old from Elmsdale is keen to soon wrap up high school, getting a year’s head start on her blossoming country music career.
“It is a balance, and I still go full time to public school,” the Hants East Rural High student said during a phone interview.
“I’m very excited to graduate because then I will be able to spend 100 per cent of my attention on music and my career and touring and writing.”
Makayla has been a regular for years at crowded events like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, but she’ll be performing in a cosier space on Neptune Theatre’s Scotiabank Stage in Halifax for a series of shows from Jan. 18-21, with evening shows Thursday through Saturday, and 4 p.m. shows Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets for Makayla Lynn Brings Nashville to Nova Scotia start at $32. They can be purchased at neptunetheatre.com/makaylalynn, by calling 902-429-7070 or 1-800-565-7345, or at Neptune’s box office on Argyle Street.
They’re going to be full-band shows but with a mood designed for a soft-seat venue.
“The vibe for the show we’re hoping to create is kind of a listening room, very vintage, eclectic,” said Makayla.
“It’s going to be neat to talk and explain thestories behind the songs and explain differentthings that are going on with the musicians.
I’m hoping for it to be very relaxed and laid-back, kind of a very intimate audience show.”
The pace of her career has been picking up. Makayla received the country recording of the year honour from Music Nova Scotia for her most recent album, On a Dare and a Prayer, released last March. She co-produced the album in Nashville with Smith Curry, who will be heading north to play this week’s shows with her.
In August, she was named one of the new country artists you need to know by RollingStone.com. In 2014, she had ECMA nominations for rising star of the year and country album of the year for her previous record, Daydream.
Curry is a Nashville musician who has recorded and performed with some big names including Jason Aldean, Kid Rock and Big & Rich, and he played on Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album.
His range of experience would seem to give him some perspective about Makayla’s prospects.
“There are no inevitabilities in this business, but she is the closest thing that I have ever seen,” he said during a phone interview from Nashville.
“I’ve worked with over 100 signed artists at this point, and I’d put her up against just about anyof them as far as talent and motivation. . . . Other girls go to the mall on a Friday night. She’d rather fire up GarageBand on her laptop and crank out a couple of demos.”
Curry said Makayla has a natural maturity that separates her from a potentially crowded pack of teen recording artists.
“Especially after Taylor Swift’s success, you saw people bringing 15-year-old girls to town from all over the country and all over the world. . . . I don’t want people thinking she’s good for a 16-year-old. She doesn’t look it, she doesn’t sound like it and she doesn’t act like it.”
For instance, not many members of her peer group are frequent flyers between
Nova Scotia and Nashville. She’s been writing with lots of established tunesmiths in Music City, including a productive session a couple of months ago with Cape Breton native Gordie Sampson.
“I’ve always wanted to write with him,” she said.
“We’ve kind of been friends and crossed paths here and there throughout the last few years. We have a song written together and I think we’ll be demoing it in the next couple of weeks maybe.”