Words by Amiyah Golden
College student by day.
Makeup artist and hairstylist on occasion.
Talented artist 24/7.
Mackenzie Connoway, preferably known as Kenzie of “Kenzie’s Place,” is a true example of a girl boss, who just so happens to make soulful ballads in her limited free time.
The Jacksonville native recognized she liked performing after a solo chorus audition in middle school. This catalyzed Kenzie into the possibility of being a singer. But 2019 was when Kenzie realized this was her dream.
“I felt like my world was kind of crumbling, and I felt like I had no control over anything in my life. Everyone was telling me to find something realistic to do career-wise, and that’s why I always fell back on doing what I love to do,” Kenzie said. “… and then I realized…don’t listen to them and just do it anyway.”
With this revelation, Kenzie’s first album, “Kenzie’s Place,” was born. The 12-track album exudes neo-soul influence with the added flair of her unique enchanting vocals. With “11:11” being my favorite song off of the album (as well as one of Kenzie’s), each song shines a light on the place Kenzie created for herself as well as her fans. “Kenzie’s Place” is more than a self-titled album but also a metaphor for a space of freedom.
“Kenzie’s Place is something I can control; this is my place. Whatever I say goes,” Kenzie said, “to create a place of vulnerability for not only myself but for my listeners.”
Heartbreak is also noted as a big inspiration for the release of her debut album.
“[I was] putting that pain into something,” she said.
While R&B is her expertise, Kenzie plans to break through into other genres, stating the desire to write a country song and having a few unreleased alternative records (which I have heard and they rock — literally.) With talent that knows no bounds, Kenzie is working overtime to become a household name but maybe not in the way you imagine.
“I don’t want to be a mainstream artist. I want to stay underground because I feel like you cherish those artists more for being who they are,” she said.”I don’t want to have to do too much to be recognized as an artist. I want to be an artist that is cherished.”
Kenzie emphasizes the wish to be known for her artistry, alluding to notable artists such as Erykah Badu and Cleo Sol.
As Kenzie continues to emerge into the Jacksonville art scene and beyond, she has recently announced the dates for her first tour with fellow Jacksonville rapper Kale.
The pair met at an event last November with Kenzie singing background vocals for a show Kale was headlining. The two were met with considerate praise after the performance, prompting them to work together, leading to their current self-titled tour.
The two have five shows coming up in Jacksonville for June, with the opportunity to open for Grammy-nominated artist and producer, Toro y Moi at The Walrus on June 14.
To check out additional shows and music, you can find them on their respective social media/streaming platforms.
Spotify: KALE THAT RAPS