Coming on the heels of last month’s single/video “Putting Down Some Things,” Nashville-based singer, songwriter and musician MacKenzie Grant has shared the video for her cover of Joni Mitchell’s timeless 1994 single “Borderline” (from her Grammy Award-winning Turbulent Indigo album). This marks the second single from MacKenzie’s sophomore album WONDER WORLD, due March 18 via BlackBird Record Label. The video can be viewed here and was premiered yesterday (February 2) by Americana UK which noted that “Grant’s version of the song is beautiful; the exquisite melody is delivered in her clear, pure voice while Josh Kaler’s fine pedal steel flows beneath.”
The intimate “Borderline” video—praised by Americana UK as ““a clever concept for a video of a cover song, showing respect and love for the original”—was directed by MacKenzie and filmed by her husband Murrey Smith and takes viewers on a tour of the Woodbine/Glencliff neighborhoods in Nashville, TN, where MacKenzie resides. She is seen visiting her local record store, Phonolux, picking up a vinyl copy of Turbulent Indigo and taking it home to become fully absorbed in the song. Since Turbulent Indigo was never released on vinyl despite fan petitions, MacKenzie created a mock copy using the CD’s original artwork. She also referenced the CD’s artwork in the cover art for her single by replacing Joni’s image with a self-portrait, as seen above.
“I first heard Joni Mitchell’s ‘Borderline’ when I was a freshman in college,” says MacKenzie. “I was studying political science at the time and engaging with students and professors who all had strong opinions about the state of our world. This song hit me directly between the eyes in my own reckoning of personal beliefs and how we navigate relationships with others whose ideologies are different from our own. I kept returning to the idea that so many of our beliefs might make us feel righteous, they also immediately set up a dichotomy, a dividing line between you and others. ‘Borderline’ is about how we can lose sight of our common humanity when we align ourselves too stringently with our opinions and views. Turbulent Indigo is possibly my favorite Joni album and one that I think gets overlooked, even though it won a Grammy. I feel this song is as compelling and timely today as it was 28 years ago and wanted more people to know about it. But then that’s the magic and genius of Joni’s work; compelling and timeless.”
The WONDER WORLD album marks MacKenzie’s return to music after a 15-year break. Produced and engineered by Phil Dubnick, the album was inspired by GRANT’s time away from music working as a school counselor in a high-poverty and high-trauma preschool covering themes such as self-reckoning, feminine empowerment and overcoming negative mindsets.
WONDER WORLD features songs written by MacKenzie beyond the cover of“Borderline.” The album’s first offering was “Putting Down Some Things,” the video for which was premiered by Americana Highways. Beautifully written and sung by MACKENZIE, the song is a moving and infectious country song about self-renewal which Americana Highways praised, stating that “Grant’s songwriting is informed by witnessing a wave of these elements of the human experience, and the gentle easiness of her vocals helps to soothe the soul.” Read the press release here.
As a naturally gifted musician who is a classically trained pianist, MacKenzie has been writing and singing for as long as she can remember. A native of Syracuse, New York, and the daughter of two classically trained musicians, she effortlessly blends the clarity of her singing voice with the raw emotion in her lyrics. After three years at the University of Michigan, she transferred to Berklee in Boston, where she received positive feedback on her songwriting from her professors and peers alike. GRANT relocated to Nashville in 2000 after visiting the city with friends on spring break and discovering that it immediately felt like home.
Just before moving, she’d made an independent album that attracted the attention of a hit songwriter in Nashville, who invited her to write and record together if she ever came to town. That connection helped open the doors to the city’s songwriting community, as she developed an audience through playing writers rounds and releasing the 2006 album, The Laundry Room Glamour Hour. Around this same time, she also married and started a family, but gradually she became disillusioned with the music industry and her first marriage ended.
Now remarried and raising three children (a high schooler, a middle schooler, and a preschooler), she is once again using music as a way to connect with others and herself.