Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Test of Faith

Country singer McKenna Faith makes believers

Express Staff Writer

McKenna Faith’s latest album “We Like Trucks” features Toby Keith’s band.
Courtesy photo

    Where do you direct young country music fans who even at 10 are fed up with Miley Cyrus, over Taylor Swift’s bad dating habits and a little bummed out by Carrie Underwood’s lyrics?
  There’s a barrel-racing rodeo girl turned singer who is keeping it playful and age appropriate despite a growing tour circuit that includes rebel Toby Keith and grownup venues like Whiskey Jacques’.
    McKenna Faith wowed audiences—after they checked her ID—in June and is back again to get the house stomping Saturday, Oct. 26, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7, available at the door of the Ketchum saloon on Main Street.
    Faith, who looks too young to even drive, is a confident 18-year-old from California, a cowgirl who got her start in dusty arenas after taking buckles for her riding.
    Her newest album, “We Like Trucks,” is available on iTunes and Amazon and Spotify.
    Her motto is to chase your dream and it’s clear when chatting with her last week that she goes for life with both hands and feet, lots of heart and talent to boot.

IME: How is all this touring with big stars affecting your ability to grow up grounded?
    Luckily, I have an awesome circle of friends and family and they keep me really grounded. When you’re on stage you’re playing a character and when you’re hanging out with the superstars of this industry it can seem a little unreal, but at the end of the day I’m just McKenna.
You’ve had to make some sacrifices to get where you are, but your talent is undeniable. How did you decide now was the time to go for it?
    Well, thank you! Yes, you definitely make sacrifices for whatever dream you’re pursuing—nothing comes without a cost- but it’s all about balance. You have to find that balance in life between work, family, friends, growing up—but you have to find that balance no matter if you’re trying to be a successful country singer, or if your dream is to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to sing, so it just felt right to go for it and give it my all—there’s no time like right now!
On your dream scale, where are you right now?
    I’m making them happen! The dream is to have people hear your music and get something from it, and every day more and more people are. Every day is a new incredible experience and I’m so blessed to have had the opportunities that I’ve had.
What are you working on?
    Right now I’m touring to promote my record “We Like Trucks” that came out this summer. Toby Keith’s band actually played on it, which was pretty awesome. I’m performing across the U.S., and in January I’m performing on Country Cruising to Jamaica with some really awesome stars like Trace Adkins, Love & Theft, and Wynonna. I’m also writing a lot for my next record. I’ve started co-writing with some big names in Nashville and I’m really excited to get back in the studio and get them out there. And some other awesome stuff I can’t share yet—you’ll just have to keep an eye on my websites!
You seem to be doing what Miley Cyrus is trying to be: soulful, fun, country and popish. What’s your take on her approach and do you feel like that’s a direction you could/would go to expand your appeal?
    I’ve always said I’ve wanted to be someone young girls could look up to and respect because there isn’t a lot of that out there nowadays, everything is so over-sexualized. I don’t really believe in that; it isn’t me. I really look up to people like Carrie Underwood. She has really good values and I try to follow her lead on that front. The moment you change who you are to “expand your appeal” or sell more records, you might as well hang it up, because what’s the point if you’re not being true to yourself?
Are you still riding horses at all?
    Every once in a while, when I’m home from tour. I do love to ride, yes. It will always be a part of my life.
What’s your advice to other young talents debating whether or not to try?
    Always try, no matter what! Even if you fail, at least you know you gave it your all, but if you never even try and put yourself out there, you’ll always think “What if?” and life’s too short for that. Your heart will always guide you, just listen to it. And don’t be afraid of hard work!

McKenna Faith
Where: Whiskey Jacques’, Ketchum.
When: Saturday, Oct. 26, at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $7 at the door.


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