In Next Big Thing, we give you a snapshot of an artist we think will be… well, you get it.
How can you be compared to someone you’ve never heard of before? Mackenzie Scott, or Torres, when she’s performing, has been compared to PJ Harvey an insane amount of times, even though she made it very clear that prior to 2014 that she had never heard a single album by Harvey. In all fairness, she did work in England with Rob Ellis on her sophomore album Sprinter, who’s repertoire just happens to include some PJ Harvey. The comparisons were bound to happen.
Torres first came onto the scene with her self-titled 2012 debut, which she recorded after graduating from Nashville’s Belmont University. The debut gained attention from multiple music blogs and critics. Soon Torres was touring the country with Sharon Van Etten, The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser, and Okkervil River.
With the release of her sophomore album, Sprinter, Scott is gaining much more recognition for songs like “New Skin,” “Cowboy Guilt,” and “Strange Hellos.” The biggest difference with Sprinter is the fuller, heavier sound than on her debut.
Scott told Uproxx that Sprinter’s writing process was “more focused because I had more time. I spent every day for six months writing and I treated it like a day job. I liked the challenge because it pushed me to get to the heart of I wanted to say more immediately, so in that way I think the new album is more thematically cohesive.”
For the past two years Scott had been living in Brooklyn, leaving after graduating college. Nashville is great, she told Uproxx, but “Brooklyn just feels like home. It’s always awake and it’s always moving.” Coming from a small town in Georgia, a move to a busy city like Brooklyn is perfect for an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, especially one who writes with as much emotion as Mackenzie.
One of my favorite things about Torres is that she does not find her songwriting influences in other musicians. “My songwriting is more influenced by literature than it is other songwriters. This album was inspired by Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion, JD Salinger, and Cormac McCarthy.”
Recommended if you like: St. Vincent, PJ Harvey, Waxahatchee, Cat Power, Speedy Ortiz
Random Fact: While at school in Nashville, Mackenzie never had hot chicken. It wasn’t until recently while there on tour that she had it, “I never tried hot chicken when I was living in Nashville. I recently went to Bolton’s for the first time when we were touring through there last week and thought I was going to die. It was so hot.”
What we’ve heard so far: Her debut self-titled album has been out since 2012 and included the intense track “Honey,” but from Sprinter we’ve heard “Cowboy Guilt,” “New Skin,” and “Strange Hellos.” Stream both her albums below.