Monday, May 8, 2023

Makena Tate Visits Section 36 Music!

Section 36 
Music has another visitor! 
Makena Tate is a talented singer fresh off her latest EP, "Better". I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us and discuss her music, future goals, and more. I’m sure you’ll enjoy everything she has to say.

So, let's see what happens when Makena Tate visits Section 36 Music!

I absolutely adore your recent EP, “Better”. What can you tell me about it?

"Better" is a collection of my favorite songs from the past year. It contains the most vulnerable writing I've ever done and lyrically, the most advanced. Lyrics are of the utmost importance to me, and I feel as though these songs really represent and showcase that thoughtful, intentional side of me and my artistry. These songs are a way for me to put my feelings into words and to me, represent the strength that lies in vulnerability. 

What was your favorite part of the recording process?

My favorite part of the recording process would have to be working with my producer, Chris Cassriel. He's great to work with and to be around, and I love that he keeps me excited about music. I feel heard and validated by him, which is incredibly important when working with someone in close quarters all of the time. I'm not afraid to tell him I don't like something and vice versa. I also loved getting to work with drummer, Ross Hodgkinson. He played on the first 3 tracks of my EP, and he really helped me and Chris find a direction for Next To You. I saw him play with one of my favorite artists, Del Water Gap, and DM'ed him after the show to extend my praise. We ended up talking, I found out he went to Berklee, and I asked him if he would be interested in playing on some songs. He was! It was easy to work with him, and we had a great time diving into different grooves to see what worked best. 

You are currently attending Berklee College of Music. What’s the biggest thing Berklee has done for your career?

Yes! Berklee is an interesting place to be-- being surrounded by the best musicians in the world makes you question your own abilities, but once you view other's success as motivation, that's when you're going to work harder than ever. The biggest thing Berklee has done for me is connected me with these wonderful musicians who are just as passionate- if not more so- about music as me. I'm also taking Music Business 101 with Chris Wares right now which is one of the most helpful classes I've taken. We talk a lot about social media marketing, artist branding, and having a release schedule for your music, which are topics I never thought about until this class. I'm learning how to manage myself as an artist, which is a powerful tool to have in my toolkit. 

Who or what would you consider your biggest musical influences?

My biggest musical influence is, without a doubt, my mentor Kate Wallace. She spent quite a few years in Nashville, and practically everything I know about songwriting is because of her. I started taking guitar lessons with her when I was nine years old which quickly morphed into songwriting lessons. Coming into Berklee with that background gave me a lot of confidence, which I'm not sure I would have succeeded thus far without. Kate introduced me to writers like Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy at a young age, but I also have a lot more modern influences like Phoebe Bridgers, Lizzy McAlpine, Julia Michaels, and Holly Humberstone. I listen to a lot of Del Water Gap and The Neighbourhood too, so I'm sure those also play a part in how I write.

What would you say is your biggest career challenge?

My biggest career challenge is probably keeping up with the ever-changing, ever-evolving music industry. Right now, as we've seen in the last couple of years, social media has played a huge role in kick starting artists' careers. My music business teacher, Chris, calls it "playing the lottery." He encourages us to post and be active, but also to look beyond social media. I have a hard time balancing content creation, schoolwork, and living life by the values I have. It's really easy to let one of those three things slip through the cracks, so staying present while also working hard has been a challenge for me. I never want to be seen as just a "TikTok Artist," which is another reason why I have a rocky relationship with social media. I hope that my music can transcend platforms and trends, and I am able to become an artist that is around for a long time as opposed to a moment in time. 

What are your immediate career goals?

I set a lot of goals for myself. I think it's necessary in order to stay focused and always feel like I'm working towards something. An immediate goal of mine is to play the Santa Barbara Bowl (my hometown venue), as an opening act over summer this year. Another goal of mine is to go on tour as a supporting act for an artist like Ella Jane or Alix Page in winter 2023/spring 2024. Obviously these are big aspirations for an artist who is really still finding her footing, but I want to set my sights high so it encourages me to keep working hard! Having this EP release under my belt has given me a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities, and I hope that audiences can connect with these songs just as much as I did when writing them. 


I agree. It's good to have goals!

As always, I want to thank Makena for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to accompany the interview.

I'm sure you’ll all want to follow along with her to see what she's up to. I would definitely follow her on Instagram, and/or Spotify. In fact, go do both right now! And be sure to visit her website so you know everything she has going on.

Thanks again Makena, and good luck reaching your goals!

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