MacKenzie Porter Dishes On What’s Next After ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’ Success With Dustin Lynch

Following the success of her No. 1 song 'Thinking 'Bout You' with Dustin Lynch, we caught up with rising country star, MacKenzie Porter about her new single 'Pickup' and more!

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MacKenzie Porter received her first No. 1 song at country radio in the United States with her 2021 Dustin Lynch collaboration, “Thinking ‘Bout You.” The song was originally recorded with Lauren Alaina for the Dustin’s 2020 album, Tullahoma, but MacKenzie stepped in to re-record Lauren’s part when the track officially became a single. Dustin chose MacKenzie as his new duet partner after a blind audition process.

“I was familiar with the song [before I recorded it],” MacKenzie told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I’m a big fan of Lauren’s. She’s a girlfriend of mine. I knew I wanted to make it my own, but I also wanted to be true to the song and how they wrote it. So we kept a lot of the melodies similar and I switched up a bunch of the ad-lib kind of stuff. I think, too, vocally, her and I are totally different. She’s definitely more of a powerhouse kind of singer. I have a different tone, so no matter what, it was going to sound different just because her and I are so different.”

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MacKenzie Porter does a photo shoot in pink cowboy hat. (Bree Marie Fish)

“Thinking ‘Bout You” absolutely blew up the charts at the end of 2021, and MacKenzie dished to us about why she thinks it was such a smash. “I think it’s a really relatable concept of looking back on a past relationship,” she explained. “Whether it ended good or bad, you kind of feel nostalgic about certain times of your life. That first kind of intense love, I know, for me, even though it didn’t work out and it wasn’t the right person, you just kind of think about it. I feel like everyone has felt that way and this song brings that feeling to life.”

Following the success of “Thinking ‘Bout You,” MacKenzie is now focused on her new single, “Pickup,” which she dropped in November, along with a music video earlier this month. “This was definitely extra pressure because of the success of ‘Thinking ‘Bout You,'” she admitted. “But I had wrote “Pickup” and we had a lot of interest within the town of other people cutting it. Everyone reacted to the song really fast. Our whole thing was, let’s put it online and see how it does, and it’s been really reactive so far. I just kind of had a gut feeling and I feel really good about it now.”
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MacKenzie Porter rocks pink dress for a photo shoot. (Bree Marie Fish)

On whether “Pickup” will be part of a bigger project: It’s definitely going to be part of an album! I’m actually going in next week to cut a couple more songs, so I definitely want it to be, and it will be, part of a bigger body of work.

On touring with Walker Hayes: He is so awesome. He’s such an amazing human. His family’s out on the road with him and it’s such a good, healthy environment. He’s super supportive. And his kids are truly the best behaved kids I’ve ever met. They’re so kind and generous. One of his sons always helps us set up our merch and they’ll watch my soundcheck. They’re really sweet kids. So I’ve just enjoyed getting to know him and his family.

I’ve been on tours where everyone’s doing shots before the show and obviously that’s fun, too, but this is so much more healthy. It also gives me, like, hey, when I have kids, I can take them out on the road. You can really have a beautiful life with your family on tour. And, of course, the concerts are crazy and the fans are so loud! It’s been a really amazing experience so far.

On the most surreal moment of her career so far: I think when Dustin and I did Jimmy Kimmel. Playing a late night show is every artist’s bucket list kind of thing. For me, it really was. That was such a cool day and moment, and I loved it. And the Good Morning America performance. I think those specific, fast performances really stick out in your mind. Your adrenaline is pumping all day long and it’s just a three minute song and it’s done, but it’s all over the world.

On whether she’s still pursuing her acting career amidst her music success: I’m definitely auditioning for certain things. If it’s a really big show and makes sense with my schedule and contextually it makes sense, I would do that. If something came along, we’d just have to address it at that point. I would love further on down the road to balance it even more, but music is just so demanding right now and I love it, so I’m just trying to figure out a way if I CAN do a film here or there, as well.
On what else she’s looking forward to in 2022: I’m out doing festivals all summer. I’m headlining in my hometown, which will be so fun. Then, obviously, putting out new music. In the fall, we’re talking about going on the road with a few people and I’m going to Australia to play shows. We’re literally playing so many shows. I also have another feature coming out, I can’t really talk about it too much, but then I have another duet coming out. So just a bunch of collaborations, as well.