Music interview: DJ Mahkenna

DJ Mahkenna dropped her most recent single recently. Her newest single “One More Time” is a pop-infused electronic track that highlights her musical intuition. Mahkenna shines throughout the single with warm vocals that builds to a powerful chorus. YEM spoke to Mahkenna about her music and journey as an artist.

Young Entertainment Mag: You’ve been singing since you were very young, but how long have you been a DJ?

Mahkenna: I’ve been a DJ for maybe a year. Honestly, it’s crazy because I feel like my DJ career is almost as successful as my singing career and I’ve been singing for 11 years, so I don’t know how I feel about it…IT’S CRAZY! But so, so fun.

YEM: Many artists sing when they are very young, but not many DJ unless a moment takes place that gets a turntable into their hands. For you, what was that moment?

Mahkenna: I was in my room and just happy I finally had some nice bumping speakers, but I could only use them with the table for some reason. So I started messing around with serato and had to load up every track, so I might as well make it sound good…before you know it I was blasting my music mixing at full volume for hours at a time. It was so fun and I couldn’t stop.

YEM: Were there any specific artists you’ve listened to that inspired the EDM sounds in your music?

Mahkenna: HUMMMMM, yeah. I think I’m liking trap more than EDM, surprise! JK, I’ve always felt this way, aha…and I would beg the managers, DJs and producers to have some trapy sounds. Don’t worry, I got some new stuff and it’s gonna blow everything I’ve done out of the water! JUST WAIT!

The people that have inspired Memba is a big one, Vanic (oh my god yes), Boombox Cartel, Fletcher, illenium…so many! I would just download a ton of songs searching for hours on YouTube. These names aren’t super huge, but man I had them on repeat. I don’t care about numbers, I care about quality, because anything that has numbers should have quality but sometimes it doesn’t, so that’s why I listen to whoever I think has amazing quality of music.

YEM: What is your favorite aspect of performing live?

Mahkenna: The people’s faces, just typing it makes me smile. When everyone knows the words, jumpin’ around and you give them a good time! Nothing is better than that. They came there for a good time to smile and dance, and I get to give that to them, it’s so special.

YEM: You were born in Ireland but grew up in California. What would you say is the biggest difference in the entertainment industry between here and countries other than U.S.?

Mahkenna: Dude it’s crazy because everyone flips I was born in Ireland, but I don’t think it’s that cool. AHA! CALI IS WHERE IT’S AT!!!!

Ireland is cold and wet, Cali is always 70 degrees and sunny! But nah, don’t move here because we don’t need more people on our freeways, traffic is horrible.

YEM: In addition to your music career, you also have a few credits in some short films. Moving forward, do you see yourself primarily doing music, or movies and television?

Mahkenna: Music. I did acting because people told me to, but for all you young ones out there, don’t listen to people telling you who to be or what to do. Eat mom’s dinner, do your chores and stuff, but when it comes to your happiness, that’s what matters. Do what you love and what makes you happy!

YEM: You’ve accomplished all this before you even turn 18. What is your best advice for others your age and under who want to be an actor or musician?

Mahkenna: I sound like an old lady, jeezz…If you ever doubt in life or your career, listen to your heart. Media is crazy, I know: “Everyone’s looking or the meaning of life through a cell phone screen” – Logic, but man! There is so much out there that means more than media. You CAN NOT chase your dreams on Instagram, you chase them through a lot of hard work in building yourself and your craft. Be aware of media, but don’t let it influence who you are or what you think you should be. Try not to anyway, ahaha. I love ya! Feel free to send me a dm @mahkennatyson if you read this!