Nashville recording artist, Mac Watts, is a rising star in modern country music. Mac grew up just north of Detroit, Michigan aspiring to play collegiate ice hockey but always had a love for music. When he decided to hang up the skates, he taught himself how to play the guitar, write songs and sing. Mac claims he grew up on Motown, country, and Irish drinking songs. His big influences though today are the sounds of Eric Church, Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne, and Dierks Bentley to name a few. He then realized he'd found his passion and picked up a few gigs at local bars in the Metro Detroit area. Since a rolling stone gathers no moss, Mac moved to south Florida to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and supported himself with a full time job and weekly night gigs. He performed in an acoustic duo with another local musician, John Patterson, and later was asked to be the lead singer in a band called Shotgun 40. Both offered a variety of steady gigs to support himself while finishing college. After graduation in December, the rolling stone found himself on the road to Music City to pursue a career in country music as an artist in Nashville, TN. Since his arrival in February of 2017, he has some impressive accomplishments. He released his first single, Ain't Through Loving You and launched an EP, Dynamite, which can be found on all music platforms. He was the Regional Finals Winner for the Nash Next America's Talent Search Contest in 2018. He and his band have opened for big names such as: Phil Vassar, A Thousand Horses, Parmalee, Haley and Michaels, Austin Burke, Scotty McCreery to name a few. He was selected to perform at the WYCD Hoedown Music Festival at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. He recently released his newest single, My Saving Grace, and is working on new music.
Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has hugely impacted your artistry.
So I was involved in the Nash Next radio competition in 2018 up in Detroit. Kip Moore had released an album not long before that competition called, SLOWHEART. On that album there was a song called, The Bull.
We played our set and absolutely crushed it! The crowd was screaming for us and chanting encore, pretty amazing feeling. We got off stage, said to those who came to support, and listened to the rest of the competitors. I remember standing with one of my best friends, Colin Cross, waiting for the judges ruling for the contest. My name wasn’t called. Colin looked at me, threw his arm around me and said, “don’t worry man, it’s just another bull.” We went back the next year, rocked out, and won the contest. I have an incredible support system of family and friends but at that moment, Colin just knew what to say and it has stuck with me. A simple phrase at the right moment, made a big impact on me. That may not seem like a huge thing to most, but it definitely impacted how I move forward in my career. Failing is ok, it’s all how you pivot.
How do you choose to lead a Happy Healthy life as an artist?
The lifestyle can get to you at times as many folks may think or know already. I try to stay fit by going to the gym, eating fairly healthy, and staying active. You can never drink enough water it seems either.
Who did you learn from to instill those values?
I played a high level of hockey before I ever started pursuing a music career. All the years of professional training and learning on my own as I went, helped me be aware of how to take care of myself physically and mentally. My high school coach, Brian Klanow, pushed me to be the best I could be on and off the ice. Got to the point where we would compete in the gym. People like him have always been an influence, he was the biggest in my athletic career overall.
Was it hard work to make sure that you focused on your well-being and not only your art?
Focusing on my art has helped my well being. Writing songs is therapy. Performing is therapy. Being an artist has taught me humility, given me thicker skin, and has been the driven factor to keep pushing towards something. Was it hard to do, at times, but that makes it worth it.
Was there a turning point in how you decided to put yourself first?
After I graduated College, that’s when I decided it was time to do something for me which brought me to Nashville.
How do you like to promote a healthy lifestyle?
By staying fit.
In what ways are you connecting with fans to check in on each other?
During COVID, my buddies Tim Angsten, Colin Cross and myself did a live stream to stay connected with people. I try to keep in touch through social media or spending time with folks when they come to town.
Who checks in on YOU when you need it most?
My folks. I am so fortunate to have them. They have that intuition and just know.
Changing habits can be hard. Which was the habit that you had to change and how has it changed your life now?
Before I moved to Nashville, TN, I told myself that I needed to put myself into uncomfortable situations. I was always nervous to get out and speak with people but I knew that would have to change if I wanted to get anywhere in this industry. I had to change my complacent attitude and put myself out there, that has really helped change my confidence and my career.
Is there a song, book, movie, show, or anything that always gives you the motivation you need?
Any live performance of my favorite artists usually gets me pretty fired up. But if I had to choose a movie, Miracle.
What is the mantra of 2022?!
Be kind, stay in your lane, keep goin!
Give all the inside scoop on your latest project!
So right now I am very excited for what is coming next. This summer I plan to release a new four song EP, Cast Away. I will be releasing one of the songs as a single, then the entire album not long after. Parker Daniel just started his own studio, Neon Cactus, not long ago and we went straight to work. Not only is he producing it but he is also playing lead guitar on all the tracks. Jake Valente laid down fantastic drum tracks and Steve Elliott killed it on the bass tracks. We are very excited about how it is coming along and look forward to releasing it!