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Artist Spotlight: MKO

In this weeks Artist Spotlight, we had the pleasure of meeting up with one of Brisbane's finest female vocalists, MKO ahead of her show at The Triffid.

First of all can I get you to introduce yourself..

My name is Hannah, aka MKO. That’s me!

What instruments do you play?

I mostly just play keys, and synthesisers. Anything that has a keyboard attached to it. I do a bit of electronic drum programming and yeah that’s basically it. I would love to learn to play electric bass, I haven’t dedicated myself to it yet, but I will.

How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you before?

I would describe it as, it’s progressive RnB, that’s one phrase I would use. We do use a lot of electronics, but I don’t like to call it electronic music because I think that has a bit of a different connotation to what we do. Lately I’ve also been getting into some classical kind of sounds in the piano arrangements. So even like, classically influenced RnB soul pop.

What made you start in music?

I don’t know that I actually thought about ‘starting’, I just always kind of sung. There are recordings of me singing when I was really young, and then as I got older I started to get into it more seriously, around the age of 14 or 15 I decided I was going to do it as my life career, profession thing.

Did you grow up in a musical family?

I don’t really have a musical family, no. My brother is a really bad singer, he’s actually really tone deaf.

You had to take over?

Yeah I did, I had to take over! So I don’t really know where it came from. My dad was really into music, he listened to a lot of classical and jazz and all different things.

Who are your musical influences?

Oh there’s so many! Currently, I’m really into, Stevie Wonder is all time, Michael Jackson, and other kinda classics like that. I like a singer called Emily King who’s from the states and another artist called Thunder Cat and Prince. Lots of classical stuff. Those are all people that I think in some way or another might come out in my music.

Is there a story behind your name?

Yeah! So it doesn’t actually stand for anything, it’s not an acronym. My last name is Macklin, so I got this nickname ‘Macko’, which is your good old Aussie nickname and it just really stuck, all of my friends call me that, more so than they call me Hannah. So it seemed like it would make sense to call my project that, but I decided I wanted to make it more sleek, so I shortened it to MKO.

What does the future hold for MKO?

Currently I’m working on the debut album, first full length album for MKO. The future holds the release of that, which is looking like it will be early next year. But I’m going to start releasing a few singles from that this year, the first one in about a month or so with a film clip. So that’s the short term future! Long term, hopefully lots of touring and playing overseas, possibly relocating to Europe or New York maybe both at some point. I’d like to play consistently in lots of different places.

Finally, why did you choose to cover a Bjork song?

I love Bjork, and I love that song, and I was just the other night decided to listen to Genik the whole way through and was like ‘this is one of the best albums ever.’ I didn’t say her earlier as an influence, but definitely her! From a musical point of view, it’s simple in terms of chords so I knew I could do it with the loop pedal on my own.

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