An Oakland, Ont. country singer who refuses to let physical disabilities drag her down and prevent her from following her dreams of becoming a successful Canadian country musician was granted her wish.
Maddy McKenzie is a singer/songwriter who began writing music at age 15. McKenzie says her songs are a “snapshot of important memories and memories” from her life.
For McKenzie, music is a way to express herself, but she plays all her music by ear because she can’t see the notes. She has limited central core vision, and experiences light sensitivity and headaches daily as a result of her condition.
A while back, McKenzie received a dream through the Sunshine Foundation, whose main goal is to fulfill “custom-made dreams for Canadian kids living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.”
Through the foundation, McKenzie’s wish was granted. She asked for five things, including professionally recording her own song with back-up from members of The Country Legends band, and to sit down with her favourite country radio station host, Weaver of Country 104, to chat and release her song to the world to hear.
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On Wednesday, McKenzie and her family were invited to the Country 104 studio to meet and speak with Weaver.
The singer/songwriter says she’s beyond thankful for this experience.
The young artist has played in several local music festivals, and even won Brantford Has Talent in 2018. Her musical idols are the Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift and Sarah Evans.
But one particular artist that McKenzie admires is Canadian country and country-pop artist, Jess Moskaluke.
Weaver from Country 104 had a surprise for McKenzie, something she never expected. The Country 104 host opened up FaceTime with Jess Moskaluke on the line, and McKenzie and her family were elated to chat with her longtime idol.
McKenzie met up with 980 CFPL after, and she shares that her love and dedication toward music began at a younger age, and through someone she loves deeply.
“Our famous story is that I was sick with pneumonia in the hospital, and he had to stay with me… He brought a little guitar and taught me a few chords, and I was off after that.”
She hopes to become a successful Canadian country musician who travels all over Canada and parts of the U.S. performing live to a crowd of supportive fans.
“When I’m performing live, I’m very ‘feeling of the’ music and lyrics and the song itself. When I feel like I can feed off of the excitement and the energy of the crowd, I can put more emotion into my songs.”
When she steps outside her music bubble, McKenzie studies nursing at the University of Western Ontario.
She’s the first student with low vision in the history of the school to enroll in the nursing program.
McKenzie aspires to be an inspiration to others with physical disabilities to show that “nothing should stand in the way of their dreams.”