By: Kat Harlton
From the largest stages and arenas to the director’s chair, from writing hit songs to creating characters on the silver screen as an actor; Wes Mack has established himself as a creative force of many forms. Mack broke into the country music scene in 2013 when he released his debut single “Duet”. The song reached number 9 on the Billboard chart and the video (Directed by Mack) went on to earn two CCMA nominations for Video and Video Director of the Year.
2013 also saw Mack win the inaugural CCMA Discovery Program as well as the Unsigned Only Music Competition, besting some 10,000 artists from around the world. Following these milestones, Mack spent much of 2014 writing and recording in Nashville. Armed with new music, Mack exploded outward in 2015: he released his 3rd and 4th top 20 singles “Before You Drive Me Crazy” and “The Way You Let Me Down”, picked up his 8th CCMA nomination, and performed with Shania Twain across the nation on her “Rock This Country” tour. In late 2015 Mack released his debut album “Edge of the Storm” which was nominated at the 2016 CCMA awards for Album of the Year.
Mack followed up this success with his new single House On Fire. The track, inspired by real life events is about a house party Mack went to when he was 17. “It was the quintessential house party. The kind where every room you go into had something insane going on. I remember going up a set of stairs and two guys coming down on snowboards. I’m amazed there weren’t police involved. The cover shot for House On Fire was done across the street from where that house party was.”
Mack took to country music at a young age, fueled by his surroundings in his home province of Alberta. “Some of the earliest music I remember listening to was on cassette tapes. As a little kid I remember having Hank Williams Sr., Ian Tyson, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Those were my first 4 cassette tapes and I listened to those all the time. Growing up it was more of a mixed bag, Our lady Peace, I got heavily into Led Zeppelin at one point. I was also into Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Dierks Bentley. I remember watching Dierks at the 2008 Calgary Stampede, his career was just kind of starting to take off and that was a definitive moment for me. Literally the next day I went and wrote my first solo song.”
Mack’s father has also had a huge influence on him, having taught him to play the guitar when he was 11 (he too was a musician, having had a number 1 hit song in Canada in 1969 playing in the Sugar and Spice). Mack recalls his dad giving him advice that he continues to try and live by “I remember him calling me and saying ‘Make sure when you’re doing this, every night just take a moment and take a mental snapshot. See the crowd, see the guys in your band, take that in. You’re going to have that with you for the rest of your life’ and I’m trying to do it more and more. Being in the entertainment business there’s a lot of bullshit along the way and I think if you don’t find ways to enjoy small victories and you’re just waiting for the big moment, you’re not going to be happy until you get there. You’ve got to love the music and you’ve got to love those moments when you’re only playing to 10 people.”
Between festival performances, Mack spent much of 2016 and 2017 in Nashville and Canada working on his second album – writing over 60 songs before entering the studio. “I find with most songwriting the good ideas just end up kind of coming to you. A lot of times I’ll end up with an intentionally half-done song. I’ll write some lyrics and the chorus and then bring that to a couple of friends and say, ‘let’s write this’. I find that you just have to get out of the way of it sometimes, I think it has a lot to do with your subconscious being better at that stuff, you just make a little space for that part of your brain to be like ‘Yo! We got an idea!’
Later in life, while carving out his path as a musician, Mack also established himself as a formidable actor. His resume has grown to include work on the television shows: Heartland, Smallville, Supernatural, The 100, Continuum, The Vampire Diaries, and Motive. He has also taken on roles in films: Power Rangers, Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story, A Dog Named Christmas, The Phantoms and in the upcoming Liam Neeson picture Hard Powder. Between his time on numerous creative ventures, Mack has worked to give back to many institutions to which he owes much of his life. As a young child, Mack underwent heart surgery. Now, as an adult, Mack has paired with the Cardiac Kids (in connection with the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto) and the Alberta Children’s Hospital to raise awareness and money for these organizations.
To find out more about Wes Mack visit: http://wesmackmusic.com