Everyone in my family sings - if you'd been a fly on the wall when I was wee, you'd probably have heard us all singing more than listened to us chatting. I was particularly influenced by the Gaelic songs, stories, landscape and culture of the people of Lewis in the Western Isles where I grew up. My Dad, Roddy Mackenzie, (a Sutherland man) played a huge part in teaching my 3 sisters and me to sing these gorgeous Gaelic songs, with constant encouragement from our Mum (Alison) - I'm eternally grateful to them both.
I was awarded the Mod Gold Medal for solo singing at the National Mod in Govan in 1990. This led to invitations to sing at various concerts and on television and radio programmes and to teach at Fèisean.
I also perform with 2 of my sisters Eilidh and Fiona in the band Mackenzie. We have always sung together, mainly in the kitchen with our other sister Sheila - one of us would start humming a tune and the others would sing along and see what comes out - harmonising with siblings is a lovely thing to be able to do. You can find more info on Mackenzie and my sisters as soloists at www.mackenziemusic.com
I've always written tunes and songs but mostly kept them to myself. Having my bairns seemed to make it easier to write a complete song - don't know why - possibly time being so limited and so valuable. I finally reached the stage where some of my songs felt ready to share, and so my solo album, Griais, was released and includes some of my own compositions.
I am also teaching Gaelic song at Bunsgoil Crois na Cìse (the Gaelic Medium Unit at Tollcross Primary School) and also leadng a new Gaelic choir at James Gillespie's High School, both in Edinburgh, and working with a group of teenagers interested in making Gaelic music (Gràisg).
If you want to hear some songs I've been involved in then check out the "Discography/Clàradh" page.